Horror movies have been fairly tame the last couple of years. Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and all of the other clones have some gore, but have been almost exclusively about psychotic teenagers, ghosts or generic monsters. There has not been a truly screwed up movie in a long time. Until now.
House of 1000 Corpses, written and directed by Rob Zombie, is one of the most fucked up movies of all time - excuse the language. Nothing less could be expected of somebody with the word "zombie" in their name, but regardless... this movie is not for everyone. Plot is meaningless and the victims are shallow, but the villains are memorable, to say the least. Just when you think the movie is about as disturbing as a movie can be, Zombie notches it up another twenty and unleashes hell.
Of course, not all will enjoy such things. Gore isn't a factor, but there are plenty of people that find movies as disturbing like this as nothing more than a waste of time. It is true that Rob Zombie basically thought of every fucked up thing floating around in his head, put them on screen, and then attached a title to it, but it is what it is. As deranged horror movies go, this one is pretty good.
House of 1000 Corpses is about a group of young people that venture into dark territory and experience a blow out. They seek refuge in a house belonging to a rather psychotic family, and before they know it they have become victims to these people, who have a bunch of dismembered cheerleaders upstairs. That's the plot: It is simple, rather cliche, and gives way to many highly disturbing sequences.
The movie was delayed for nearly two years as it skipped around from distributor to distributor, trying to find one that was willing to release a film such as this. Zombie also had to cut out segments to keep the film from receiving an NC-17. Lions Gate Films finally picked the movie up and released it in limited release; relatively, it was a huge success, and a sequel has been warranted.
House of 1000 Corpses is good because it is just so disturbing, and doesn't try to hide it. Every bad guy is memorable. The ending, though perhaps going a little overboard without ever really explaining itself, is memorable, whether for good or bad. Some people may talk about this film and say how could such a dreadful piece of work be put on screen, and others will chuckle in a guilty kind of way. Either way, anyone who sees this movie will talk about it, and in this case, any publicity is good publicity. Zombie didn't make this movie to make people feel good; he made it to shock them.
That being said, Zombie's contribution to the film should be noted. He obviously has vision, even if it is one that would qualify him for mandatory admittance to an insane asylum, and knows how to create good and creepy characters. His technical merits leave little to be desired for. Some leeway should be given considering this is his first movie, but it is obvious that he studied other disturbing films and just ripped them off. The flashbacks and choppy sequences inserted into the film add to the creepiness at times, but also detract from its pace. Most of the time, they are just a distraction.
House of 1000 Corpses is a shockingly disturbing film, but is definitely not for everyone. Furthermore, as horror movies go, it is not very exciting, though definitely has the shock factor going for it. All in all, those with a morbid fondness will enjoy the movie; the rest will not.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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