House of 1000 Corpses

House of 1000 Corpses is a Rob Zombie film. The "shock rocker" decided to direct it himself and proves that his filmmaking is even worse than his music. It is the story of two young couples who decide to go and look for Dr Satan after some clown in a gas station tells them that he used to be in the area.

Bunch of freaks

The film is seriously derivative; it kicks off by stealing heavily from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, with the whole idea of a group of teenagers out in deep hillbilly country asking stupid questions. I imagine Mr Zombie thought his addition of a pasted on back story about "Dr Satan", some guy who liked to experiment on his mental patients and escaped to set up camp in the hillbilly family´s basement was pure genius. It wasn´t. The hopelessly psychotic hillbilly family take in the hapless teens and subject them to a ridiculous series of slightly revolting but never scary events.

The film is very gory and seems to be packed with as many horror cliches as possible. There are gory knife and razor murders, a pit of zombies, a skin suit, a creepy redneck house complete with a room full of shoes hanging from the ceiling, and even Dr Satan himself looking like a demon with weird metal arm attachments. This series of horror rip-offs is punctuated with stupid rock video style stills and clips cut together to look strange and mysterious, which doesn´t work either. None of the baddies have any kind of a motive, none of the characters have any personality, the film is incredibly shallow.

The script is also really amazingly bad and that is brought out all the more clearly by the abysmal acting throughout the film. The cast includes Karen Black as Mother Firefly, Jeanne Carmen as Miss Bunny, Sid Haig as Captain Spalding, and a bunch of other folk you're unlikely to ever hear of. Each one of them overacts chronically; the silly blonde girl is infuriating with her silly little girl voice. Sid as the clown probably manages to be the most offensive, a clown who owns a gas station with a ghost train style weirdo circus/freak show in the back?

The music is equally bad, a mixture of bad rock, weird fairground and pure hillbilly. The only advantage is that it sometimes drowns out the dialogue. Combined with the truly awful direction the movie manages to produce a mild feeling of nausea and headache.

You might think I´m being too harsh, it is after all a horror film, doesn´t the gore make up for the crap plot, acting and script? In this case no it doesn´t, even the death scenes are rubbish. Again they fall into the revolting category as opposed to the scary category. The main bad guy with the grey hair just keeps poncing around blathering nonsense as the pile of guts that is this film comes tumbling out of the gaping gash that should be in Rob Zombie´s stomach.

What happens when a rock twat with time and money decides he´d like to make a horror film? It´s a question no one wanted answered. A pile of ripped-off, ludicrous crap pasted together with all the skill of a kid carving a cock on a desk. This is a total waste of time.


Reviewed by Simon Hill

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