House Of A 1000 Corpses

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Movie Review by Dr Kuma

Starring: Chad Bannon, Sid Haig, William Bassett, Karen Black, Bill Moseley, Michael J Pollard
Director: Rob Zombie

So, a custom made cult movie arrives in the UK this week, 3 weeks too early and several years late.

It would have made more sense and money to release this around Halloween, as that, in true John Carpenter tradition, is when all the action takes place and a movie with a title such as this, that’s when it would make a ‘killing’ at the box office. As it is, it may have finished its (limited?) run by All Hallows Eve before anyone gets to see it.

Just why the distributors have done this is beyond me, especially as the movie was gathering dust like an old specimen jar for nearly 3 years before being released in the States and doing better than most would have anticipated.

The story, as with everything connected with the film, is a throw back to the seventies which revolves around two couples out on the road in hopes of writing a book on off beat roadside attractions. When the four meet Captain Spaulding, (in a weird garage/freak museum) they learn of the legend of Dr. Satan, a local madman. When the four take off in search of finding the tree that Dr. Satan was hung from, they pick up a hitchhiker called Baby. When their car breaks down, she invites them into her house. This is where the two couples meet the Firefly family, a murderous clan of bizarre people. As the family attacks the unsuspecting couples, Jerry and his friends try to survive the ‘house of a 1000 corpses’ and a million cliches.

This has had lots of bad press saying it’s really nasty – it is in parts and these aren’t needed at all- but all in all it’s a basic retread of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and THE FUNHOUSE (both Tobe Hooper movies of the 70’s/early 80’s). Rarely have I seen a modern movie look so “of a time”- not so much a period drama, but dated (in a cinematic sense) – period.

All that aside, it does give you that feeling you had of seeing those films as a teen and it will no doubt have the same effect those originals did on us, but really, it is aimed at us, not the kids and is an affectionate throw back which is down with the enthusiasm and evident love of the horror movie that Zombie obviously has.

I never in a million years thought I’d say this, but it does have a certain charm, spoilt only by some nasty sequences, which we are spared a good deal of the time by efficient cut-aways and edits.

All in all this is perfect Halloween fayre, just make sure that if you want to see it, you do so now as the appeal of this movie will be far more limited audience wise than it was in the States where Zombie has a large cult following.

Dr Kuma’s verdict: Like some of its victims, HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES takes the best bits from several bodies of work and stitches them all together in true Frankenstein fashion, but will be a cultists guilty pleasure none the less.

3 out of 6 stars