Director Rob Zombie kept the plot as simple as possible: Some dumb-ass kids decide to check out some creepy old house, and then shit happens. And then, for 80 minutes, the four stars get tortured--and not even in any creative way. For a torture scene to be effective on the audience, one needs to care about whose being tortured. We don’t. Then, there are the 3 of the 4 S’s of slasher movies: scalping, stabbing, skinning-- but wait! No sex? But we do see a great deal of Sheri Moon in Oliver Stone-fashion editing, if that’s enough for you.
Think of Last House on the Left, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, I Spit on Your Grave, Motel Hell, The Evil Dead and then you pretty much got the bucket of bile that is House of 1000 Corpses. In a revved-up crowd of three people that included my self, I don’t think I was ever this bored. Over the years, my tolerance for shock and gore must have peaked because sitting there I felt like snatching some Z’s to the sweet and lulling melody of high pitched screams. Sure, it’s great to see Bill “You-Dented-My-Plate-You-Bitch-Hog” Moseley again, but he can’t save this flick. This flick has been butt-fucked around the studio system for three years now and there’s a reason for it.
H1KCorpses is more of an exercise in recreating 70’s torture flicks where you basically root for the gore and sadistic bantering of the psychonauts as if they’re destined to be the next Angus Scrimm. On the plus side, the film looks better then most of those old movies. The color pallet is rich and moody, but the color tints can get annoying and relentlessly long. And beware the box of Agatha Cripsies. Rob Zombie’s music has improved through the likes of remixes, and maybe that’s what Corpses needs—a big, fat, juicy three-minute montage of the film showing only the good parts—Sheri Moon naked.
As far as the music’s concerned, it’s not all that bad. The score is pulsing and broody, but since the movie is set in the 70’s, it throws off some of the time frame. I doubt people were getting murdered with Rob Zombie tunes blasting away. I guess it’s possible if Rob Zombie had been writing music at age 9. And of course, with Zombie’s latest effort, We’re a Happy Family: A Tribute to the Ramones, a Ramones tune sneaks its way into the soundtrack. I would bet the soundtrack album is more fun that the flick. And it probably has excerpts from the movie as a media companion piece.
House of 1000 Corpses (2 out of Four)
R, 2000, 88 min., Lions Gate Films.
Stars: Chad Bannon, Sid Haig, William Bassett, Karen Black, Bill Moseley, Michael J. Pollard, Joe Dobbs, Sheri Moon, Jeanne Carmen, Judith Drake, Chris Hardwick, Greg Gibbs, Tom Towles, Erin Daniels, Denise Fimple, Music by Rob Zombie and Scott Humphrey, Produced by Andy Gould, Written and Directed by Rob Zombie.
Other Psirca Pseventies Psycho Flicks:
Phantasm, The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, Halloween, Theatre of Blood, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Evil Dead, John Carpenter’s The Thing, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Exorcist, The Omen, Invasion of the body Snatchers (1978), Scanners, Dawn of the Dead, Motel Hell, Carrie, Cannibal Ferox, Helter Skelter, The Helter Skelter Murders, I Spit On Your Grave, The Boogeyman…