House of 1000 Corpses
- 1 hr 28 min
It is hard to really pinpoint House of 1000 Corpses. The film debuted in 2002, and was the first film from musician Rob Zombie, who fronted the group Whit Zombie for a decade and began a prominent solo career in the late 90's. Of course, Zombie's weird articulation made for an ever weirder movie. The cast of characters here are about as eccentric as horror villains get. Gone is the moody atmospheric villains of other such significant horror franchises which House of 1000 Corpses clearly pulls its influences. The film opens with a group of traveling young people, who are in hopes of writing a book on odd roadside attractions. It is an odd premise, surely, but one that makes sense in this weird world. They, naturally, come across the oddest roadside attraction of the "Museum of Monsters and Madmen" the group are obviously intrigued. They first meet the eponymous clown known as Captain Spaulding, whose odd upbeat and aggressive nature sets an excellent tone. Of course, there are more weird individuals in this haunted town. Baby is the seductive psychopath (played by Zombie's wife) and Mother Firefly, the egotistical bizarre mother of the family. Otis is the angry redneck character, and a few other family members lie comfortably in a backseat position. As the film progresses, the visitors are brought through a wild ride of murder, mayhem, and psychosis, making for a thrilling hour and a half. The film does rely on some basic horror conventions, as there is surely a deep methodical darkness overlying the entire film. But Zombie adds such an eclectic creative flair, the film stands above the crowd in all its weirdness. The most memorable character is probably Spaulding himself, who acts as a sort of narrator and overseer of the mayhem. There is no surprise here that not all the tourists come out alive, and as the film progresses, the deaths are wild and psychotic in nature. But the real strength of the film lies in the cast of villains. Zombie obviously enjoyed these characters enough to make a sort of sequel a few years later with The Devil's Rejects,' which actually sympathized with the murderous family by giving them the point-of-view and more rounded out objectives. Here they are merciless, angry, and ridiculously overblown. it makes for a film lacking much substance, but relentless in its villainy aplomb.