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TOP 100 MOVIES in 2003!
HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, 2003
Cast: Chad Bannon, William Bassett, Karen Black, Erin Daniels, Joe Dobbs III, Judith Drake
Two teenage couples traveling across the backwoods of Texas searching for urban legends of serial killers end up as prisoners of a bizarre and sadistic backwater family of serial killers.
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Despite being a fan of Rob Zombies music I had somehow let the release of this film slip past me, meaning I had to make do with viewing it on the small screen when the DVD was released. Iíd heard many views on its quality and not all of them had been positive, however in my eyes this movie summed up what all horror fans should want from a movie, and a directors first attempt, at that.
The movie begins with two young men, Jerry Goldsmith (Chris Hardwick) and Bill Hudley (Rainn Wilson), travelling across the state and writing a book about the weird and wonderful roadside attractions and gas stops they encounter. With them are their less enthusiastic girlfriends, Denise Willis (Erin Daniels) and Mary Knowles (Jennifer Jostyn).
The night is Hallows Eve, the year 1977 and conveniently but as ever predictable the foursome run out of gas with just enough to spare to pull off on the exit for ĎCaptain Spauldingís Museum of Monsters and Madmení. Inside this pit stop side show freak house the audience gets their first glimpse of the weird and wonderful treats which Director Zombie has in store for us. Taxidermy and mummified specimens, and odd looking store assistants with painted faces are only an insight into what is yet to come.
On the tour they are told of the infamous Dr, Satan (Walter Phelan), who became a local legend by practising very primitive surgery on mentally handicapped patients in a bid to create a super human race. They learn that the Doctor was soon caught and hung for his practices, but eerily his body vanished from the nearby grave.
Spaulding draws the travellers a map and tells them that the site where Dr. Satan was hung is very nearby, and very quickly Bill manages to talk the others into them checking it out.
During the drive they come across a lonely hitchhiker named Baby played by Zombieís wife Sheri Moon Zombie. She is en-route home which isnít far, and conveniently she lives right near the eerie hanging site so offers to show them the way in return for the lift. No isnít that just Ďdarn nice of her!
Over the next few minutes Baby manages to both annoy and freak the foursome out before her brother Rufus Jr. also know as R.J. (Robert Allen Mukes) shoots out their tyre from a nearby hedge and they all end up back at Babyís house waiting to have their car repaired.
Here they get to meet the rest of the family and the trouble really begins. Unknown to them the family have already kidnapped and tortured five local cheerleaders in the basement, and plan on Bill and his friends being their next victims.
House of 1000 Corpses for me lived up to everything I had expected from it. It doesnít take itself too seriously, and adopts the classic spook show element which in my opinion so many movies lose these days by over doing the special effects and CGI.
The acting on the whole is good. I wasnít expecting any Oscar winning performances, however Sid Haigís performance as Captain Spaulding should be noted and in my opinion he should have featured more in the film. Iíve found that even friends who didnít really enjoy this film all remember his performance which can only be due to the gold star he deserves for brilliantly creating a part which is as hilarious as it is sinister.
The film could to some look quite low budget; however I found the use of super 8 footage and a wide range of colour dilution effects added perfectly to the mood he was trying to create. The film almost works as a feature length music video, with dialogue of course, and offers many visual treats throughout. The sets are wonderful with so much to take in in each scene and personally I really liked the fact that you got the feeling Rob Zombie has almost put a part of his soul into this movie.
As anyone knowing Rob Zombie would have expected the film has a fantastic soundtrack, ranging from material from his own back catalogue to hits from The Ramones and Slim Whitman.
For me this film was definitely something I could watch over and over, yes the actual horror element isnít as controversial as some, but in a world where many ideas have already been done time after time, this movie offers a flashback to classic American horror with a modernistic bite.
Just enough gore, an entertaining story line and a whole lot of fun!