HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES: DVD
In 1977, four college students are driving across America, researching a book on oddball roadside attractions. When they pull in at "Captain Spaulding's Museum of Murder", the eccentric proprietor (Sid Haig) tells them a tall tale about a local serial killer, "Dr Satan". The group decide to investigate further, but get more then they bargained for when they pick up a young hitchhiker, Baby (Sheri Moon) who invites them home to meet her family.
Review by Jake Wilson:
Bringing the Hollywood horror film back to life is a task that the most crazed mad scientist might balk at, but with this genuinely one-of-a-kind item the heavy metal bandleader Rob Zombie comes as close as anyone has over the past few years. To start with, House of 1000 Corpses looks different from any recent horror film I can think of: in place of the dim grainy images that have spelt "menace" for every hack director since Scream, Zombie opts for the lurid neon splendour of the "Museum of Murder" presided over by his most beloved creation, Sid Haig's exuberantly foul-mouthed carny (who acts as master of ceremonies throughout).
Like a slasher equivalent of Kill Bill, the film evokes and amplifies a range of 1970s pop culture memories, from horror comics and drive-in movies to bargain basement TV commercials and Grand Guignol stage shows by the likes of Alice Cooper. What Zombie lacks in subtlety he aims to make up for in enthusiasm, maintaining a relentless barrage of wild camera angles, reverb-heavy rock songs, disjunctive edits, gruesomely hammed-up performances and buckets of blood; he also excels at writing memorably lurid dialogue ("I'll cut off your tits and shove 'em down your throat") though the best examples are unprintable on a family website.
Obviously a film like this isn't for everyone, but even on its own terms it has one major problem: it isn't really scary. Like Tarantino, Zombie retains the point of view of an obsessive but distanced fan, contemplating his cherished images at one remove and never quite breaking through to the literal horror. Towards the end, as the story starts to disintegrate, the film increasingly comes across as a non-narrative anthology of favorite scenes and moments, an effect that feels nostalgic as well as avant-garde: the evocation of a childhood spent watching too much late-night TV and jumbling everything together, hypnotised by a comforting mythology of blood and death.
DVD special features include director's Commentary, featurette, audition footage, rehearsal footage, cast and crew interviews, still gallery and theatrical trailers
Published: July 29, 2004
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HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES: DVD (MA)
CAST: Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon, Karen Black, Chris Hardwick, Erin Daniels
DIRECTOR: Rob Zombie
SCRIPT: Rob Zombie
RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes
PRESENTATION: 1.85:1 widescreen; audio 5.1 Dolby Digital
SPECIAL FEATURES: Director's Commentary, featurette, audition footage, rehearsal footage, cast and crew interviews, still gallery and theatrical trailers
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Universal
DVD RELEASE: July 28, 2004