1000 CORPSES REVIEWED
Thanks to the guys over at Creature Corner we can now get an expert opinion of the eagerly awaited House of 1000 Corpses...read on...
First, let's get a bit of the plot out of the way, shall we?
1977. Four kids are out on the night before Halloween, trying to compile information roadside attractions, the weird shit you see when you travel across country, or at least you could back then. They stop at a place called Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen, which is run by a strange man in a clown suit (Haig) that shows them his exclusive "murder ride".
On this ride, scenes depicting famous mass murderers "caught in the act" (as it were) are on both sides of their little cart, the last one dealing with the local mystery of Dr. Satan. Seems this man performed some unethical experiments and was later hanged by the townsfolk, the hanging tree located not a few hundred feet from where their asses presently sat.
Of course one of the guys decides they need to find this murder tree, and end up pickign a gorgeous hitchhiker (Sheri Moon) along the way. After the obligatory flat tire, things do not go well for the kids when they meet the hitchhikers family...
Trust me, that's just the first 10-15 minutes...
The closer we got to actually being able to see this movie, the less excited I found myself to be for it. Maybe it's just the cynic in me that realizes it's best to view a over-hyped movie with an open mind and realistic expectations, but whatever it was, it worked. I really dug 'House' the first and second time I've watched it, and I feel now pretty confident that I will continue to do so each and every time.
Zombie is not breaking new ground here, he's not trying to start a new trend in horror, if anything he's trying to bring one back. That of the sadistically violent eye that doesn't flinch away when the action gets really nasty, but instead lingers long enough for the images to stick in your brain for a while. He's done it well enough, using his love for both classic ('40's-60's) and more modern (at least up 'til 1977) horror and mixing them up with the interesting camera moves and effects. Not groundbreaking, no, but interesting. You can tell he's a horror lover making a fun and at the same time punishingly brutal movie for horror fans.
Not everyone's going to see it as brutal, but Joe Moviegoer, or at least Joe Musicbuyer that watches this because it was directed by Zombie, will not be prepared the ass kicking of weird they will receive when they first experience 'House of 1,000 Corpses'. I know this, I've seen it first hand, and I have to say to see the reactions by those that aren't as enveloped by this genre the way we are is priceless.
'House' is a midnight movie. It's the kind of thing you should make it a point to see for the first time at 12am, in a local theater packed with like-minded individuals. See how the crowd reacts to all the violence, the humor, the clichť situations that the characters inevitably fall into, only for them to be twisted with a modern sensibility as to what audiences want to see. I can't freakin' wait to see this in theaters come April 11th, I really can't.
Just don't see it with unrealistic expectations. Don't expect it to be the next big thing in horror. A lot of people said it sounded like an extended music video, and to a point they're right. It's got the jumpy, kinetic feel to it that makes it very obvious where the director got his experience, but if you go in realizing that he's not trying to be Carpenter, you're going to dig this film. It's a good horror film, and I think a lot of fans are going to agree.
Your devoted Rotten one is going to interject a little opinion of his own now. It's been nearly two years since I've seen the film in its rough cut (read that original review here) and, aside from a few minor additions and an original soundtrack (not the temp score that accompanied the cut I witnessed), Zombie's feature debut remains to be a blast.
Imagine if "Corpses" was a fatherly figure of sorts. Would it be that, go-get-'em kind of guy that would pat you on the back and attend your baseball games? Hell no. Think of it as more of a drunken stepfather. Unemployed, sans any morals, but has a penchant for knocking back a sixer of MGD while kicking your ass.
Zombie doesn't strive to create a cerebral experience that will stand amongst the sturdy pillars this genre is supported on. And it doesn't tease you with any hidden agendas. Rather, it bares all like that sickly New York whore in Central Park ruining everyone's summer afternoon in the sun with a flash of a haggard breast or worse yet...
"Corpses" is dirty, loud, and above all, entertaining. But by no means anything revolutionary. A 2-D carnival ride teeming with sick, twisted weirdos. Like the film's two couples entering Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen, we're strapped into our theater seats with Zombie acting as our guide, forcing our eyelids open to gaze upon the depravity on screen. To our right, watch Sid Haig chew up the scenery! (Sid steals the show.) To our left, witness FX artist Wayne Toth's grotesque abominations of flesh and machine! (In some of the strangest plot turns this side of "Resident Evil"...I'm talking about the game, folks.)
Though many will take the film at face value, believe it or not, the film serves almost as a living Halloween card decorated with the usual black cats, grinning jack o' lanterns, and decrepit scarecrows. Beyond the torture and chaos that befalls our hapless travelers, "Corpses" is actually a film about how some folks celebrate the holiday we all know and love. While children lurk about in the darkest shadows of their suburban subdivisions dressed to the hilt in a menacing costumes, there's this family who uphold their own All Hallows Eve traditions with a special dinner, a little song and dance number, getting fucked up, and slaughtering some innocents.
The anticipation alone for this film will be its downfall most likely splitting fans into two categories: those who accept it and those hard-ass nit-pickers who can't sit back and let the wave of frantic energy overcome them. Zombie may not have evoked the '70s "Exorcist" style, but he's certainly brought an essence of exploitation and filmmaking not seen on the big screen in a long, long time.
For more info on 'House of 1,000 Corpses', check out the film's official website. It starts a limited run on April 11th, 2003 in North America.