Blu Release – 4/5
House of 1000 Corpses
Director – Rob Zombie (31, Lords of Salem)
Starring – Sid Haig (Spider Baby, The Devil’s Rejects), Sheri Moon Zombie (Halloween, Halloween II), and Bill Moseley (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Evil Bong)
Release Date – 2003
Rating – 3.5/5
Tagline – “The most shocking tale of carnage ever seen”
When I hit high school I was a full fledged horror fan. I was obsessed with it and spent every cent of my allowance buying movies and comics. This was the time where I was an avid Rob Zombie fan. Like most metal and rocks fans of the time I was obsessed with him thanks to the Twisted Metal games which featured him on the soundtrack. In 2003 I was a sophomore and he announced his first horror film House of 1000 Corpses. I fucking shit my pants at the news.
Sadly, there was no theater near me at the time so I had to wait for a physical release. When it was released on DVD I had to have it and I’m glad I bought it. The DVD menu alone was worth the price. To this date I have yet to find a DVD with a menu as fucking cool at that one. I loved the movie and watched it so much I burned myself out with it. With news of Zombie’s third film in the series Umbrella has released the first two films House of 1000 Corpses and it’s sequel The Devil’s Rejects on blu and was kind enough to send a review copy my way. Thanks guys!
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows two couples who are on their way home after traveling the country and documenting roadside attractions. They stop at Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and Madmen where they hear about the legend of Dr. Satan. They decide to investigate it further and meet a female hitchhiker named Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) who takes them back to their house for a Halloween they will never forget. **Spoiler Alert**
I always loved this film. As I said earlier, I pretty much watched this one non-stop for a few years before giving the DVD a retirement. It’s been about 10 years since my last viewing and I have to say that it did not hold up well. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is fantastic but some of the things that I didn’t mind so much are actually working against the film. It’s still a fantastic modern horror film but it doesn’t have it’s faults.
The acting in this one is fucking fantastic. Zombie wrote some unforgettable characters with this one and pulled together a cast that brought them to live. These performances are unparalleled in horror and almost every character is one you will never forget. Their actions hold the scenes and the lines will be quoted for decades. Bill Moseley and Sid Haig were already genre icons before this film but they moved to pop icons with their performances here. We also get some great performances from two other pop culture icons Rainn Wilson and Chris Hardwick who was relatively unknown at the time. They all do fantastic jobs and make these characters larger than life.
The story for this one often gets compared to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I can see why. A farmhouse out in the country that is home to a family of serial killers. I can see why people compare the two but there is more to the story here than TCM. We get urban legends, medical oddities, a group of characters that you follow compared to TCM’s one. The story has a lot going on which is also it’s biggest flaw. The movie struggles to figure out what kind of movie it wants to be. We have a road trip horror that leads to the TCM style set up that ends with the evil doctor and his medical experiments. Its a solid movie but it just doesn’t know it wants to be. There is also these random inserts that will remind viewers of Rob Zombie’s music videos. They serve no purpose to the film but do extend the running time.
Finally, this one has some fantastic effects. We only get a few deaths here and there that are mostly gun shots but we do get some insanely amazing effects later in the film. We get some top notch practical and costume effects that are still amazing even by today’s standards. The film isn’t as gory and as brutal as other horror films of the time but it very effective at creating atmosphere. Overall, House of 1000 Corpses is a fantastic horror film. It was very ambitious for the time but it did not age well. The characters are now iconic and the effects are insane but there some things this young director should have done differently.
The Devil’s Rejects
Director – Rob Zombie – (31, Lords of Salem)
Starring – Sid Haig (Spider Baby, Aftermath), Bill Moseley (Night of the Living Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2), and Sheri Moon Zombie (Halloween, Halloween II)
Release Date – 2005
Rating – 4/5
Tagline – “This summer, go to hell”
When House of 1000 Corpses was released on home video I became obsessed with it. I watched it so many times I could almost quote it from beginning to end. I did this for a few years until Rob Zombie announced his follow up The Devil’s Rejects. By this point I was burned out on the film but I didn’t want to skip the opportunity to see this one.
A theater had just opened near my home so I was able to check it out. I absolutely fucking loved it and was shocked. Not only by how much he had grown as a director but by the route he took the film. I was not expecting that at all. I loved the film even more than the first but I was smart to not burn myself out on it. It has been a few years since my last viewing but it was time to check it out on blu sent to me from Umbrella Entertainment. Thanks guys!
**Spoiler Alert**The film begins with the police invading the Firefly farmhouse with an investigate by Sheriff Wydell (Forsythe). They capture Mother Firefly (Leslie Easterbrook), kill Rufus (Tyler Mane), while Baby, Otis, and Tiny gets away. Tiny goes into hiding while Otis and Baby go to a their planned spot to meet Captain Spaulding who is actually Baby’s father. Wydell is hot on their trail and he hires two bounty hunters, The Unholy Two, to track them down. Baby and Otis meets with Spaulding and goes to Spaulding’s brother’s whorehouse to lay low but Wydell knows about their aliases and plans an ambush at midnight. He captures them and tortures them at their farmhouse before freeing Baby for a game of cat and mouse but Tiny is able to save her and kill Wydell. The three try to ride off into the sunset but a police roadblock stands in their way…**Spoiler Alert**
House of 1000 Corpses gives fans a dark and relentless horror film that takes a story similar to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and builds upon it. The Devil’s Rejects does the opposite. It is brutal in it’s own rights but it has an old exploitation feel to it. It almost feels like a modern day hixploitation film and many could argue it is. Either way, this film is superior to the first film.
The acting in this one is fucking fantastic. Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, and Sheri Moon Zombie kills it. Sheri Moon Zombie didn’t sell me on her character with the first film but she brought it with this one. Her character is not as annoying as the first film and she pulls together a wide range of emotion. She did a fantastic job. The same can be said for the entire cast. Mosely, Haig, Ken Foree, Leslie Easterbrook, Geoffrey Lewis, Danny Trejo, and so on absolutely kills it. Every scene is perfect. With that being said, no one brings the intensity that William Forsythe does. He absolutely steals every scene he is in and his character truly deserved his own spin-off.
The story for this one builds up on what the first film created but added even more unforgettable characters. It took the claustrophobic atmosphere from the first and replaced it with a road trip type film. It makes the film feel bigger in scope. I also liked how the film turned three iconic horror villains into anti-heroes of sorts while the film’s authority figure takes on the role of villain. It was great. Honestly, I can’t find a problem with the story outside of the masked killer in the first one being Tiny’s father while Baby’s father is Captain Spaulding. I get that they are a dysfunctional family but that’s stretching it.
Finally, this film was hit and miss with the effects. The practical effects and gore are fucking top notch. The effects team really out did themselves here but the visual effects were shit. I know it was almost 15 years ago but these visual effects were so bad. I’m talking Syfy bad. Who approved them? Overall, The Devil’s Rejects is an iconic horror film that I would be shocked to meet a horror fan who hasn’t seen it. This release from Umbrella is a must for horror fans and fans of Zombies’ films.
HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES:
Audio comm with director Rob Zombie
The Making Of
Cast and crew interviews
New interview with William Bassett
THE DEVIL’S REJECTS:
Matthew McGrory Tribute
Buck Owens: Satan’s Got to Get Along Without Me
“Mary the Monkey Girl” Commercial
Captain Spaulding’s Xmas Commercial
Otis’ Home Movies
The Morris Green Show