Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses has nostalgia on its side but not much else. Pretending the last 20 years of teen slasher flicks never existed, Zombie creates a strange burlesque cocktail that reimagines The Texas Chainsaw Massacre by way of Vulgar. Four teenagers go chasing after an urban legend (Doctor Satan) in backwater USA and meet strange with an ex-prom queen (a busty Karen Black) and her immediate family. The kids have to wear masks before they can chow down on Halloween dessert and soon find themselves rubbing shoulders with several corpses-cum-scarecrows hanging outside Mother Firefly’s lovely estate. Zombie’s film-stock fetish gives 1000 Corpses a welcomed homespun quality but the effect quickly wears off. Not unlike Zombie’s clip for his song “Living Dead Girl,” 1000 Corpses is a playful shout-out to the horror films of yesteryear but there’s little meat beneath the admiration. In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, anticipation was Tobe Hooper’s weapon of choice. Only once does Zombie successfully channel the hellish dread of Hooper’s masterpiece. High above the Death compound, Zombie’s camera observes the preening Otis (Bill Moseley) as he aims a gun to a man’s head and it feels like an eternity before he pulls the trigger. If not for the blink-and-miss sideshow attractions (most notable is the sight of the howl-inducing Fish Boy) and stockpile of memorable quotes (if “He performed lurid acts on my person” and “You stupid fucking whore” don’t tickle your fancy, there’s also “I’m going to cut you like a pig and make you eat your own intestines”), 1000 Corpses would have been easier to shrug off. This vintage curio is proudly and humorously derivative but that familiar aftertaste is that of wasted opportunities.
- Rob Zombie
- Rob Zombie
- Sid Haig, Karen Black, Bill Moseley, Michael J. Pollard, Sheri Moon, Jeanne Carmen, Chris Hardwick, Tom Towels, Erin Daniels, Dennis Fimple, Robert Allen Mukes, Chuck Aronberg, Freddy Waff, Rainn Wilson, Jennifer Jostyn, David Reynolds, Irwin Keyes, Walt Goggins
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