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.
Rob Zombie’s comic book non-horror take on “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”
RELEASED IN 2003 (but shot in 2000) and written/directed by Rob Zombie, "House of 1000 Corpses” is a horror/black comedy about two young couples who inadvertently visit a house of demented serial killers in backwoods Texas.
A critic summed the movie up as “a ridiculous horror comedy, but with extremely annoying villains.” It was inspired by (or rips off) “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974) and combines it with the cartoonish horror comedy of “Evil Dead II” (1987) while throwing in a little “The Funhouse” (1981).
The entire first act, including the amusing prologue that introduces Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), is very entertaining, but the over-the-top approach starts to get dull by the middle of the picture with the overdone events at the demented Firefly abode. The last act gets so cartoonish that I thought maybe the main protagonist (Erin Daniels) was experiencing a nightmare. The fantastical elements strip away any vestige of horror that was hardly there in the first two acts, which were too zany to take as serious horror. As such, I can’t see anyone older than 7 finding this movie “disturbing.” Still, the film pulsates with colorful pizazz and characters, not to mention a quality score/soundtrack.
Sheri Moon Zombie is effective in her role as Baby Firefly. I liked her voice and didn’t mind her laugh (which many criticize), but she’s a little too thin for my tastes. Daniels works pretty well as the main protagonist. But, considering Zombie’s resources (e.g. the five captive cheerleaders), the flick sorta drops the ball in the female department.
The film sat on the shelf so long because Universal feared a NC-17 rating. Lions Gate eventually picked it up, but it was cut & edited in an attempt to achieve an R-rating. The original version was 16 minutes longer.
THE MOVIE RUNS 1 hour, 29 minutes and was shot in Southern Cal (Chicken Ranch Backlot, Universal Studios; Palmdale; Santa Clarita; and Saugus).
Lionsgate, Spectacle Entertainment Group by Rob Zombie.
Stars: Sid Haig, Karen Black, Bill Moseley.
Keywords: upper class halloween psychopath urban legend cult film satanic ritual
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