Wednesday, September 14, 2011

DBH Re-Visits:House of 1,000 Corpses(2003)

By Eric Polk-
This is another movie requested by my fiancee Jo who was watching an interview with the movie's director Rob Zombie when she asked me. I saw this movie initially when it was released 8 years ago and I didn't know what to think of it back then so this viewing would be a win-win situation for us. Well...8 years later, I'd say it was inconsistent.

The film is set in late 1977, where Jerry Goldsmith ,Bill Hudley, Mary Knowles, and Denise Willis  are two couples out on the road in hopes of writing a book on offbeat roadside attractions. When the four meet Captain Spaulding, the vulgar but friendly owner of a gas station and "Museum of the Strange", they learn the local legend of Dr. Satan. As the four take off in search of finding the tree from which Dr. Satan was hanged, they pick up a young hitchhiker named Baby, who claims to live only miles away. Shortly after, the vehicle's tires burst in what is later seen to be a trap and Baby walks to her family's house along with Bill. Only moments later, Baby's half-brother, Rufus picks up the stranded passengers and takes them to the family home.

Soon following, the four friends meet Mother Firefly, Baby's mother; Otis Driftwood,Baby's adopted brother; Hugo, Baby's grandfather; and Baby's deformed giant half-brother, Tiny. While being treated to dinner, they discover that the family lives on weird Halloween traditions. Mother Firefly then explains that her ex-husband, Earl had previously tried to burn Tiny alive along with the Firefly house. After the dinner is over, the family puts on a Halloween show for their guests, where Baby offends the four friends by acting flirtatiously. After Baby is threatened, Mother Firefly tells the friends to leave and that their car is repaired. As they try to leave, though, they are attacked by the other members of the Firefly family, knocked unconscious and captured. Not long after, Otis creates a work of art out of Bill's body, Mary is tied up and abused, Denise is bed bound while dressed as a doll for Halloween, and Jerry is scalped.

After Denise does not return home, her father, Don, calls the Police to search for her. Two cops  find the friends' abandoned car in a field with a tortured victim in the trunk. Don is called and arrives at the scene to go with the two cops to search for information. They arrive at the Firefly house and upon finding bodies, the three are quickly killed. Later that night, the three friends are taken to an underground well and Mary manages to escape, only to be killed by Baby moments later. Meanwhile, Jerry and Denise are lowered into the underground chamber, where a number of undead figures pull Jerry away and leave Denise to find her way through the underground lair. As she journeys through the mysterious chambers, she encounters Dr. Satan  and a multitude of mentally handicapped patients. Dr. Satan has Jerry on his operating table, horribly torturing and skinning him alive.

The main problem with this film seems to me that it's all over the place. It's black comedy one minute and an intense, gore-filled atmosphere the next. Don't get me wrong, I loved Captain Spaulding and his museum and the last twenty minutes are what I consider to be textbook horror, but the stuff in between just didn't crank my dials enough to give it a place in my Horror Hall of Fame.


Donna said...

One of the most underrated and most awesome horror movies ever!

Legally Brunette said...

this was a great movie, i also enjoyed his newer versions of Jason. far better than the originals. I have also seen Rob Zombie in NH. he lives in salem, NH. he looks just as strange in person that he does on TV. no shock there.