BluRay/DVD Reviews

THE HOUSE OF A 1000 CORPSES

By • Apr 15th, 2003 •

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(Lion’s Gate Entertainment) 2003
88 minutes / Rated ‘R’ / Aspect Ratio l.85:1, enhanced for 16X9 monitors
Featuring Director commentary, Featurette, Audition and Rehearsal footage, interviews, etc.

The interactive menu is wild, the opening titles and accompanying music are galvanic, the first shot in the film proper could have been designed by Ophuls or Kubrick (no wonder it’s used in the menu area as well), In fact the entire first act burns rubber, with Sid Haig (in clown makeup) giveing a phenomenal high decibel performance every bit as effective as Lee Ermey’s in FULL METAL JACKET. I was having the time of my life.

Then it shifted into reverse. Haig dropped out of the plot, which advanced a few more invigorating paces to about the midway point before it slipped into incoherent TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE emulations without sufficient narrative drive or any appreciable level of fear.

Admittedly, Karen Black is delicious in her sporadic appearances in the second half, and astutely cast Sheri Moon spins a performance of equal pieces sex, shrill energy, and lurking danger. But the onslaught of escalating mindless violence, the lack of clarity about which girl-in-peril is in peril at what time, and the big third act set amidst implausible underground sets, imaginative though they are, left me sitting there wondering what had become of all the great promise of the film’s set-up.

Rob Zombie’s feel for how to use music in film is his strongest suit. His direction of the actors is professional and displays a keen feel for witty details. His directorial eye generally is thorough and pleasing, with a gift for rollicking chaos. But his screenwriting skills were his Achilles’ heel. The NATURAL BORN KILLER stream-of-consciousness film stocks and editing bursts worked better for me than the evolution of the protagonist/victims’ plights. The film’s compass just started spinning, lost true direction, and the party petered out.


Credits:
Film and interactive menu directed by Rob Zombie. Music by Rob Zombie and Scott Humphrey.
Costume Designs by Amanda Friedland.
Special Make-up Effects by Wayne Toth.
Edited by Katheryn Himoff, Robert K. Lambert and Sean Lambert.
Production Design by Gregg Gibbs.
Director of Photography Tom Richmond and Alex Poppas.
Produced by Andy Gould.
Written by Rob Zombie.

Cast:
Sid Haig,
Bill Moseley,
Sheri Moon,
Karen Black.

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