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House of 1000 Corpses (R)
Lions Gate Films
Official Site
Director: Rob Zombie
Producer: Andy Gould
Written by: Rob Zombie
Cast: Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon, Karen Black

Rating: out of 5

It’s been a while since I reviewed anything, but I jumped at the chance when I heard that, without my help, one of hybridmagazine’s loyal readers might actually go see this sad, sad excuse for a horror film. It was held back from release by several studios who sold it back and forth, and they had good reason. Not that I dislike Rob Zombie. In interviews, Rob Zombie is intelligent, interesting, and funny—the perfect dinner party guest. I just hate his movie.

Take all of the ingredients for a good grinder flick. You know, four lost young folks, a creepy old house, lots of backwoods hicks, preferably related, with a taste for mayhem and other kinky stuff, and a raft of bizarre basements, subterranean passages, and graveyards with all the trimmings. Then do nothing interesting with them. You get the idea.

Zombie (should I call him Rob?) starts off well with Captain Spaulding (Haig) setting the over-the-top creepshow stage for our four 20-somethings. A little effort was made to give them motivation for their massively stupid decisions, and things looked like they might be fun in a totally predictable sort of way. Baby (Moon) shows up with the T&A factor, getting the rapt attention of the males in the audience. And then it all falls apart.

Only one of the four victims—let’s call them cattle or prey—was even likeable, much less sympathetic. I think this tactic backfired when I found myself happy every time one of them died because it meant we were that much closer to the end. The clan of evildoers all talk in clichés and act in worse clichés. I kept hoping at some point that something would happen instead of just sliding into the next scene, but House Of 1000 Corpses just moves along without tension or climaxes until the last girl finally lives or dies. I honestly don’t remember—that’s how little I cared.

How was the acting? It’s so hard to tell how good an actor is when he has nothing to work with. Nuff said.

Were the sets cool? Of course! It was like the greatest heavy metal video set of all time. Someone else might have done something truly disturbing. Could this movie have been good? Maybe with better editing? I don’t think so. It’s possible that Zombie forced them to edit his movie this badly, but I honestly believe his poor editors had nothing to work with. A pity, really. Somebody put a lot of money into making this movie look cool. It’ll make a great film to have on in the background and mostly ignore at a party. That should iron out the worst of its problems. Just be ready when someone says, “Hey, this looks cool. Let’s turn on the sound.” It’s the devil talking, and he must be stopped at all costs.

—Reed Oliver


hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

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