“House of 1000 Corpses” turns stomaches, turns up on movie store shelves

by Andy Goodell

Written and directed by renowned heavy metal ghoul, Rob Zombie,”House of 1000 Corpses” begs to be rented by anyone with a strongstomach. Edited down from its original version enough to receive an”R” rating, this film remains one that fulfills all the needs ofany fan of the slasher horror genre. Followers of Zombie’s music,stage show, and original artwork appearing in the liner notes ofboth his solo work and his former act, White Zombie, will not belet down by his first attempt at film.

In Zombie’s clich����d take on horror, a group of four youngadults drive through the rural south in late October 1977, and outof pure curiosity decide to take some back road detours to find thegrave of local legend Dr. Satan, before going home. On the way,they have car trouble and seek help. Unfortunately the first peoplethe kids run into are a sadistic family of back woodscannibals.

At first, the Firefly family appears to the teenagers as ahelpful bunch of country weirdoes. They quickly learn that thefamily’s strange hillbilly appearance and demeanor consists of morethan just dirty jokes and physical deformities. Early on in thefilm, the Firefly clan’s torture and killing spree is ignited bythe nosey and mocking attitudes the middle class teens use as theyinquire about Dr. Satan.

The blood-soaked carnage lasts from this point on until the endcredits roll. This makes the overall mood of the film typical ofmany horror films, but more specifically, ones with multiplesequels like “Friday the 13th” and “Halloween”.

One real problem with this film is that Zombie borrows anoverwhelming amount of elements from Tobe Hooper’s 1974masterpiece, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. Fans of “TexasChainsaw” will notice several glaring examples where Zombie liftselements from Hooper’s film and adapts them using his own visualtweaking. “House of 1000 Corpses” seems to pay tribute, in a way,to one of the scariest films of all time at several points in theplot and in some of the personalities of the characters. Zombie’sinterpretation of these horror staples actually works to theadvantage of the because he seems to simply improve on a provenformula.