Rock legend Rob Zombie turns his hand to movie directing and concocts a deliciously manic rollercoaster of a horror flick.
Rob Zombie, Shock-Rocker & White Zombie mastermind, is a peculiarly interesting character; I have waited with anticipation for his directorial debut to hit DVD. I expected House of 1000 Corpses to be a camped up music promo of a slash romp steeped in the tradition of the older horror movies and underground no-budgeters. House Of 1000 Corpses certainly tips its hat to all the classics and does utilize many of the favorite horror movie tricks & trappings - what I didn't anticipate was an incredibly intense and truly disturbing trip down to very-very -scary-ville.
The basic scenario is the traditional Texas Chainsaw Massacre model.The good guys (lambs to the slaughter) are two couples on a late night road trip, doing research on creepy legends. The hapless youngsters run out of gas in the middle of the night and while refueling hear of the local legend - Dr Satan a maniacal surgeon & serial killer. They decide to investigate the story further and along the way stumble right into their own worst nightmare.
Bill, Jerry, Mary and Denise pick up a cute hitch-hiker named Baby (Sheri Moon, Zombie's wife), Baby lures the youngsters back to her home where her viciously warped family are still working on their previous victims a group of 5 missing cheerleaders. The first scenes involving the cheerleaders are used to introduce the viewer to the hideously eccentric characters of the loony family and to their grizzly activities.
The quality of directing for a new boy is highly accomplished stuff - if not all original. Zombie takes elements from countless sources including just about every American 70's horror plus Hammer classics such as Dr Crippen & Daughters of Darkness. The cinematography is great too switching from cartoon colours to snuff movie graininess in an instant, Zombie builds the tension by throwing everything in the book at you. Including an incredible slow, high tracking shot which suspends you in silence for what feels like a whole minute. Quentin Tarantino deserves a small mention as some of the acting & directing feels a bit like Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction, plus the inappropriate use of music is put to use - Slim Whitman's 'I Remember You', I think Quentin owns the trademark on this one. The Rocky Horror Show also supplied its fair share of influence.
Unlike other modern horrors - such as The Ring, Zombie doesn't look for a new or fresh basis for fear, Americans are scared by themselves & a trip off the beaten track is all that's needed to create major hysteria.
The highest compliment I can pay this excellent piece of work is that it contains two killings which actually managed to stay with me and trouble my brain. How often does that happen in