House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

house of 1000 corpses poster 2003 movie
2.0 Overall Score
Story: 2/10
Acting: 2/10
Visuals: 1/10

Zombie's love of horror

Sloppy editing and visuals, weak story, annoying characters

Movie Info

Movie Name: House of 1000 Corpses

Studio:  Spectacle Entertainment Group

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s):  March 13, 2003 (Mar del Plata Film Festival)/April 11, 2003 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

house of 1000 corpses captain spalding sig haig

Yeah…pretty much Captain Spalding

Jerry Goldsmith (Chris Hardwick), Bill Hudley (Rainn Wilson), Mary Knowles (Jennifer Jostyn), and Denise Willis (Erin Daniels) are chronicling roadside attractions.  When they stop at The Museum of Monsters & Madmen owned by Captain Spalding (Sid Haig), they learn the story of Dr. Satan.  An attempt to further research Dr. Satan leads to a Halloween of horror when Jerry, Bill, Mary, and Denis find themselves “guests” of Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie), Otis (Bill Moseley), Tiny (Matthew McGrory), Mother Firefly (Karen Black), and Grandpa Hugo (Dennis Fimple)…the night is long and the blood is flowing.

Written and directed by Rob Zombie, House of 1000 Corpses is a grindhouse horror movie.  The film received negative reviews but gained a big cult following.

house of 1000 corpses karen black sheri moon zombie

“I’m more annoying”
“No, I’m more annoying”
“No, I’m more annoying”
…repeat through all their scenes

I heard a lot of talk of House of 1000 Corpses when it came out.  I saw it and hated it.  I saw the sequels (which were slightly better), and thought I’d give House of 1000 Corpses a second chance…it was potentially worse the second time than the first time.

The movie’s plot is nonsense though it wasn’t really meant to be cinematic genius.  Instead there are all these plotlines that never really feel like they come together.  You have Captain Spalding (who owns the place and is related to the other killers), the house of killers, and the whole Dr. Satan story.  The storytelling isn’t very compelling and it feels crammed together.

I would argue that the worse than the plot is the acting.  Sid Haig gained a lot of new fans from the movie, and he’s maybe the only tolerable part in the film.  The entire family (especially Zombie’s wife Sheri Moon Zombie) is obnoxious, not funny, and not scary but irritating.  They are a riff on the family from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but that group was terrifying instead of a bunch of characters that are grating on your nerves.

house of 1000 corpses dr satan

Yeah! Dr. Satan…whatever part of the plot he is!

The visuals of the movie are painful.  Zombie continuously mixes in obnoxious and unnecessary transitions.  What hurts about this is that Zombie obviously has a love of classic grindhouse horror…but he really bastardizes it instead of builds on it.  Later films by Zombie do clean up the visuals a bit, but this film feels desperate.

House of 1000 Corpses just isn’t a good film.  Normally, I’d consider a view like this probably to be a snooty film view, but it really isn’t a good.  It is poorly put together, poorly acted, and a story that is not an homage as much as it is a black-eye to some of the movies it attempts to mimic.  Give me a C.H.U.D., Phenomena, or even Texas Chain Saw Massacre on repeat any day, but watching House of 1000 Corpses is torturous (and not in a good way).  House of 1000 Corpses was followed by The Devil’s Rejects in 2005.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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