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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield


Dir. Rob Zombie

Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield

The film that started it all. Rob Zombie’s cult classic was not always the brilliant classic it has become. 10 years in the making and various battles with studios including that of much loved horror staple ‘Universal’, HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES was almost never made.

With his own persistence, and budget, it finally hit the ground and thank the heavens it did. Introducing the world to the much loved, and despised, Firefly family, a new icon in the horror genre.

...CORPSES blends the loves of Zombie that he has shared for years in the music industry. Horror films and music. Part extended music video, part homage to the video nasty’s of the 70’s and 80’s, the influences are stamped all over it.

But what makes this separate from the hundreds of 2nd rate copycat films is Zombies power behind a camera. From bizarre cut scenes to the superb choice in music (mostly from Zombie’s own back catalogue) and casting that has booted the careers of wife Sheri Moon and film debut of comedy veteran, Rainn Wilson as well as reigniting that of Bill Moseley, and Sid Haig (God rest his soul).

Welcoming Captain Spaulding perfectly cast with Haig and the rest of the psychotic Firefly siblings Baby (Moon-Zombie), Otis (Moseley), Mother (Oscar winner, Karen Black who sadly passed away in 2013) and the gentle Tiny (Matthew McGrory, rest in piece big man), the violence seen over the next 90 minutes is both sickening and near the knuckle to almost being banned.

Unbeknownst, the Firefly family are like child's play compared to the lair that beneath the house. Occupied by Dr. Satan and his experiments, this truly turns the film into something else, a creature feature of sorts blending sub-genre in a way unexpected. Truly a house of 1,000 reanimated corpses.

To say this film contains scenes of graphic violence would be an understatement. Zombie's debut needs a warning of its own. It will rip you in two, spit in your guts and sew you together and keep you as a mannequin. One standout scene sees a cop find his daughter amongst other mutilated in a garage, soon begins a shootout and with Frank Ifield’s ‘I Remember You’ playing throughout, the harrowing beg for mercy ends in anything but. Marrying both Zombie’s skills as a director, not only of the narcotic violence that takes place but upon every detail from sound to make-up.

Both gruesome and in parts hilarious due to the fantastic script and ensemble, HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES is a low budget film success and remains high amongst the ranks of the hillbilly genre that includes the likes of Tobe Hooper’s TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and Wes Craven’s THE HILLS HAVE EYES. A flawless debut that holds charm and infinite viewing pleasure.

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