Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nightmares and Satans: House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

Halloween's just around the corner and for me, it's gonna be a big deal. Since no one in my country (Philippines) takes Halloween seriously ('cept the little kiddies) all I could do is watch horror flicks, but I kinda do that everyday. So I might as just know a thing or two that's "Halloween" Appropriate. And not to mention that I do have this blog now means I can share some random useless stuff that you guys probably already know.

With days away, I guess I could review some very essential "Halloween" Slashers out there. So let's see today's meat!

House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
Starring: Sid Haig, Karen Black and Bill Moseley

I remember all the horrors this film did to my young psyche: scalped victims, dismembered folks turned into side show attractions, daughters forced to touch the skinned faces of their fathers; all of these were too much for a tender ten year old me, but then I decided to see it again (Now. As an adult of sorts) and I start to see the “art” that is Rob Zombie's debut film.

Never give Ill to a clown
The film opens with a duo of local thugs robbing a gas stop-slash-side show attraction; the stop’s proprietor, a dirty old hoot who calls himself “Captain Spaulding” bravely taunts the men with their attempt to rob them, until he finally stroked a nerve when one of the robbers mentioned he dislikes clowns. All of the sudden, a masked maniac broke in, masked and axe at hand, and hacks one robber while Spaulding shot the other on the head. The maniac laughs at the fallen survivor until Spaulding walks to him and shot him repeatedly on the face.

This is why Bill Moseley is God
We then jump to two teen couples out at the open road in Halloween night, looking for unheard attractions and tourist traps for their book. On their journey, they ran low on gas and stopped by at Spaulding’s place, where the clownf-faced man gave the kids a tour of his attraction. There, they learned of a local legend called “Dr. Satan”, a serial killer who murdered many for his diabolical experiments and was claimed that his supposedly empty grave can be found nearby. Hoping to add the site to their book, they asked Spaulding for the directions to the grave and drives away.

Personally, I go for younger girls...
As they rode off, they picked up a hitchhiker named “Baby” and got a flat tire soon after. Baby’s family picked them up and sheltered them for the night, giving the kids a peek to their bizarre Halloween rituals only to end with a minor fight. This escalates to a wilder and  seemingly inescapable series of torture, murder and occult as “The Firefly Clan” shows them not to cross with the clan and those who enters their home rarely make out alive…

While I do agree for some for calling it a mindless, plotless, jumbled piece of violence, profanity and forbidden sensibilities, it’s still a entertainingly dark  little devil who lives up to its name and provided some good throwbacks to the 70s exploitation and over-the-top grindhouse shock.

This is just sad...
It’s definitely made for horror fans alone though I’m sure it’s not meant for just any horror fan. Gory murders, sadistic torment lined with supernatural forces, and rock and roll texture proved to be a difficult combination; it’s not everybody’s tea and it divides viewers to either hardcore cult fans tor sensible haters. But knowing this was Rob’s debut film, I guess I could loose some slab for this dirty meat and look at what this film delivered.

"Doctor! You've done it!"
While plot and characterization is obviously absent, it makes up with shock and disturbing images. We get skinned fathers, boyfriends turned into fishmen, women kissing jars of aborted fetuses, skeletal masturbation, all horrifying themes of true grue and I find it more as a fascination of a disturbed family rather than a narrative. And by keeping my mindset on that, I see the beauty of this film as a cartoonish, overtly-sadistic throwback.

Of course, there’s always gonna be superior titles who did better, one of them being this film’s own sequel “The Devil’s Rejects”, but as a cult-hit I do warmly embrace this stabby-little backstabber. It’s one of the weirdest, most unique display of horror that would disturb, shock and cringe millions. It’s a horror film by horror fans for horror fans.

1 male shot in the head
1 male axed, shot repeatedly on the face
1 female seen killed
1 male mutilated and taxidermied into a mannequin
1 female seen with letters carved into her side
3 females found with throat slits, carvings and beating
1 male shot on the neck
1 male shot twice through the back, later skinned alive
1 male shoto n the head
1 female stabbed to death
1 male scalped, later mutilated
1 female killed
total: 14

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