Wednesday, October 11, 2006

31 Days of Halloween - Day 11 Movie

Rob Zombie's "House of 1000 Corpses" (2002) is a bit of a mess. I was stunned, because I saw the sequel "The Devil's Rejects" first, which I found to be a pretty polished, and well thought out movie with a lot of interesting directorial and editorial choices. The characters, while not terribly likeable, were characters that could be related to, at least and had dimension to them. Zombie's ability to shift who the audience was rooting for, and who were the monsters gave it some weight.

"House of 1000 Corpses" seems like a rough sketch, a very rough sketch, of what would come in the sequel. The characters are very roughly formed, barely characters really. More like visual images. There's no one in this movie to put any emotional investment, and while Zombie does play around with style in his directing and editing choices, it's hard to see that he'd become so accomplished by his second movie. Also, the plot, while very simple, seems to veer all over the place.

This is essentially, four teens on a road trip find themselves going down the wrong road and ending up in the house of a crazy family of sadistic murderers, like "Spiderbaby," "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," or "Hills Have Eyes". Unfortunately you never feel the plight of the teens, and, as I said, the crazed family members are so rudimentary, it's hard to take them seriously as threats, despite the atrocities they commit. There are some satirical elements here, but because everything else is so primordial, they fail to have the effect they should, and instead just become a part of the scenery.

I was entertained to a point, but recommend anyone who hasn't seen this skip it and move on to the worthy "The Devil's Rejects" instead.

1 comment:

Smurfwreck said...

Yeah, I think he went into the flick trying to bring a lot of his signature style (the weird color inserts, the quick music video stuff, over the top costumes, etc) which ended up taking a bit away from story and plot.

He also had it in mind to try and focus on the Firefly family, to try and make them iconic and (to fans of gore and horror flicks) almost loveable in the vein of the Sawyer family from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre flicks. I think he wanted the kids to be annoying and simply fodder for the family to contend with.

The only character that I felt got the time to chew the scenery enough to benefit from this was Sid Haig as Capt. Spalding.

In the Devil's Rejects he makes it a point to focus more on the family and what makes them human, so it works a lot better.

It's funny also how both flicks sort of follow in the foot steps of Toby Hooper and TCM, the first flick is pretty much a remake, and the second deals with making the family into the victims, just like in TCM2 where Dennis Hopper is the slasher who's almost never on screen and ends up killing everyone (almost.) There's also the revenge for the murder/terrorizing of a family member aspect.