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House of 1000 Corpses
Directed by Rob Zombie
Produced by Andy Gould
Written by Rob Zombie
Starring Sid Haig
Bill Moseley
Sheri Moon Zombie
Karen Black
Chris Hardwick
Erin Daniels
Jennifer Jostyn
Rainn Wilson
Walton Goggins
Tom Towles
Matthew McGrory
Robert Allen Mukes
Dennis Fimple
Harrison Young
William Bassett
Irwin Keyes
and Michael J. Pollard
Music by Rob Zombie
Scott Humphrey
Cinematography Alex Poppas
Tom Richmond
Editing by Kathryn Himoff
Robert K. Lambert
Sean K. Lambert
Robert W. Hedland (uncredited)
Distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment
Release date(s) April 11, 2003
Running time 88 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $7,000,000
Gross revenue $16,829,545
Followed by The Devil's Rejects

House of 1000 Corpses is a 2003 exploitation horror film written and directed by Rob Zombie, and is his directorial debut. It was released in the United States on April 11, 2003 by Lions Gate Entertainment.

Contents

Plot

Set in late 1977, Jerry, Bill, Mary, and Denise are two couples out on the road in hopes of writing a book on offbeat roadside attractions. When the four meet Captain Spaulding, the vulgar but friendly owner of a gas station and museum of the strange, they learn the local legend of Dr. Satan. As the four take off in search of finding the tree from which Dr. Satan was hanged, they pick up a young hitchhiker named Baby, who claims to live only miles away. Shortly after, the vehicle's tires bust in what is seen to be a trap, and Baby walks to her family's house along with Bill. Only moments later, Baby's brother, Rufus Jr., picks up the stranded passengers and takes them to the Firefly family house.

Soon following, the four friends meet Mother Firefly, Otis, Grandpa Hugo, and the deformed giant, Tiny, while being treated to dinner and discover that the family lives on weird halloween traditions. Mother Firefly then explains that her ex-husband had previously tried to burn Tiny alive along with the Firefly house. After the dinner is over, the family puts on a Halloween show for their guests, where Baby offends the four friends by acting flirtatious. After Baby is threatened, Mother Firefly tells the friends to leave, and that their car is repaired. As they try to leave, though, they are attacked by the other members of the Firefly family and become captured. Not long after, Otis creates a work of art out of Bill's body, Mary is tied up in a barn, Denise is dressed as a doll, and Jerry is scalped.

After finding the friends' abandoned car in a field, with a tortured victim in the trunk, two police officers search the Firefly house only to be killed. Later that night, the three friends are taken to a underground well, and Mary manages to escape, only be to be killed by Baby moments later. Meanwhile, Jerry and Denise are lowered into the underground chamber, where a number of undead figures pull Jerry away, and leave Denise to find her way through the underground lair. As she journeys through the mysterious chambers, she encounters Dr. Satan and a multitude of mentally handicapped patients. As Dr. Satan yells for his mutated assistant, revealed to be Mother Firefly's ex-husband, to capture Denise, she outwits the monstrous figure and escapes the underground chambers. Moments later, she is picked up by Captain Spaulding, only for Otis to appear in the backseat, as they together take Denise back to Dr. Satan's operating room.

Cast and characters

The names of the villains were taken from the names of Groucho Marx characters (Animal Crackers' "Captain Spaulding", A Night at the Opera's "Otis B. Driftwood", Duck Soup's "Rufus T. Firefly" and A Day at the Races' "Hugo Z. Hackenbush", among others). While this was left as a subtle allusion in the first movie, the sequel The Devil's Rejects brought it out into the open, with the names becoming integral to the plot. Dr. Satan was inspired by a 1950s billboard-sized poster advertising a "live spook show starring a magician called Dr. Satan" that Rob Zombie has in his house.[1]

Actor Role
Sid Haig Captain Spaulding
Bill Moseley Otis B. Driftwood
Sheri Moon Zombie Baby Firefly
Karen Black Mother Firefly
Erin Daniels Denise Willis
Chris Hardwick Jerry Goldsmith
Jennifer Jostyn Mary Knowles
Rainn Wilson Bill Hudley
Walton Goggins Deputy Steve Naish
Tom Towles Lieutenant George Wydell
Matthew McGrory Tiny Firefly
Robert Allen Mukes Rufus "R.J." Firefly, Jr.
Dennis Fimple Grandpa Hugo
Walter Phelan Dr. Satan
Michael J. Pollard Stucky

Reception

The film was completed in 2000, but was unable to find a distributor after Universal Pictures rejected the initial cut, believing the film would receive an NC-17 rating (which was ultimately the result). As the film was edited to secure an R rating, it spent several years trying to find a distributor before Lions Gate Entertainment, which was beginning to specialize in releasing horror films, accepted the movie.

The film opened on April 11, 2003 without being pre-screened for critics. Those who viewed it gave it generally negative reviews. Frank Schrek of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the film "lives up to the spirit but not the quality of its inspirations" and is ultimately a "cheesy and ultragory exploitation horror flick" and "strangely devoid of thrills, shocks or horror."[2] Clint Morris of Film Threat slammed the film as "an hour and a half of undecipherable plot" and found the film to be "sickening" overall.[3] James Brundage of Filmcritic.com wrote that the film was simply "hick after hick, cheap scary image after cheap scary image, lots of southern accents and psychotic murders," and was "too highbrow to be a good cheap horror movie, too lowbrow to be satire, and too boring to bear the value of the ticket."[4] The film opened in 595 theaters, technically qualifying for limited release, and grossed $3.4 million. The film saw some expansion in later weeks and ultimately grossed $16.8 million worldwide, which was successful based on its $7 million production budget. Though not popular by critics, the film has developed a rather large cult following. It was followed by a 2005 sequel, The Devil's Rejects.

Sequel

Zombie produced a sequel in 2005 called The Devil's Rejects. Many cast members returned from Corpses, except Karen Black. When Black demanded a higher salary to reprise the role, which Zombie could not afford, Leslie Easterbrook was approached and later cast as her replacement. The film received mixed reviews, but the critical reception was generally better than its predecessor.

The three leads (Sid Haig, Bill Moseley and Sheri Moon Zombie) also made voice over cameos as their characters from both films in Rob Zombie's animated film The Haunted World of El Superbeasto.

Soundtrack

Director Rob Zombie composed the film score with Scott Humphrey. It is isolated on the DVD as a separate audio track.

References

External links

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