Quickie 28 – House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

or “A DIYer’s Nightmare”

We recently lost the great and gruesome Sid Haig, and as a God of Death, I want to take this chance to apologize to everyone upset by this. He wasn’t on my docket, so I’m not apologizing personally but on behalf of the Bureau of Deceasement. The word “indelible” gets thrown around a lot (especially by people who don’t know what the fuck it means but like to sound smarter than we are), but Sid’s legacy in the world of less-than-fine cinema is indelible to be sure. From the first time Krix introduced me to Spider-Baby to the time the RiffTrax guys tackled Wonder Women (and MST3K included Wizards of the Lost Kingdom 2 in their 1st season with NetFlix) to his final role in 3 From Hell and the dozens of blaxploitation roles and “weird looking guy” cameos in between, Haig’s, uhm, unique(?) visage is only as noteworthy as his love for his fans, shown during what amounted to no-doubt hundreds of convention appearances. I don’t generally get upset by movie industry deaths and you can take solace that the man had a full 8 decades of life to live, but this one actually gets me.

Or maybe I’m just more depressed today because Set probably replaced my meds with Tic-Tacs again. I thought my breath smelled a little fresher than usual…

“It’s all true. The boogeyman is real and you found him.” – Otis Driftwood

Wayback in the year that was nineteen-hundred and seventy-seven, that creepy guy from ”The Office” and the host of ”Singled Out” were road tripping across country with their female significant others, cataloging odd roadside attractions for a book they planned to write. One late night they stumbled upon a tourist trap called “The Museum of Monsters & Madmen”, a sideshow style shack hosted by owner-operator Captain Spaulding – a foul mouthed clown who you’d never want to rob and whose fried chicken I’m not sure I’d want to eat. Included in the museum is a carnival type tour of some of America’s most infamous serial killers and cannibals. Here, among the likes of Albert Fish and Ed Gein, the Cap’n regales the twenty-somethings with the tales of local legend Dr. Satan. Intrigued by the ghoulish creature’s backstory, they prod Spaulding into giving them direction to the tree from which the diabolical doctor was supposedly hanged, only to have disappeared from the next day faster than Jesus Houdini-ing his way out of that cave blocked by the boulder.

On their way to the site, they make the cardinal error of picking up a hitchhiker. In this case, her name is Baby and she looks like she just off of her shift at the Strip N Flip (my favorite strip club combination pancake house) and has an ear rattling cackle that most viewers will get tired off REAL quick. After a series of unfortunate events, the entire gang end up at Baby’s family’s compound where they’re invited to dine with her adopted brother Otis, her half-brother Tiny (a colossal mutant burn victim), their grandpa Hugo and their mother, uhm, “Mother”. After the meal, the family puts on a weird variety show for their guests that ends rather ugly and ultimately leads to the quartet being kidnapped, tortured, maimed, assaulted, mutilated, vivisected and violently killed by the Firefly clan and their subterranean landlord (I’m assuming), Dr. Satan himself.

Nothing ground breaking by any stretch of the exposed brain’s imagination, House of 1000 Corpses is basically a music video director’s rendition of torture porn. Your typical “love letter” movie, it harkens back to the likes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Last House on the Left, Manson and even a little bit of My Bloody Valentine what with its mine shaft chase scene. The only problem with doing this type of flick, comparisons to the originals aside, is that these are usually best saved for a director’s later efforts. Their first movie is best used to establish their own “voice”, so to speak (pun fully inserted rectally for maximum effectiveness), rather than pay tribute to the ones that inspired them.

However, given that Ho1KC could very well have bombed the man right out of ever making another feature again, you can tell by his music and resultant videos that if he was only going to get one shot at telling his story, there’s no way he wasn’t going to highlight the “Thank Yous” portion of that book prominently. Hey, if nothing else, at least the guy is proud of what inspires him.

Though Bill Moseley’s Otis is chillingly effective (think Chop Top minus the comedy) and Mrs. Zombie’s Baby would give Harley Quinn a weak stomach, the outstanding performance here has always been Haig’s Captain Spaulding. An introduction to one of the most iconic clowns in horror, who held down the fort between Pennywise’s dueling iterations. He’d only cement his clown shoes’ place in the genre further with the sequel, but that’s a tale for another time…

Moral of the Story: How many times does it need to be said? DO. NOT. PICK. UP. HITCHHIKERS!

Final Judgment:

Three Captain Spauldings out-of-Five

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All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

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