House of 1000 Corpses

Between not being a big fan of Rob Zombie's music and seeing this film bounce between studios for 2 or 3 years (it was completed in 2000), I had expected a film that was being released for its notoriety and really belonged straight-to-video. What I got instead, however, was a film that (while not great) blended together influences of many great horror movies (as one would have expected given Zombie's oeuvre) while taking some pretty original chances. Zombie took the traditional horror-suspense plot of 4 teenagers getting lost, breaking down, and getting into some heavy shit, and mutated the idea enough to make it feel fresh. What really surprised me is that I expected a real gorefest, but the film was more of a psychological scare film than a grossout. Through the use of some original composition and editing, the fantastic use of lighting, and the use of several film stocks and video, Zombie created a very tense, off-putting atmosphere. Sometimes, however, Zombie's attempts at using Natural Born Killers/Come to Daddy-esque fast cutting as character exposition 'cheats' seems a bit forced. The movie's homage to films such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the work of Dario Argento is sometimes painfully obvious and almost gives off a 'he is just ripping them off' smell. Giving the film a fair chance by forcing away cynical intuitions, the results can actually be something refreshing original, and possibly even disturbing.