It takes a special talent to fail at two genres simultaneously but House Of 1000 Corpses manages to do just that. Cult fans of the movie will tell you that it is a tribute to splatter films of the seventies but that just doesn’t cut it. Others will tell you that real fans of horror love this movie and it is only the cinema snobs who don’t which is whistling past the graveyard from this reviewers perspective. House Of 1000 Corpses fails as both pornography (and yes there is definitely content which qualifies as pornographic) and it fails as horror. To be boring in one genre is perhaps forgivable but to be boring in two genres at the same time takes a special lack of talent.
The hints that things aren’t going to go so well for this movie are there in the very first few minutes. It’s not unusual for a certain class of horror movie to engage in blatant titillation with semi frontal and/or full frontal nudity but there is normally some effort to contextualize the exploitation rather than simply start the movie with grainy rip offs of peep show loops. If that were the only flaw in this seriously flawed movie it might be forgivable but it is only the start of a painful journey for the viewer.
House of 1000 Corpses starts promisingly enough with a wild and weird gas station crew putting the kibosh on an attempted robbery by slaying the would be robbers and moments later guiding two guileless couples through their museum of murder. The museum of murder tour is kind of interesting but after that House of 1000 Corpses becomes an exercise in self indulgent, first year film school direction aided by lackluster performances from B and C list actors and an overblown script.
For those who actually enjoy House of 1000 Corpses they will not be disappointed with the DVD version which includes colour commentary by Captain Spaulding, Otis Driftwood and Baby Firefly. For the rest of us it is an hour and a half of life which we will never be able to recover.