House of 1000 Corpses

House of 1000 Corpses ★★½

In Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the scenes around the dinner table with Sally tied to a chair and the manic family endlessly taunting her…(gulp) are terrifying!. What always bothers me about those scenes is their confused behaviour. If you look at the Father, he goes from mocking, shouting - to suddenly being aware of the madness, quietening down and looking perturbed, even frightened by it all - then the switch flips and he’s back to cursing again. It freaks me out just bringing it to mind but those small moments of humanity bring those scenes to ungodly life.

Director Rob Zombie attempts to replicate that vibe of terror for the entire duration of House of 1000 Corpses, and though it isn’t completely without success, it just doesn’t have the patience to let those moments come alive. The camera cuts or flashes, colours change, fade or brighten. Scenes are constantly interrupted by directorial doodlings that Zombie mistakes for style. They take you right out of the moment. It’s horrible yes, but not really horrifying.

There are good things: Sid Haigs Captain Spaulding feels frighteningly real but is used too little, and the setting and sets are freakishly well designed.

I’m in no rush to watch sequel TheDevils Rejects but there was enough here in Corpses that I don't want to avoid the film completely.

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