House of 1000 Corpses is a trashy, disturbing, and wild ride through the mind of director/rocker Rob Zombie. Hearkening back to the less glamorous days of horror, the film digs its roots deep in '70s exploitation and thinly-plotted '80s slasher flicks while wearing every influence on its sleeve for all to see. While the framework is familiar, it's Zombie's trademark style that sets this apart from its horror ancestors. Full of garish colors and manic editing, House tends to walk a little too close to the music-video line at many points -- but if you're able to look past those faults (many aren't), you may find yourself giving in to the carnival-like visuals and over-the-top performances littering the film. Bypassing the rule of overpopulating fright flicks with as many hot TV teens as the law allows, here horror-vets Sid Haig, Karen Black, and Bill Moseley reign supreme in Zombie's gaudy thrill-ride. Haig especially stands out as the crazed, clown-faced Captain Spaulding, who after a classic introduction, unfortunately becomes second-tier to the rest of this nasty tale...And nasty it is! While nowhere near the gore-fest that the immense hype billed it as, boosted by its bouts with the MPAA and long delay of release by being dropped by not just one, but two major studios, House of 1000 Corpses still manages to be a loud, fun, and grisly horror outing that, love it or hate it, is 100 percent Rob Zombie. Three years later, the director would come back with the sequel The Devil's Rejects, a vastly superior production that won over many who weren't satisfied with this initial outing.
by Jeremy Wheeler review