Horror Movie Review: House Of 1000 Corpses (2003)


Two teenage couples traveling across the backwoods of Texas searching for urban legends of murder end up as prisoners of a bizarre and sadistic backwater family of serial killers.

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“It’s all true. The bogeyman is real and you found him.”

House of 1000 Corpses begins with the tale of four youths: nerdy Bill Hudley, his hyper and wise-cracking friend, Jerry Goldsmith, Bill’s snotty girlfriend, Mary Knowles, and Jerry’s level-headed girlfriend, Denise Willis. On the night before Halloween of 1977, the four of them are driving in the middle of nowhere to Denise’s house in a town called Ruggsville. Running out of gas, the group stops at Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and Madmen, an unusual establishment that serves as a gas station, museum of oddities, haunted house attraction, and chicken wing fry.

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After riding his “famous” murder ride, a cheap dark-ride full of monster props and serial killer exhibits, Jerry becomes infatuated with the local legend of a surgeon known as Doctor Satan for his cruel treatment of mental patients. Obsessed with finding the tree where a mob allegedly lynched the mass murderer, Jerry begs Spaulding for hand-drawn directions and coerces the group to drive out in search of it in an oncoming storm after Denise rang and told her dad they will be late.

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On the way, much to the women’s reluctance, the foursome pick up a beautiful, but eccentric hitchhiker who later calls herself Baby and claims she lives not far from the tree. She offers to lend shelter to the four when their tire flattens under mysterious circumstances.

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Inside the isolated farmhouse, the couples meet Baby’s equally eccentric family who all love halloween consisting of Otis Driftwood, a Charles Manson-esque sadist with a God complex, Mother Firefly, a flirtatious old hag who dresses in burlesque outfits, Rufus Jr., a hulking brute in bearskin who has a knack for repairing things, Tiny, a silent and deformed giant with a nonviolent nature, and Grandpa Hugo, a crude and dirty old man of banal aesthetic. The youngsters insists that they get to a phone to call for help but Mother Firefly claims to not have one and takes slight offense that the teenagers aren’t into the halloween spirit, telling them that will change during their stay.

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After an uncomfortable dinner involving having to wear halloween masks, the Firefly family tries to entertain the four bewildered guests, Baby flirting with Bill that causes Mary to lose her temper to the point where they are all told to leave but it was only a trick to lure them into a trap out in the storm.

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Otis beats down Bill while he was opening the gate and Tiny manhandles Jerry who tried to help his friend as Denise and Mary look on helplessly. With nothing they could do, the two horrified women lock themselves in the fixed car hoping the attackers can’t get to them, however Tiny would smash his way through a window and drag a terrified Denise out of the car and back into the house while Mary screams in horror as Otis bashes in the windshield.

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Bill would be killed and bisected by Otis while Baby watched in amusement, Mary is bound to a chair and forced to gaze at the results in horror before being abused by Otis, Denise would be humilated by being dressed up as a doll for halloween and tied to a bed for Tiny and Baby would torture a tied up Jerry by scalping him.

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It soon becomes apparent to the youths that the family intends to use them for a series of grisly Halloween rituals later and while the Ruggsville police and Denise’s father, who is an ex cop, begin a vain search attempt, the couples learn more about the legend of Doctor Satan than they would have ever cared to know.

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My favourite part of the entire film has the be the last 20 minutes or so. It’s just brilliant – it goes from being a family of redneck’s murdering for fun to something entirely different. I love everything about it, from the whole ritual to seeing Dr. Satan at work.

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I can’t understand why people didn’t love this film, I’ve read online that some people just didn’t “get” it. But, I can’t see why. If you en joy horror, then I think it’s a great movie. It has everything – suspense, gore, even some humour!
My favourite character has to be Otis Driftwood, not only is he the most interesting and quotable character but he’s kinda cute in a murder-y, Charles manson-y sort of way…

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For it’s great storyline, awesome make-up & Baby’s crazy laugh!

They shouldn’t have killed Jerry, he seemed to fit in when they weren’t torturing him.

Do you disagree? Think House Of 1000 Corpses was a god-awful movie? I’d love to know why in the comments 🙂

House Of 1000 Corpses
  • 8.5/10
    The Final Score - 8.5/10
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