House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

(In French, On DVD, November 2017) In-between 2007’s Halloween and House of 1000 Corpses, I’m zero-for-two when it comes to Rob Zombie films, and I’ve gathered enough to suggest that it’s not going to get any better. Given that Zombie both writes and directs, there’s no looking around for the films’ real creative force: it’s all his. Alas, the grimy trash aesthetics may work fine on rock music, but they’re nothing particularly compelling as movies. Once you’ve seen one crazy hellbilly family, you’ve seen more than enough, and House of 1000 Corpses doesn’t really distinguish itself from scores of just-as-awful other horror movies. Zombie’s predilection for non-sequitur inserts may be colourful, but it’s just another element in a self-insisting goulash of horror clichés that don’t accumulate as much as they overflow messily. I found it remarkably easy to dismiss House of 1000 Corpses, not as a horror movie or a gruesome comedy, but simply as a furious ball of nonsense meaning nothing. The relentless assault on sensibilities is more exasperating than unnerving, and it doesn’t help that the film doesn’t have a drop of innovation in it: all the way to the final kill, it’s just more of the same, executed in a jumble. There are a few known actors in minor roles (including Walton Goggins and Rainn Wilson) but nothing worth a look for any viewer who doesn’t already identify as a gore-hound.

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