Metal vocalist's impressive horror debut

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Overall rating:

Score 3


House Of 1000 Corpses


From Sabbath to Slayer, metallers have always loved horror, but Rob Zombie takes the obsession further than most. Having named his band White Zombie after a 1932 Bela Lugosi flick, he’s moved into directing with a film that’s part Texas Chainsaw Massacre, part From Dusk Till Dawn and part B-movie medley. The surprise is, it’s very nearly a classic. Nearly, but not quite.

Four teens stop at a roadside funfair where the creepy owner tells them about a mythical serial killer. They go looking (at night, in a storm) for the site of the killer’s grave, but break down and fall hostage to a family of sadistic rednecks. What starts off cool changes tone every 20 minutes, becoming first camp, then scary, then insanely OTT as Zombie throws killer clowns, burlesque, circus freaks, vivisection and (perhaps inevitably) zombies into the increasingly mind-boggling mix. Blending different horror genres like this is surprisingly effective, and there are flashes of real genius, but it finally falls apart in a tangle of unresolved arcs and last-minute subplots. Not bad for a metaller, though. Roll on AC/DC’s opera.