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Blu-Ray Review: House of 1000 Corpses (Steelbook 20th Anniversary Edition)

House of 1000 Corpses

Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses celebrates its 20th Anniversary with a stacked Steelbook Blu-Ray Edition. 

The Film 

Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses two decades on is still the right kind of slap-to-the-face horror film that excited many.  It remains the strongest reminder (along with The Devil’s Rejects) that Zombie is as strong a filmmaker in horror as anyone.  

The plot, a group of friends is given wrong directions and hunted down by a group of murderous psychopaths, is one that has been used ad nauseum.  In writer/director Zombie’s hand it’s an exercise in dread and terror as much as it’s a loving homage to films like Carnival of Souls and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  House of a 1000 Corpses is more than a genre exercise in style but a showcase for how muscular a filmmaker that Zombie is.  

Part of the reason the film is elevated to truly delirious heights is because of the trio of stars that make up part of the Firefly family.  Sid Haig, Sheri Moon, and Bill Moseley understand the arched tone of the entire film and lean into it heavily.  There is a certain amount of glee in Haig’s performance as Captain Spaulding.  A relish and zeal in the disgusting in a very different way his co-stars feed off of.  Moseley’s work is equal to Haig’s but with the type of scary psychopathic tendencies that he would go further down the rabbit hole in the sequel.  Moon is the one that feels more ornamental in this film with Zombie fetishizing her here much more. 

Where House of 1000 Corpses soars in its final act where the grotesque and horror go into overdrive.  It’s here where Zombie finds his footing and set piece after set piece excels with the type of dread you’ve come to expect from the best of the director’s work.  

The Transfer

The transfer appears to be the older one from the prior Blu-Ray release.  That isn’t a bad thing.  The early-gen transfer was a winner back in 2007 and that still applies here.  The color reproduction here is wonderful on this sharp handsome image. 

The Extras

They include the following;

Blu-ray Disc 1

  • Director Commentary
  • Making-of Featurette
  • Casting Footage
  • Rehearsal Footage
  • Cast and Crew Interviews
  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Disc 2

  • Cast & Director Interviews
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Teaser Trailer

The archival director commentary with Rob Zombie begins with his cameo that never way as Dr. Wolfenstien.  Some of the details include working with Michael J Pollard; how Universal requested him to refilm everything; how he directed and edited the opening title sequence himself; the various scenes and where they shot on location and on sets; the various roles that Bill Mosley plays in the film; working with Karen Black; the entire cast wearing wigs and the trouble with wigs in general; working with his wife Sheri Moon-Zombie; the use of split screens in the film; shooting in the rain and the production woes that this caused; his use of two cinematographers and why this happened; the various issues that came with the Make-FX work during the production; pulling some of the rants that from Zombie pulled from his past; the various fixes and work he did with the film to get away from some of the “cheaper” looking sets; a great story about location scouting; and much more.  Zombie give a low-key but informative commentary track with lots of production anecdotes for a very troubled production, which he admits himself during the track.

HOTC ZOMBIETORN – A small mobile game reminiscent of Snake or Pac-man where one must navigate zombies and the Fireflies as the sheriff to save the victims.  

Making-of Featurette (4:15) – an EPK-style making-of with lots of B-roll footage.  The style is very similar to the film.  Comments by Zombie, Rain Wilson, Karen Black, Sheri Moon-Zombie, and more.  

Behind-the-scenes footage (2:35) – B-roll footage of Zombie and Co. during one of the night shoots.  

Tiny F**ked a Stump (3:08) – a series of moments with the Fireflies (Haig, Moon-Zombie, and Moseley) all telling variations on the same punchline to a joke but with different jokes or setups. 

Casting Footage (2:07) – VHS taped footage from Dennis Fimple’s audition.

Rehearsal Footage – broken down into three sections.  The Rehearsal Footage appears to be more Casting footage.  Shot on VHS. 

  • Bill Moseley and Jennifer Jostyn (3:44) 
  • Rainn Wilson, Chris Hardwick, and Erin Daniels (2:15) 
  • Chris Hardwick and Erin Daniels (0:56) 

Cast and Crew Interviews – broken down into four individual interviews you can access through a submenu. All interviews are filmed in black and white and with the actors in character clothing. The only exception is of course Wayne Toth who was the Make-up FX supervisor.  

  • Bill Moseley (4:30) – the actor discusses playing his character Otis; working on the production; his favorite horror film; and much more. 
  • Sid Haig (5:43) – the actor discusses playing his character Captain Spaulding; people’s fear/hatred of clowns; working on the production; his favorite horror film; if he will be in the sequel – we already know this answer; and much more.  
  • Sheri Moon-Zombie (1:33) – her feelings on being an action figure; her favorite horror film; and more. 
  • Wayne Toth (3:33) – challenges with the Make-up FX work; the design work and changes; the lack of digital FX Work; and much more. 

Cast & Director Interviews (115:44) – The cast and crew interviews of disc two can be either viewed all at the same time or individual interviews.  These are the raw footage interviews with the actors and Rob Zombie.  Most of the interview is EPK-style quest and answers.  That being said… the fact that they let it play out with the raw footage unedited is the key here.  The reason this is mentioned is because we get some of the great unedited moments and interactions that are more human and interesting.  Things like Haig being as serious about his craft as humanly possible but in the Captain Spaulding makeup; Moseley being very very very tired as he’s being interviewed in the middle of what looks like an arduous night shoot; Wilson talking about personal anecdotes before he was a huge star; Irwin Keyes during his entire interview; Erin Daniels talking about wanting her costume and how the production wanted to charge her for it rather than gift it to her; and much more.  Fans of the Firefly Family films will find this an amazing treasure trove of great moments and anecdotes.  

  • Rob Zombie (4:27) 
  • Sid Haig (9:20)
  • Bill Moseley (10:33)
  • Sheri Moon (11:53)
  • Karen Black (11:10)
  • Robert Mukes (13:51)
  • Rainn Wilson (8:49)
  • Chris Hardwick (8:53)
  • Erin Daniels (13:02)
  • Irwin Keyes (7:04)
  • Jennifer Jostyn (6:17)
  • Wayne Toth (10:19) 

Behind the Scenes (99:27) – This is the gold mine here.  This section of disc two can be either viewed as one feature-length behind-the-scenes documentary or individually as various pieces.  

  • BTS1 (17:02) – Footage of the cast and crew filming the group leaving the Firefly’s house around midway through the film after Baby (Moon) has performed her burlesque show.
  • BTS2 (20:14) – More footage of the same scene but shooting the inserts of Baby (Moon) scaring the group in the car.  Also touring the production design for the Firefly’s home and the various disturbing nick-nacks around the home. 
  • BTS3 (8:22) – some great b-roll footage of the various make-up extras, behind the scenes of filming the fate of Jerry and Denise. 
  • BTS4 (21:44) – b-roll behind-the-scenes footage from the filming of the “Halls of Murder” sequence.  
  • BTS5 (22:37) – more b-roll behind-the-scenes footage from the escape from the Firefly’s house.
  • Dr. Satan Test (1:31) – a great raw, and very quick, look at the armature behind Dr. Satan. 
  • Professor Test (2:24) – another great but all-too-brief look at the character design.  This time it’s Professor Make-up appliance. 
  • Electronic Press Kit (4:21) – the EPK is similar to the behind-the-scenes footage included on Disc 1. 
  • Teaser Trailer (1:09) 

The Final Thought 

House of 1000 Corpses is still a great piece of wild early 2000s horror.  This anniversary edition gives some great added bonus extra features. Recommended. 

The Steelbook Blu-Ray edition of House of a 1000 Corpses is out now 

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