The title might be literal. “House of 1000 Corpses” begins in the traditional fashion as four young people brave a stormy night to follow a legend about a Doctor Satan, "who has done many strange things." They end up lost in the woods and stumble across an old mansion, a weird lady (Karen Black) and her even weirder family. Over the course of the film, many funny, gory and silly--but not particularly horrifying--events occur.
To be fair, Zombie's homage is both sincere and well informed. Characters quote liberally from '70s horror classics, and, occasionally, he is able to generate moments of suspense and terror akin to what some of his icons achieved. There's one moment in which a gun is trained on a potential victim's head from a distance. He times this perfectly, stretching the moment to its breaking point...then paying it off. To be even more fair, the truncated and difficult to follow narrative of "House of 1000 Corpses" may be the result of cuts forced by the NC-17 rating the film was originally given, causing it to be dumped by its first distributor. In any case, one has to appreciate Zombie's passion for the genre, if nothing else. Starring Sid Haig, Karen Black, Bill Moseley and Michael J. Pollard. Directed and written by Rob Zombie. Produced by Andy Gould. A Lions Gate release. Horror. Rated R for strong sadistic violence/gore, sexuality and language. Running time: 88 min