For this year’s 31 Days of Horror it feels like it’s time for some good old family fun. Or is that family horror. Either way this year’s focus is on families.
First up is Rob Zombie’s Firefly family House of 1000 Corpses.
A group of young folk (Erin Daniels, Chris Hardwick, Rainn Wilson and Jennifer Jostyn) are travelling across America looking for weird roadside attractions. It’s 1977 and Halloween is just around the corner. They come across Captain Spaulding’s (the late Sid Haig) “The Museum of Monsters & Madmen”. On the tour Captain Spaulding tells them about the legend of Dr. Satan and how he was hanged on tree just close by. This entices the group to go looking for the tree.
On their way they pick up a hitchhiker named Baby (Sheri Moon). Their car gets a flat and Baby takes them to her house where they meet the rest of her family. Her brother Otis Driftwood (Bill Moseley), Mother Firefly (Karen Black), Rufus (Robert Allen Mukes), Tiny (Matthew McGrory) and Grampa Hugo (Dennis Fimple). They have supper with the family and after Baby puts on a show. Mary gets mad at Baby and the group leaves only to find themselves being hunted down by the family.
Soon the concerned father of one of the girls calls the police and they go looking for the missing kids. They come upon the Firefly house and then things get real nasty.
Rob Zombie had originally conceived House of 1000 Corpses as a scare attraction for Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, the yearly scare house event that Universal has been putting on at their parks for the last 27 years. One of the Universal executives like Rob’s ideas and asked him to pitch them a movie. He quickly came up with House of 1000 Corpses and was the movie was green lit. Rob shot the movie in 2000 with the plan of having Universal release the movie in October along with a scare house. After a screening of the movie Universal, worried the movie would get an NC-17 shelved the film. Rob Zombie bought the movie from them and started looking for another studio to release it. Meanwhile Universal renamed the scare house American Nightmare but maintained a lot of the same elements from the movie along with playing the trailer at the scare house.
In 2002 MGM agreed to release the film until Rob Zombie insulted them by saying that the studio had no morals for releasing his depraved movie. Lion’s Gate then picked up the film, Rob edited a lot of gore out and they finally released the movie into theatres in 2003.
The final product is a kind of goofy over the top horror movie that borrows a lot from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Motel Hell and more than few other horror movies. Rob Zombie himself isn’t too happy with his first film but it would be nice if they ever released the original uncut version of the film. The movie did well enough that Lion’s Gate wanted a sequel. In one funny turn of fate, at this year’s Halloween Horror Nights Universal has a House of 1000 Corpses scare house.