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House Of 1000 Corpses

House of 1000 Corpses is a 2003 American black comedy horror film[4][5] written, co-scored, and directed by Rob Zombie in his directorial debut, and the first film in the Firefly film series. It stars Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon, Karen Black, Rainn Wilson, Chris Hardwick, Tom Towles, Erin Daniels, Jennifer Jostyn, Walton Goggins, and Dennis Fimple in his final role. The plot centers on a group of teenagers who are kidnapped and tortured by a psychotic family during Halloween after traveling across the country to write a book.

House Of 1000 Corpses

Inspired by 1970s horror films such as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and The Hills Have Eyes (1977),[6] Zombie conceived the film while designing a haunted-house attraction for Universal Studios Hollywood, where filming took place in 2000 on the backlots and Valencia, California. When the studio shelved the film fearing that it would receive an NC-17 rating,[7] Zombie re-acquired the rights. They were eventually sold to Lions Gate Entertainment, who released the film in April 2003. Despite receiving an unfavorable response from critics, it went on to gross $16 million worldwide. Since its release, the film has achieved a cult following, was developed into a haunted-house attraction by Zombie for Universal Studios, and was followed by two sequels, The Devil's Rejects (2005) and 3 from Hell (2019).

On October 30, 1977, amateur criminals Killer Karl and Richard Wick attempt an armed robbery at a gas station/horror museum, but are killed by the owner, Captain Spaulding, and his assistant, Ravelli. Later that night, Jerry Goldsmith, Bill Hudley, Mary Knowles, and Denise Willis are on the road in hopes of writing a book on offbeat roadside attractions. When the four meet Spaulding, who is also the owner of "The Museum of Monsters & Madmen", they learn of the local legend of Dr. Satan. As they take off in search of the tree from which Dr. Satan was hanged, they pick up a young free-spirited hitchhiker named Baby, who claims to live only a few miles away. Shortly after, a mysterious figure appears hidden in some overgrowth and shoots out their vehicle's tire with a shotgun. The group thinks it is just a blown out tire and so Baby takes Bill to her family's house to get a tow truck. Moments later, Baby's half-brother, Rufus, picks up the stranded passengers and takes them to the family home.

There, they meet Baby's family: her adopted brother Otis Driftwood, her deformed giant half-brother Tiny, Mother Firefly, and Grandpa Hugo. While being treated to dinner, Mother Firefly explains that her ex-husband, Earl, had previously tried to burn Tiny alive, along with the Firefly house after he suffered a psychotic breakdown. After dinner, the family puts on a Halloween show for their guests and Baby offends Mary by flirting with Bill. After Mary threatens Baby, Rufus tells them their car is repaired. As the couples leave, Otis and Tiny, disguised as scarecrows, attack them in the driveway and take them captive. The next day, Otis kills Bill and mutilates his body for art. Mary is tied up in a room and tormented by Otis, Denise is tied to a bed dressed up as a doll for Halloween, and Jerry is partially scalped for failing to guess Baby's favorite movie star.

When Denise doesn't come home, her father Don calls the police to report her missing. Two deputies, George Wydell and Steve Naish, find the couples' abandoned car in a field with a dead, mutilated cheerleader in the trunk (one of five cheerleaders who went missing over a week ago, as explained in a news broadcast; an earlier scene established that the cheerleaders were being tortured, raped and killed by the Firefly family). Don, a former policeman, is called to the scene to help the deputies search. They arrive at the Firefly house and Wydell questions Mother Firefly about the missing teens. Mother Firefly shoots Wydell in the head and kills him; Don and Steve are then killed by Otis when they find more bodies of missing cheerleaders in the barn, along with a barely conscious Mary.

Meanwhile, Jerry and Denise are placed in a coffin and lowered into a well, where a group of Dr. Satan's failed experiments break open the coffin and pull Jerry away, leaving Denise to find her way through an underground lair. As she wanders through tunnels filled with mutilated corpses, she encounters Dr. Satan and a number of mental patients; Jerry is on Dr. Satan's operating table being vivisected, and dies as Denise screams. Dr. Satan orders his mutated gargantuan assistant, who turns out to be Mother Firefly's ex-husband Earl, to capture Denise, but Denise outwits him and escapes by crawling to the surface as Earl is crushed by falling debris in the collapsing tunnel.

Rob Zombie rose to fame as a member of the band White Zombie before beginning a solo career.[8] Zombie's debut album, Hellbilly Deluxe (1998), was influenced by classic horror films, as were its music videos for "Living Dead Girl" (1999) and "Superbeast" (1999).[9][10][11] The album was a commercial success, selling over three million copies in the United States.[12] Prior to working on House of 1000 Corpses, Zombie had worked on animation for Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996), directed music videos, and unsuccessfully attempted to write a script for The Crow: Salvation.[13] In 1999, Zombie designed a haunted maze attraction at Universal Studios that was instrumental in reviving the studio's annual Halloween Horror Nights and for which Bill Moseley presented Zombie an award.[7] The studio later began working on an animated Frankenstein film which Zombie hoped to be a part of, though plans for the film were ultimately scrapped by the studio.[14]

The idea for House of 1000 Corpses came to Zombie while designing a haunted house attraction with that title for the studio,[14] and Universal responded positively to his pitch.[14] Zombie later stated "I was in the office of the head of production or something and he asked me if I had any movie ideas and I pitched him Corpses, which was very rough at the time, because I wasn't ready and I made it up on the spot. He liked it, I went home, wrote a 12-page treatment and met up with them. Two months later, we were shooting."[15] Production on the film began in May 2000[7] and was finished by Halloween of 2000.[14] The house was launched the following year, although the title was changed to "American Nightmare" due to the film's shelving.[14] Despite the name change, the house still featured numerous references to the film, and the theatrical trailer played while customers waited.[14]

Jake McKinnon could not see well when dressed as The Professor, and almost hit actress Erin Daniels with a real ax during the film's climax. Zombie later said he had simply hoped Daniels would move out of the way in time. When Denise calls her father from a telephone booth, a sign for a missing dog head can be seen hanging in the booth; this was in fact a real item found by Zombie and used for the film. In the early stages of the film, Grandpa Hugo was to have been revealed as the murderous Dr. Satan, who at the time was simply referred to as the mad doctor. The legend of the mad doctor was to be a ploy by the Firefly family to lure victims in, though this idea was later scrapped. This led to Grandpa Hugo receiving much less screen time. The character of Dr. Satan was inspired by a 1950s billboard-sized poster advertising a "live spook show starring a magician called Dr. Satan" that Zombie has in his house.[20]

The film's main cast consisted of the murderous Firefly family, the four teenagers and various police officers attempting to find the group, among others.[21] Sid Haig was cast as Captain Spaulding, a man who dresses as a clown and owns a gas station and museum of curiosities.[21] Haig claimed he had to "get in touch with [his] own insanity" for the role.[22] His relation to the Firefly family is not revealed in the film, though he is working with them to some extent; however, the sequel establishes that he is the father of Baby. Bill Moseley starred as Otis B. Driftwood, who was adopted into the Firefly family. Sheri Moon Zombie portrayed Baby Firefly, who became known for her high pitched laugh and sexual nature.[17] Karen Black was cast as Mother Firefly, the protective mother to the family.[23] Matthew McGrory portrayed Tiny Firefly, a tall man who was left deformed after a house fire started by his father.[24] Robert Allen Mukes portrayed Rufus "RJ" Firefly. Jr. Dennis Fimple was selected to play Grampa Hugo Firefly. He died following filming, and the finished product was dedicated to him.[21]

The names of members of the Firefly family were taken from the names of Groucho Marx characters. Captain Spaulding was a character in Animal Crackers (1930), Otis B. Driftwood was a character in A Night at the Opera (1935), Rufus T. Firefly was taken from Duck Soup (1933), and lastly Hugo Z. Hackenbush derived from A Day at the Races (1937). Despite only allusions to this being made in House of 1000 Corpses, it is more prevalent in the film's sequel, with the names becoming integral to the plot.[25] Zombie acknowledged that viewers were meant to "root for" the Firefly family as opposed to the group of teens, though claims it wasn't intentional: "Yeah, I wanted the audience to cheer 'em. I didn't consciously think of it at the time, because I was trying to make Bill and Jerry likeable. But it's like when you saw Beetlejuice and you could tell all Tim Burton cared about was Beetlejuice."[17]

Erin Daniels portrayed Denise Willis. Chris Hardwick was cast as Jerry Goldsmith, a young man who was seen as "hyper" and "wise-cracking".[25] The character Bill Hudley was portrayed by Rainn Wilson. House of 1000 Corpses served as one of Wilson's first films, though he found mainstream success following the film's release.[26] Mary Knowles, Bill's girlfriend, was played by Jennifer Jostyn. Mary was seen as the most confrontational of the group, often clashing with Baby due to her flirtatious relationship with Bill. Harrison Young was selected to play Don Willis, the father of Denise who later goes looking for her and her group of friends. Tom Towles and Walton Goggins portrayed Lieutenant George Wydell and Deputy Steve Naish, respectively; the pair work with Don to find the missing group.[21] 041b061a72


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