- "Howdy Folks! You like blood? Violence? Freaks of nature? Well then, come on down to Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen. See the Alligator Boy, ride my famous Murder Ride. Most of all, don't forget to take home some of my tasty fried chicken!"
- ―Captain Spaulding
|House of 1000 Corpses|
|Title:||House of 1000 Corpses|
|Directed by:||Rob Zombie|
|Written by:||Rob Zombie|
|Produced by:||Andy Gould|
|Music by:||Rob Zombie|
|Edited by:||Kathryn Himoff|
Robert K. Lambert
Sean K. Lambert
|Distributed by:||Lions Gate Entertainment|
Spectacle Entertainment Group
|Released:||April 11th, 2003|
|Running time:||88 min.|
|Next:||The Devil's Rejects|
House of 1000 Corpses is an independent American horror film written and directed by Rob Zombie. Zombie is more widely known as the front man for the 90s heavy metal band White Zombie, and has also had a successful solo career following the break-up of White Zombie. House of 1000 Corpses is a homage to the grittier exploitation films of the 1970s, in particular, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes.
Plot[edit | edit source]
Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters[edit | edit source]
It is October 30th, 1977, a day before Halloween. Two masked robbers named "Killer" Karl and Richard Wick burst into Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen in the town of Ruggsville. Pointing a gun into the face of the proprietor, Captain Spaulding, they demand all of the money in the register. Spaulding is an older man, with clown makeup and he is not intimidated in the slightest by the two gunmen. Both sides exchange heated words, but ultimately Spaulding produces his own firearm, and shoots both men dead.
Meanwhile, four teenagers drive into the town of Ruggsville on a cross-country expedition to visit and document little-known roadside attractions. The crew consists of the bespectacled Bill Hudley, driving the vehicle, his friend Jerry Goldsmith and their girlfriends, Denise Willis and Mary Knowles.
They arrive at Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters, but by this point, Spaulding has long since cleared away the dead bodies. Bill begins asking him about the museum, but Spaulding makes him feel uncomfortable, wondering why he is asking so many questions. He then invites them all to partake in the museum's "Murder Ride", an underground trip through a mine shaft that showcases local urban legends and famous serial killers. During the ride, Spaulding points out displays highlighting infamous murderers such as Albert Fish, Ed Gein and Doctor Satan. By the time the ride is over, Mary and Denise have had more than enough and want to leave. Bill agrees with them, but Jerry is still attracted to the grisliness of the spectacle and begs Spaulding to give directions where Doctor Satan was alledgly hung.
Baby[edit | edit source]
They drive down the road a bit until they come upon a hitchhiker named Baby. It is raining severely by this point and they offer Baby a ride to her place, Mary and Denise being suitably uncomfortable with this arrangement. While driving, somebody shoots out the car tire and the vehicle goes skidding off the road. Baby tells the group that her brother has a tow truck and will be willing to help them. Leaving the others waiting in the car, Baby and Bill walk in the rain to Baby’s home in the town of Deadwood.
Baby sends her brother Rufus "R.J" Firefly out with his tow truck to pick up the others. This gives her plenty of time to warm up to Bill, who is already in a great deal of comfort. By the time Rufus returns with the others, the rest of the Firefly family, who are obsessed with halloween makes an appearance. Mother Firefly insists that they should stay for dinner until their car is repaired. She introduces them to the cantankerous Grandpa Hugo, the psychotic Otis and Tiny, a veritable giant who wears a mask to cover up the severe burns across his face. During dinner, Mother Firefly makes everyone wear a mask.
After the disconcerting meal, Grandpa Hugo invites everyone to sit down for "Showtime", an impromptu theater display in which Baby begins performing a vaudeville act. Mary notices Baby's persistent flirting with Bill and calls her out. The two begin arguing, but the typically timid Baby proves that she is just as violent and fiery as the rest of her family. Bill and Jerry prevent the two women from coming to blows and the teens decide that they have overstayed their welcome.
They begin driving away, but as they prepare to leave the town of Deadwood, they pass a cemetery with strange scarecrow figures propped up on crosses. The scarecrows leap down from the crosses, revealing themselves to be Otis, Rufus and Tiny. Bill gets out of the car to open a gate to leave, but Otis strikes him down. Jerry is the next to get bashed after he rushes over to help his friend. Tiny pulls Denise out of the car and drags her away while Otis stands upon the hood of the car shrieking to the heavens as Mary cries out in horror.
October 31st, 1977[edit | edit source]
Donald Willis calls the sheriff's department of Ruggsville, inquiring about the disappearance of his daughter, Denise. Sheriff Huston tells him that he will send some men out to investigate her last known whereabouts.
Meanwhile, Otis has Mary bound to a chair in the Firefly home. She is terrified and Otis warns her not to start screaming. He pulls the gag down from her mouth, and Mary asks him about Bill. With pride, Otis declares how impressed he was with Bill and draws back a curtain revealing Bill's mutilated corpse, which has been sewn together with fake appendages to make him appear as a carnival act named Fish Boy. Mary begins screaming in terror.
Back in Ruggsville, Lt. George Wydell and deputy Steve Naish investigate the disappearance of Denise Willis. They stop at Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and question Spaulding to see if he has seen anything. Spaulding doesn't remember much, but he gives Wydell the same directions that he gave to the kids when they passed through his establishment.
At the Firefly place, Denise has been dressed up as a doll for halloween and awakens tied to a bed. Tiny comes in to feed her, but she refuses to eat, so he begins noisily shoving the food into his own mouth. She begs him to let her go and Tiny complies instead of taking advantage of her. As she goes to leave however, Otis grabs her and locks her inside of a cage.
In another part of the house, Baby begins interrogating Jerry who is tied to a chair. She asks him who her favorite movie star is and when Jerry provides the wrong answer, she begins cackling like a little girl then starts to scalp him.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Huston, Wydell and Naish find the teenagers' car. They pop open the trunk and find the body of a dead naked woman named Karen Murphy. The words "Treat or Trick" are carved into her skin. Donald Willis pulls up to the scene and discusses the search for his missing daughter. They invite Donald to accompany them as they head towards a farmhouse up the road.
They soon approach the Firefly residence. Mother Firefly runs upstairs and tells Otis that there are cops coming up on the property. Otis hands her a gun and tells her to get ready. She answers the front door and greets officer Wydell. Naish and Willis meanwhile are searching around on another part of the property. They hear whimpering coming from a barn and Naish opens the doors, revealing several kidnapped teenage girls being held prisoner. Naish calls Wydell, but before he can answer his walkie talkie, Mother Firefly shoots him in the head. Out back, Naish and Willis turn to run away from the horror, but Otis appears and guns them down.
Run, Rabbit, Run[edit | edit source]
As day turns to night, the Fireflys prepare to have some real fun. While Baby and Rufus pick up some beer, Otis skins Donald Willis and makes a mask and breastplate out of his treated flesh. Mother and Baby take Mary, Denise and the partially scalped Jerry and dress them up in adult-sized rabbit costumes. Otis begins tormenting Denise shouting, "Who's yer daddy?" over and over again.
Afterward, they bring their three prisoners out into the middle of an old graveyard. Rufus throws Jerry into a grave and Mary decides to make a break for it. Baby takes off after and eventually catches up to the terrified Mary. Wrestling her to the ground, Baby stabs her repeatedly until she is dead. She then licks the blood off her blade.
Meanwhile, Otis throws Denise into the coffin with Jerry and they lower it by crank into the depths of an old mine shaft. Otis then lowers a tape recorder playing audio tracks of early 20th century magus, Aleister Crowley. With Denise and Jerry out of the way, Otis and the others don makeup and ceremonial attire and burn Mary's body on a pyre.
Underground, a horde of mutated freaks attack the coffin and pull Jerry and Denise out of it. Apparently, these people are other "survivors" whom the Fireflys have cast into the mines over the years. The two are forced apart from one another and Denise begins scrambling through the tunnels. As she continues on her way, she encounters several more freaks and oddities. She runs into a larger corridor that leads into a macabre chamber dressed like a doctor's office. In the waiting room are several "patients" waiting to see their physician... the legendary Doctor Satan. Entering the operating room, Denise finds Doctor Satan wearing a bizarre face mask. His body attached to a metal ribcage suspended from the ceiling and he is performing brain surgery on Jerry. Attending him is another monstrous aberration known as Earl, the Professor. The Professor wears a respirator mask with special night vision goggles and can see Denise everywhere she turns. he chases after her swinging an ax. He manages to corner her and swings his ax again, but this time, he hits a support beam, knocking it loose and starting a cave-in.
Denise finally finds a way to crawl to the surface. She drags herself up through the dirt and it is now early morning. She begins walking listlessly across the field to a highway. Captain Spaulding picks her up and drives away. Unfortunately for Denise, Otis is sitting in the back seat. When next Denise regains her senses, she is back in the operating room of Doctor Satan.
Cast[edit | edit source]
Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]
- First film directed by Rob Zombie.
- House of 1000 Corpses was originally going to be released by Universal Pictures in 2000, but they refused to distribute the film due to its content and its NC-17 rating. The film languished without a distributor for nearly three years until 2003 when it was picked up by Lions Gate Entertainment.
- Many of the characters featured in this film are named after characters portrayed by comedian Groucho Marx during the 1930s. One character, Ravelli, is named after Emanuel Ravelli, played by Chico Marx in Animal Crackers. Baby Firefly's real name, Vera-Ellen (as revealed in The Devil's Rejects), may also have a Marx Brothers connection, as actress Vera-Ellen portrayed character Maggie Phillips in the 1949 film Love Happy. 
- Firefly - This family name is derived from the 1933 film Duck Soup.
- Captain Spaulding - Taken from Captain Jeffrey T. Spaulding in 1930's Animal Crackers
- Grandpa Hugo - Taken from Hugo Z. Hackebush in 1937's A Day at the Races.
- Otis - Taken from Otis B. Driftwood in 1935's A Night at the Opera.
- Rufus Firefly, Jr. - Taken from Rufus T. Firefly in Duck Soup.
- Ironically, Groucho Marx died in 1977, the same year in which this film takes place.
- Credits include a dedication to Dennis Fimple who passed away in on August 23rd, 2002. Dennis played the role of Grandpa Hugo. This was Fimple's last film performance.
- The DVD menu options for House of 1000 Corpses are hosted by characters from the film. The main menu is accessed by ringing the bell on the desk at Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen. Spaulding greets the viewer and prompts them to the selections on the menu. Scene Selections showcases Otis standing in the cemetery. He guides the viewer by telling them about his favorite scene and also reveals a few choice anecdotes. Special Features is hosted by Baby Firefly who is standing outside Red Hot Pussy Liquors. She adamantly yells at the viewer to "Pick a feature!"
- Actor Matthew McGrory (Tiny) passed away on August 9th, 2005 at the age of 32. A dedication to McGrory was provided on the opening credits for The Devil's Rejects, which opened one month prior to his death.
- Two of the characters featured in Captain Spaulding's "Murder Ride" are real-life serial killers Albert Fish and Ed Gein. Both men were known cannibals and proved to be the inspiration for several cinematic villains including Norman Bates and Leatherface.
- Sid Haig won the Best Supporting Actor nomination at the 2004 Chainsaw Awards for the role of Captain Spaulding.
- Wayne Toth and Michael O'Brien won the International Fantasy Film Award for best special effects in 2004.
- Was nominated for the 2003 Teen Choice Award for best Horror/Thriller film.
- Writer and director Rob Zombie makes a cameo appearance as Doctor Wolfenstein's assistant in the beginning of the film.
- The character of Dr. Satan is re-imagined in Zombie's 2009 animated film The Haunted World of El Superbeasto.
- Sid Haig and Bill Moseley make cameo appearances as Captain Spaulding and Otis B. Driftwood in The Haunted World of El Superbeasto.
- Otis' line of "Run, rabbit, run!" is also the name of song by Rob Zombie and featured on the House of 1000 Corpses soundtrack.
- Baby's favorite movie star is Bette Davis.
- The Professor's first name, Earl, was revealed by Mother Firefly. It is also mentioned by Rob Zombie on the House of 1000 Corpses DVD director's commentary.
- In one scene, Grandpa Hugo and Otis are watching the "Hot Rod Herman" episode of The Munsters. This episode featured a racing car called the "Drag-u-la", which was later used as the title of the famous Rob Zombie song "Dragula".
- The book that Jerry Goldsmith is reading in the beginning of the film is Helter Skelter, which is a true-crime novel written by Vince Bugliosi and chronicles the infamous Charles Manson cult murders of 1969.
Characters[edit | edit source]
In alphabetical order
- Baby Firefly
- Fun-loving and carefree, Baby Firefly has a dangerous side to her. When her attempts to seduce Bill Hudley fail, she ultimately gains revenge by brutally murdering Bill’s girlfriend, Mary Knowles.
- Bill Hudley
- One of the four primary victims of the Firefly clan. Bill is murdered and dismembered by Otis who transforms his body into a carnival-style attraction he called Fish Boy.
- Captain Spaulding
- Perpetually dressed in clown makeup and attire, Captain Spaulding is the proprietor of Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen. He gives directions to Bill, Mary, Jerry and Denise that sends them straight into the hands of his associates in the Firefly family.
- Denise Willis
- One of the four primary victims of the Firefly clan. Denise lasts the longest of all four and even survives Doctor Satan's underground dungeon. Ultimately however, she is recaptured by Otis and Captain Spaulding.
- Doctor Satan
- Doctor Satan is a malformed psychopathic surgeon who lives in an underground operating room near the town of Ruggsville. Attending him is the malformed mutant known as the Professor. Doctor Satan performs exploratory brain surgery on Jerry Goldsmith, resulting in the boy's death.
- Doctor Wolfenstein
- Doctor Wolfenstein is the host of a horror film program.
- Donald Willis
- Donald Willis is the father of Denise Willis and comes out to the Firefly residence in search of her. He is shot in the back by Otis who later skins him and wears his face, chest and shoulders as a costume.
- Earl, the Professor
- Earl is an ax-wielding mutant who wears night vision goggles and a special respirator. He is the assistant of Doctor Satan and attempts to murder Denise Willis. The Professor swings at Denise with his ax, striking a support beam which causes the tunnel they are in to collapse. The Professor appears to have survived the incident however.
- Frank Huston
- Frank Huston is a town sheriff and assists Donald Willis in the search for his missing daughter, Denise. Fortunately for Huston, he is not present during the raid on the Firefly home and thus survives the grisly massacre.
- George Wydell
- George Wydell is a police officer investigating a string of missing persons reports that ultimately brought him to the Firefly farmhouse. He begins questioning Mother Firefly who subsequently shoots him in the head with a pistol at her kitchen table.
- Gerry Ober
- Also known as "Goober", Gerry Ober is a clerk at Red Hot Pussy Liquors. He sells $185 dollars worth of beer to Baby and Rufus T. Firefly. Only person not to die in the movie. Baby and Rufus T. Firefly let him live.
- Grandpa Hugo
- Grandpa Hugo is the eldest member of the Firefly household. A cantankerous old man, he is known for making profane statements and giving people the middle finger.
- Jackie Cobb
- Jackie Cobb was a mentally retarded man that used to hang out at Molly's fruit stand. In addition to having a penchant for chronic masturbation, Jackie Cobb liked grossing people out by taking a sharpened pencil and sticking it in the corner of his eye and twisting it about. According to a man named Stucky, Jackie Cobb was once taken to the hospital because he shoved a Planet of the Apes doll up his ass.
- Jerry Goldsmith
- One of the four primary victims of the Firefly clan. More than the others, Jerry loves traveling cross-country discovering obscure roadside attractions. He is captured by Tiny Firefly and then scalped by Baby. He survives this initial torture, but ultimately loses his life when he becomes a victim of Doctor Satan.
- Karen Murphy
- Karen Murphy is one of the many victims of the Firefly clan. She is murdered by Otis B. Driftwood and shoved inside the trunk of a car. When police discover her remains on Halloween day, they find the words "Treat or Trick" carved into her skin.
- Killer Karl
- Killer Karl is an inept robber who tries to hold up Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen. Spaulding's sidekick, Ravelli, bludgeons him across the back of the head with a sledgehammer and Spaulding finishes him off by shooting him point-blank in the face.
- Lewis Dover
- Lewis Dover is an outspoken doomsayer whose property is decorated with various signs written with religious dogma. Lewis declares to anyone who will listen that "This is Hell!".
- Mary Knowles
- One of the four primary victims of the Firefly clan. Mary is the girlfriend of Bill Hudley and comes to blows with Baby Firefly when the latter begins to exhibit affectionate interest in Bill. Mary is later captured by Otis who forces her to look at the remains of her boyfriend after he turns him into a sideshow "Fish Boy". Mary tries to escape from the Fireflys, but is hunted down and killed by Baby who stabs her to death repeatedly with a knife.
- Mother Firefly
- The matriarch of the Firefly clan, she enjoys celebrating Halloween and makes all of her family members and guests wear masks and costumes in her home. She is responsible for the murder of George Wydell and later attends an occult ritual where she bears witness to the murder and subsequent burning of Mary Knowles.
- Otis is the most depraved member of the Firefly family. He likes skinning his victims and turning them into sideshow attractions. Otis is responsible for the murders of Bill Hudley, Donald Willis and Steve Naish. He torments Denise Willis by wearing her father's skin as a Halloween costume. Otis also presides over a ritual wherein he sacrifices Denise and Jerry Goldsmith to the denizens of an underground mine shaft that runs beneath a cemetery.
- Ravelli is the sidekick to Captain Spaulding and can usually be found standing outside Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen. He uses a sledgehammer to fell a robber named "Killer" Karl, enabling Captain Spaulding the chance to finish him off. He also attends Spaulding's guests on his Murder Ride attraction.
- Richard Wick
- Richard Wick is an inept criminal and accomplice of Killer Karl. The two don masks and attempt to rob Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen. Wick wears an ape mask. Spaulding's friend, Stucky recognizes Richard shortly before Spaulding shoots him to death.
- Rufus Firefly, Jr.
- Rufus "R.J." Firefly, Jr. is the strongest (though not the largest) member of the Firefly clan. He is responsible for shooting out Bill Hudley's car tires, then towing Hudley and his three friends back to the Firefly house. Rufus attends the macabre graveyard ceremony where Denise Willis and Jerry Goldsmith are sealed inside a coffin and lowered into an underground tunnel.
- Skunk ape husband
- The skunk ape husband is an unidentified man who claims to have seen a legendary creature known as a skunk ape. Denise Willis has a surreal dream where she sees the husband and wife talking about the skunk ape.
- Skunk ape wife
- The skunk ape wife is an unidentified woman who claims to have seen a legendary creature known as a skunk ape. Denise Willis has a surreal dream where she sees the wife and husband talking about the skunk ape.
- Steve Naish
- Steve Naish is a county deputy who harbors a great fear of dogs due to a childhood incident. He accompanies George Wydell to the Firefly home to question the residents about the disappearance of several missing people. Naish finds a barn on the property containing several high school cheerleaders tied up and suspended from the ceiling. When Naish realizes that he is dealing with a family of serial killers, he tries to get away, but Otis shoots him in the head, killing him.
- Stucky is a friend of Captain Spaulding and a frequent guest of Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen. Stucky enjoyes collecting vintage photographs of nude starlets. He entertains Spaulding by telling him a tale about a friend who had a Doctor Zaius toy action figure stuck inside his buttocks.
- Standing at more than 7’6”, Tiny is by far the tallest member of the Firefly clan. Having been badly burned as a child, Tiny perpetually wears a mask to cover his features. More than the others, Tiny feels sympathy for the plight of the Fireflys' victims and even helps Denise Willis escape captivity. This freedom is short lived however as she is re-captured only moments later. Tiny enjoys sloppily eating cereal out of a dog dish.
Soundtrack[edit | edit source]
|2||House of 1000 Corpses||3:43|
|3||Saddle Up the Mule||:17|
|5||Stuck in the Mud||1:16|
|6||Holy Miss Moley||:16|
|7||Who's Gonna Mow Your Grass?||2:19|
|8||Run, Rabbit, Run||3:01|
|9||Into the Pit||1:21|
|10||Something for You Men||:20|
|11||I Wanna Be Loved by You||2:47|
|14||My Baby Boy||:14|
|15||Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue||1:34|
|16||Investigation and the Smokehouse||:35|
|17||Bigger the Cushion||2:26|
|18||I Remember You||2:03|
|19||Drive Out the Rabbit||:13|
|22||Ain't the Only Thing Tasty||:26|
|24||Brick House 2003||3:48|
|25||To the House||2:29|
Quotes[edit | edit source]
- Otis B. Driftwood: Our bodies come and go, but this blood... is forever.
- Otis B. Driftwood: People come, people go. But how many ever really stop to take a look at the underbelly of the beast?
- Otis B. Driftwood: I'm the one who brings the Christmas candy. Now tell me, who's your daddy? I'm the one who brings the Devil's brandy.
- Otis B. Driftwood: It's all true. The Boogeyman is real. And you found him.