House Of 1000 Corpses Blu-ray Review
PictureWithout a single trace of natural colour or visual realism, 1000 Corpses still benefits from a terrific 1080p/VC-1 transfer that cannot fail to impress. Colours are incredibly vivid, which is just as well, considering that the film depends on its lurid visuals to maintain that warped comic-book feel. The primaries are simply resplendent and there is never a trace of over-saturation or smearing. Hues are kept in atmospheric check throughout, whether bathed in intense red or shot through with blue. Costumes, décor, furnishings and landscapes all positively glow. It may not be in the least bit natural-looking, but the spectrum employed by 1000 Corpses literally has the film throbbing with insane life.
Although the print is in marvellous shape, there are still moments when grain becomes quite noticeable, mainly against some of the darker backgrounds - some shots down in the subterranean passageways, for example. But, for the most part, the image is amazingly clean and sharp. Close-ups are absolutely spot-on, with clinically detailed presentations of faces, eyes, hair and skin-pores ... yep, especially Sid Haig's leathery, grease-painted visage. Backgrounds are very distinct too, with only a couple of instances when they appear to soften - and even then, only marginally. Landscape shots and aerial views are very good, though there is a slight judder and pop during the rising shot that looks down upon the cop with a gun pressed to his head. A curious shot near the end when a certain character steps out into the road becomes especially striking. Whilst the background becomes a weirdly obscured mess the character, herself, remains completely crystal clear, leading to a shot that looks surprisingly vivid, almost as though she has just stepped in front of a huge painted canvas of ochre-tinted swirls. Three-dimensionality is certainly well-addressed with acute edge delineation (scarcely any enhancement at all) and a depth of field that definitely pushed further background information further away from the prominent subjects of the image.
A top transfer that should enthral the fans.
SoundLionsgate has consistently proved to be quite adventurous with its soundmixes. Pushing the boundaries with 7.1 channels of sound is a bit of an exaggeration in the case of House Of 1000 Corpses, though - even if I ultimately applaud the endeavour. Now, whilst I still cannot fully appreciate the quality of DTS-HD, the DTS Core that my system extracted was still very good indeed and certainly better than the DD EX 5.1 track that comes along for the ride as well. Both tracks offer a nice wide soundfield across the front, lots of ambience and surround, and dialogue that is always clear and discernable despite the music or the effects. The DTS allows itself more room to play with and comes across as punchier and more dynamic than the EX track, but I think you would be happy with either at the end of the day.
The bass levels are good and there are some great stingers that benefit from its depth, creating a far wilder jarring effect. Gunshots and splintering wood are dealt with pin-sharp clarity and nice directionality - an attack on the teens' car features solid impacts and thick crunches. Steerage is good and natural-sounding and the usual reference point of a torrential downpour passes the test with ease, filling the room with rain. Rears supply plenty of effects throughout, some more discrete than others. Listen out for the creaking of the house when the first unwitting visitor winds up there which had me pausing and playing the piece back just to make sure that nobody was creeping down the side of my own house.
As you would expect, the score - partly from Zombie, himself - is dished out with weight and presence, if perhaps still a tad more subdued and better integrated than you might have thought with Zombie at the helm, and the overall effect of either track is active, involving and aggressive. It is debateable just how much a film like 1000 Corpses actually needs a 7.1 mix, but from what I was able to hear of it, Lionsgate should be thanked for at least attempting to push the audio envelope of their releases further and further each time.
Naturally, there is no hiss or distortion on either track except when Zombie has specifically desired it and the whole thing sounds clean, well produced and designed. So, 1000 Corpses gets a thumbs-up for its aural assault. A good show, folks.
ExtrasRob Zombie's feature length commentary is a fine effort. Confounding his critics by being eminently subdued, articulate and informative, the filmmaker delivers a very scene specific yak that explores, quite frankly, the genesis, influences and behind the scenes trivia of the production. Clearly a major fan of the entire genre, he remains consistently interesting despite his memory letting him down a couple of times. Never as wild, off-the-cuff or flippant as you might expect considering the persona that he likes to put across, Zombie is an entertaining guide to the background of this niche movie. Personally, a group chat with Zombie, Haig, Black and Moon would have been better and probably a lot more spontaneous, but this is still a rewarding anecdote-filled track.
The Making Of featurette is only a scant four-minutes long, but it contains brief interviews with various members of the cast and crew, who all express their enthusiasm for the project and make reference to their experience of working with Rob Zombie.
Behind The Scenes is even shorter. At around two and a half minutes, this is essentially a behind the scenes montage of a night of shooting and not in the least bit interesting.
“Tiny F****d A Stump” is just a little joke-fest featuring Sid Haig, Sheri Moon and Bill Moseley telling gags that end in the curiously obnoxious punch-line that titles this small feature.
Casting is basically the audition tape of Denis Fimple, who played the whiskery grandpa character in the film. He sadly died before the film was released and this feature makes for a fitting and humorous tribute to him.
Rehearsals does what it says on the tin. This is just footage of several of the actors, including Bill Moseley and Jennifer Jostyn, acting out various scenes from the film in either the studio or some casual location. Nice to see, but nothing that you would return to.
Interviews is nice little section that sees Bill Moseley, Sid Haig and Sheri Moon and prosthetics designer Wayne Toth, being quizzed on their take on the production and the following it has garnered. Annoyingly, the questions are splashed across the screen as text, rather than actually being asked by a person, making the whole thing somewhat clumsy and impersonal. But the participants are all good value ... especially Haig, partly in-character and totally irreverent. He waffles over one question without actually answering it ... cueing the same question to be thrown against the screen again to give him one more chance.
The we get the interactive game Zombietron, which pits you as the local sheriff against some of the characters from the film as well as handful of ragged-looking undead. Don't get your hopes up, folks. Despite dishing out a warning that older machines might not be able to cope with the technology, even the harder - called “Bloody” - stage of the game offers very, very little in the way pushing the limits of BD interactivity. I like the idea behind the game, but the end result is hardly all that stimulating.
As well as the theatrical trailer for this movie, there are also a few trailers for other Lionsgate releases on Blu-ray. So, perhaps not an exhaustive set of extras, but they are in-keeping with the tongue-in-cheek style of the movie and it is Zombie, himself, who delivers the goods with a pretty rewarding commentary.
VerdictOutlandish but nowhere near as outrageous as it wants, and needs to be, House Of 1000 Corpses is still immensely good fun ... provided you are in the right frame of mind. Visually inventive, deliriously loopy and full of striking imagery and photography, Rob Zombie's movie is carnival-horror - a pick 'n' mix smorgasbord of deranged doings, psycho shenanigans and brazen genre rip-offs all rolled into one colourful-looking and colourful-sounding package. There might not be much to get the adrenaline pumping but a giddily juvenile approach that sees demented doctors, slaughtered cheerleaders, cackling redneck clowns, a vicious vixen and her voluptuous, venereal-villain of a mother, cesspit zombies and a garish neon-lit palette still ensure that the time spent in this particular house is never less than entertaining.
Love him or loathe him, Rob Zombie does have style - even if he has cannibalised it from a number of his filmic peers.
As a Blu-ray release, this is hard to fault. The transfer is excellent and the extras put meat on its bones with a great commentary and some disposable yet fun interviews and incidentals. I certainly enjoyed the film more this time around than ever before and, if you are already a fan, then this comes very heartily recommended. If you are just a casual viewer then perhaps a rental would be a safer bet in the first instance. I've changed my opinion on Rob Zombie now and I think there could be some cool stuff on the way once he's gotten this homage-riddled stage out of his system.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £18.57
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