Today's Pick: House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
You can read about my personal experience with Rob Zombie's directorial debut here, which will give you some kind of idea where my brain is coming from when I recommend this movie. This spot in the list did belong to the superior sequel, The Devil's Rejects, for a long time before I decided that I was incapable of suggesting that movie without first paying my respects to its progenitor. Don't worry, because the sequel is a guaranteed lock for next year. ...Spoiler alert?
I think the main reason I chose this over the following film is because House of 1000 Corpses is visually much more Halloween appropriate. There's a kaleidoscopic madness in regards to the lighting and colors of the film that vibe better with the ghoulish fun of the season. A lot of people accuse the film of descending into pure music video territory in this regard, but when your first time director is a musician with a heavily visual component to his style, I kind of expect that to happen. As long as it's pulled off well (which it is, in this instance), I don't see why you can't slip into its macabre but playful nature.
While all the cast would do better and even more layered work in the sequel, there's a whole bunch of goofball fun to be gained from the twisted performances of Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon Zombie and Karen Black as the demented Firefly family. However, it's Sid Haig as the hillbilly huckster Captain Spaulding that steals the show. Every scene with him is a hoot, and I wish the film would have been able to figure out a way to weave him into the later part of the film. Still, what we do get is more than enjoyable, and Zombie obviously recognized the character's popularity by upgrading him to a lead in the sequel.
There isn't a whole lot of ground to stand on when it comes to defending this movie's plot (it does spiral into total ridiculousness by the climax), but I'll never be able to hate this movie. It's too unbridled in a good way for me to ever dismiss it. If you haven't seen it yet, or have only experienced the sequel, give this a watch and just let the technicolor absurdity drill itself into your head.
Tomorrow is the 13th. I wonder what film series I'm going to choose from for tomorrow...
31 Days of Drew 2 (2014)
31 Days of Drew (2013)