(Review originally written at 11 September 2008)

This movie is obvious homage to the horror genre and in particular to horror movies from the old days, the '20's till the '40's, as well as the slasher flicks from the '70's. But it at the same time is also a modern horror movie that tries to put new life into the genre. It doesn't completely work out though, since the movie tries out too much.

What saves this movie is its totally crazy style and atmosphere. It makes the movie foremost a comedy, which of course obviously also goes at the expense of the horror though. The movie is very stylish looking and Rob Zombie obviously has a love for the genre.

The movie is deliberately B-movie like, with some of its crazy moments and acting performances. This all adds to the style and atmosphere of the movie and it works out really well for it.

But because the movie picks so many styles and approaches not everything that happens in the story connects well with each other. Not all of the events always blend in well with each other and the movie is definitely style over substance at times, that tries to pay tribute to too many genre movies. It doesn't give this movie a well flowing story or provides the movie with any characters that you'll ever care about.

The best character of the movie is Captain Spaulding played by Sid Haig. It might very well be the best and certainly most entertaining role out of his career. It's a crazy and evil but yet very likable character.

The movie isn't really that effective as a horror movie or shocker, due to its style. Nevertheless the movie still has gore and some good make-up effects in it, which is nice looking but it just doesn't take the movie its horror value to an higher level. Still I'm sure that Rob Zombie can be a capable horror director if he starts to pay some less attention to the style and some more to its storytelling and actual script. Zombie wrote the script for this movie himself, just as he always writes for his projects. This movie ain't a bad debut from him but I'm anxious to find out if he has learned from the mistakes he still made in this movie and if his later projects were better. I'm definitely going to check the rest of his movies out.

Despite the fact that the movie really isn't being original or renewing for its genre, it still is a refreshing movie due to its excellent style, provided by Rob Zombie (also thanks to the musical score he composed for this movie). The movie is already a cult-classic.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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