House of 1000 Corpses appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. A fairly early Blu-ray, this one doesn’t hold up well.
Note that House came with lots of intentionally degraded visuals. I didn’t consider those for my overall rating of the image.
Unfortunately, the material that should look “normal” came with its own issues as well. The transfer used a fair amount of noise reduction, and that reduced fine detail.
Apparently to compensate, the presentation then pumped up artificial sharpness, and that led to an unnatural vibe as well as edge haloes. The movie delivered a hyper sense of definition that felt overcranked.
No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred. Print flaws manifested through the film, as I saw sporadic specks and marks.
The movie’s palette opted for broad colors, and these worked pretty well. Though they sometimes veered toward a tendency to feel too heavy, they usually seemed pretty vivid and full.
Blacks looked reasonably deep and dense, while shadows seemed smooth and clear. Despite some positives, the image ended up with too many flaws.
Unsurprisingly, the movie’s DTS-HD HR 7.1 tended toward a hyperactive soundscape – well, at times, as this domain varied. The film threw out lots of jolts but it didn’t maintain much else.
This meant we got big, broad elements but not a lot of general atmosphere. It felt like the sound designers focused on in-your-face impact and forgot to offer much else to give the track a natural feel.
In any case, the mix did kick to life pretty well – at least given the over the top goals of the film. While the endless series of jolts got tedious, they suited the flick’s aims.
Audio quality worked fine, with speech that appeared natural and concise. Music showed good range and force.
Effects came across as accurate and full, with positive low end. I would’ve preferred a better-integrated soundscape, but the track still worked reasonably well.
How did the “20th Anniversary” Blu-ray compare to the original Blu-ray? The 2023 set literally reproduces the 2007 version, so picture and audio obviously remain identical.
The 20th Anniversary package comes with two platters, and on Disc One we begin with an audio commentary from writer/director Rob Zombie. He offers a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, editing and cut scenes, various effects, costumes, hair and makeup, music, and connected domains.
Despite a sporadic tendency to simply narrate the movie, Zombie makes this a good chat. He proves willing to criticize various elements, and his snarky remarks during the end credits amuse.
I wish he’d delved more into the issues with Universal he experienced, as he touches on those a little but not in detail. Granted, he might’ve held back to not burn bridges for future projects. In any case, Zombie delivers a satisfying commentary.
A game called ZombieTron works based solely on the use of directional buttons, so it remains intensely simple – and devoid of fun. It becomes clunky and awkward.
Video pieces follow, and Making of runs four minutes, 15 seconds. It brings notes from Zombie and actors Rainn Wilson, Karen Black, Bill Moseley, Chris Hardwick, Sid Haig, Sheri Moon, Jennifer Jostyn, and Erin Daniels.
We find out what attracted various participants to the film as well as characters and performances. Don’t expect anything more than promotional fluff.
Behind the Scenes goes for two minutes, 35 seconds and simply features shots from the set. The clips seem mildly interesting at best, as the reel doesn’t last long enough to give us much.
With Tiny Fucked a Stump, we locate a three minute, eight second reel with actors Moon, Moseley and Haig in character as they tell jokes all with the same punchline. Someone might enjoy this, but not me.
Casting spans two minutes, seven seconds and shows an audition from Dennis Fimple. It offers material of minor interest.
Next comes Rehearsals, where we see three segments: “Bill Moseley and Jennifer Jostyn” (3:04), “Rainn Wilson, Chris Hardwick and Erin Daniels (2:15) and “Chris Hardwick and Eric Daniels” (0:56).
As expected, we see the actors work through their scenes. These pieces become reasonably fun to see.
Under Interviews, we get chats with “Bill Moseley” (4:30), “Sid Moon” (5:43), “Sheri Moon” (1:33) and “Wayne Toth” (3:33). The actors deliver rudiments about their roles, experiences, and thoughts about horror.
Makeup designer Toth gets into his work on the film. These become moderately engaging clips.
Disc One opens with ads for The Punisher (2004), The Condemned, The Descent and Saw III.
As we shift to Disc Two, we find a compilation of 12 Cast and Director Interviews. All together, these span one hour, 55 minutes, 44 seconds and involve Zombie (4:27), Haig (9:20), Moseley (10:33), Moon (11:53), Black (11:10), Wilson (8:49), Hardwick (8:53), Daniels (13:02), Jostyn (6:17), Toth (10:19), and actors Irwin Keyes (7:04) and Robert Mukes (13:51).
With almost two hours of comments, one might expect to learn a lot about the movie. One would assume incorrectly.
All the interviews come from the set, and they tend toward fluff. We get general thoughts about characters, story and performances, heavy on happy talk.
We hear many remarks about the genius of Zombie and general notes. Little of this becomes insightful, so don’t get much of use in these segments. Toth proves a moderate exception, but even he doesn’t give us a ton of substance.
BTS provides five “behind the scenes” clips that fill a total of one hour, 39 minutes, 27 seconds. As expected, we get “fly on the wall” footage from the shoot.
Normally I enjoy material of this sort, but “BTS” doesn’t seem especially interesting to me. It rarely feels like we see a good sense of what it was like on the set, so expect occasional moments of intrigue but not a lot to provoke interest.
Two tests follow: “Dr. Satan” (1:31) and “Professor” (2:24). These deliver glimpses of the work done to bring those characters to life, and they offer some decent material.
We end with a teaser trailer and an Electronic Press Kit. The latter lasts four minutes, 21 seconds and shows movie clips, shots from the set and sound bites.
We hear from Zombie, Wilson, Black, Moseley, Hardwick, Moon, Jostyn, Haig and Daniels. It provides standard promo filler and feels redundant since we see pretty much everything here elsewhere on the disc.
Via House of 1000 Corpses, Rob Zombie launched his career as a feature film director with a thud. Little more than a random mix of 70s horror throwbacks and campy oddness, the movie becomes tedious and obnoxious. The Blu-ray comes with mediocre visuals, decent audio and a mix of bonus materials.
Though the movie enjoys its fans, I can’t find much positive about it. The 20th Anniversary Blu-ray adds supplements but comes with the same movie disc as its predecessor. That makes it appealing solely to diehard fans of the film.
To rate this film, visit the prior review of HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES