Take some lost kids look for a Doctor Satan, a completely insane hillbilly family, sprinkle in some inspirations from other horror movies and bake at 350 degrees for a few hours.
I don’t think Rob Zombie knows how to make a movie by Rob Zombie. Sure, House of 1000 Corpses is gory and violent, but that’s all that Zombie really relies on to make it scary. House of 1000 Corpses borrows so heavily from movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in style and substance that it’s hard to view it as its own separate movie.
I haven’t seen Halloween or its much panned sequel, both directed by Zombie, but my problem with Rob has always been that he incorporates too little original content into his own movies with no new spin or take on the subject matter. It’s not hard to surmise that people are afraid of clowns (It), freaky weirdo rednecks (Deliverance), sadistic, cannibalistic families who torture and chop people up (Texas Chainsaw Massacre). Zombie also has an unfortunate tendency to keep casting Sheri Moon Zombie, his wife, in his movies. Moon’s Baby Firefly is never truly scary; she’s simply so annoying you wish you could reach through the screen and smack her. Bill Moseley as the never-washed and ranty Otis is wonderful, but when you pair him with Moon, it’s obnoxious.
While House of 1000 Corpses is notable for the violence, I don’t think Zombie’s learned the element of leaving an audience in suspense or building tension. Every scary thing about House of 1000 Corpses is the bloody messes the Firefly family leaves in their trail; the far more abysmal The Devil’s Rejects, which is the sequel to this one, relied too much on Otis and company torturing innocent folks to get the audience scared. (The Devil’s Rejects, it should be noted, bothered me so much I only got through 20 minutes of the movie.)
I like Zombie a lot; I think he’s a person who genuinely loves horror movies and knows a fantastic amount about them, but I don’t think he’s mastered quite how to make them on his own without borrowing liberally from the men who came before him for inspiration.