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Auto House 1 (2003)

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Inspired by 1970s horror films such as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and The Hills Have Eyes (1977),[6] Zombie conceived the film while designing a haunted-house attraction for Universal Studios Hollywood, where filming took place in 2000 on the backlots and Valencia, California. When the studio shelved the film fearing that it would receive an NC-17 rating,[7] Zombie re-acquired the rights. They were eventually sold to Lions Gate Entertainment, who released the film in April 2003. Despite receiving an unfavorable response from critics, it went on to gross $16 million worldwide. Since its release, the film has achieved a cult following, was developed into a haunted-house attraction by Zombie for Universal Studios, and was followed by two sequels, The Devil's Rejects (2005) and 3 from Hell (2019).

On October 30, 1977, amateur criminals Killer Karl and Richard Wick attempt an armed robbery at a gas station/horror museum, but are killed by the owner, Captain Spaulding, and his assistant, Ravelli. Later that night, Jerry Goldsmith, Bill Hudley, Mary Knowles, and Denise Willis are on the road in hopes of writing a book on offbeat roadside attractions. When the four meet Spaulding, who is also the owner of "The Museum of Monsters & Madmen", they learn of the local legend of Dr. Satan. As they take off in search of the tree from which Dr. Satan was hanged, they pick up a young free-spirited hitchhiker named Baby, who claims to live only a few miles away. Shortly after, a mysterious figure appears hidden in some overgrowth and shoots out their vehicle's tire with a shotgun. The group thinks it is just a blown out tire and so Baby takes Bill to her family's house to get a tow truck. Moments later, Baby's half-brother, Rufus, picks up the stranded passengers and takes them to the family home.

There, they meet Baby's family: her adopted brother Otis Driftwood, her deformed giant half-brother Tiny, Mother Firefly, and Grandpa Hugo. While being treated to dinner, Mother Firefly explains that her ex-husband, Earl, had previously tried to burn Tiny alive, along with the Firefly house after he suffered a psychotic breakdown. After dinner, the family puts on a Halloween show for their guests and Baby offends Mary by flirting with Bill. After Mary threatens Baby, Rufus tells them their car is repaired. As the couples leave, Otis and Tiny, disguised as scarecrows, attack them in the driveway and take them captive. The next day, Otis kills Bill and mutilates his body for art. Mary is tied up in a room and tormented by Otis, Denise is tied to a bed dressed up as a doll for Halloween, and Jerry is partially scalped for failing to guess Baby's favorite movie star.

When Denise doesn't come home, her father Don calls the police to report her missing. Two deputies, George Wydell and Steve Naish, find the couples' abandoned car in a field with a dead, mutilated cheerleader in the trunk (one of five cheerleaders who went missing over a week ago, as explained in a news broadcast; an earlier scene established that the cheerleaders were being tortured, raped and killed by the Firefly family). Don, a former policeman, is called to the scene to help the deputies search. They arrive at the Firefly house and Wydell questions Mother Firefly about the missing teens. Mother Firefly shoots Wydell in the head and kills him; Don and Steve are then killed by Otis when they find more bodies of missing cheerleaders in the barn, along with a barely conscious Mary.

The idea for House of 1000 Corpses came to Zombie while designing a haunted house attraction with that title for the studio,[14] and Universal responded positively to his pitch.[14] Zombie later stated "I was in the office of the head of production or something and he asked me if I had any movie ideas and I pitched him Corpses, which was very rough at the time, because I wasn't ready and I made it up on the spot. He liked it, I went home, wrote a 12-page treatment and met up with them. Two months later, we were shooting."[15] Production on the film began in May 2000[7] and was finished by Halloween of 2000.[14] The house was launched the following year, although the title was changed to "American Nightmare" due to the film's shelving.[14] Despite the name change, the house still featured numerous references to the film, and the theatrical trailer played while customers waited.[14]

Jake McKinnon could not see well when dressed as The Professor, and almost hit actress Erin Daniels with a real ax during the film's climax. Zombie later said he had simply hoped Daniels would move out of the way in time. When Denise calls her father from a telephone booth, a sign for a missing dog head can be seen hanging in the booth; this was in fact a real item found by Zombie and used for the film. In the early stages of the film, Grandpa Hugo was to have been revealed as the murderous Dr. Satan, who at the time was simply referred to as the mad doctor. The legend of the mad doctor was to be a ploy by the Firefly family to lure victims in, though this idea was later scrapped. This led to Grandpa Hugo receiving much less screen time. The character of Dr. Satan was inspired by a 1950s billboard-sized poster advertising a "live spook show starring a magician called Dr. Satan" that Zombie has in his house.[20]

The film's main cast consisted of the murderous Firefly family, the four teenagers and various police officers attempting to find the group, among others.[21] Sid Haig was cast as Captain Spaulding, a man who dresses as a clown and owns a gas station and museum of curiosities.[21] Haig claimed he had to "get in touch with [his] own insanity" for the role.[22] His relation to the Firefly family is not revealed in the film, though he is working with them to some extent; however, the sequel establishes that he is the father of Baby. Bill Moseley starred as Otis B. Driftwood, who was adopted into the Firefly family. Sheri Moon Zombie portrayed Baby Firefly, who became known for her high pitched laugh and sexual nature.[17] Karen Black was cast as Mother Firefly, the protective mother to the family.[23] Matthew McGrory portrayed Tiny Firefly, a tall man who was left deformed after a house fire started by his father.[24] Robert Allen Mukes portrayed Rufus "RJ" Firefly. Jr. Dennis Fimple was selected to play Grampa Hugo Firefly. He died following filming, and the finished product was dedicated to him.[21]

The first public screening of the film occurred in Argentina on March 13, 2003.[citation needed] House of 1000 Corpses received its theatrical release on April 11, 2003. The film made its debut in the United Kingdom at Fright Fest, and was the fastest selling event of the night.[15] House of 1000 Corpses grossed $3,460,666 on a limited opening weekend, while boasting $2,522,026 on its official opening. The film opened in second at the box office, behind the comedy film Anger Management (2003).[15] It went on to gross $12,634,962 in the United States alone, with an additional $4,194,583 accumulated worldwide. The film's reported gross is $16,829,545. According to Zombie, Lions Gate Entertainment made back their investment on the film on the first day, and shortly afterwards approached Zombie about a sequel to the film.[15] Having already begun developing ideas for a sequel, Zombie quickly began work on a follow-up.[citation needed]

Driving on Christmas Eve with his family, Frank Harrington decides to take a short cut through a remote location. In the car with him: his wife Laura, his son, Richard, his daughter, Marion, and her boyfriend, Brad. It is night, and as Frank drives, he begins to fall asleep at the wheel, only to be woken by the screams of his family, warning him of an oncoming vehicle. He narrowly avoids the vehicle, and after an inspection of his car, continues to drive. Confused, Laura questions her husband as to why he didn't take the usual route to her mother-in-law's house; he claims he was "bored" and fancied a change.

As the siblings bicker, Frank abruptly stops the car, claiming he saw a young woman dressed in white in the forest. The woman appears at Frank's window, holding a baby. Marion, seeing how distressed the woman appears to be, and realizing that she needs help, offers to walk so that they can take the woman in the car to a house for help. The woman gets into the car, and as the family ask her questions, she remains silent. They arrive at a wooden cabin, and Laura and Frank go in to investigate. Meanwhile, Richard goes to masturbate in the woods, leaving Brad in the car with the woman and her child. Brad begins questioning the woman and telling the woman his plans to propose to Marion, meanwhile Marion walks along the road to catch up with the family and rehearses how she plans to break up with Brad. The woman tells Brad the name of her child; Amy, and passes her to him. A confused Brad asks how the child can breathe with the blankets covering her face, the woman replies that the baby is dead. Confused, Brad lifts the blankets to discover what appears to be the corpse of the child, and screams. The camera changes back to Richard, who hears the scream and immediately runs back to the car. Brad and the woman are nowhere to be seen. However, Marion sees a hearse driving down the road, and as she turns to look, she sees Brad screaming for help in the back of it. She runs back to the family and makes them drive after the hearse. 59ce067264


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