By DON KAYE
As HOUSE OF 1000
CORPSES, the long-delayed screenwriting and directing debut
of rocker Rob Zombie, finally hits screens April 11 after
a two-year wait, genre fans will no doubt recognize several
familiar faces in Zombies tribute to gritty 70s
horror, including Sid (SPIDER BABY) Haig and Karen (TRILOGY
OF TERROR) Black. But several newcomers grace the film as
well, including beautiful feature first-timer Sheri Moon.
Of course, Moon
wont be a complete unknown to longtime Zombie fans.
Moonwho happens to be Mrs. Zombie in real lifehas
appeared in all of her husbands videos, dating back
to White Zombies Feed the Gods (from the
soundtrack of AIRHEADS). We enjoy working together,
so he wrote the part for me, says Moon. He had
more faith in me than I did! I guess he saw something from
directing me in the videos that made him think I could handle
it. He knows me better than anyone, so it worked out OK.
I was really nervous, but it was a lot of fun.
Despite her involvement
in front of the camera in many of Zombies videos,
as well as her role as a dancer in his concert tour productions,
the cheerful Moon says she had no designs on a career in
movies. I never aspired to be an actress, she
admits. I was always interested in doing cartoon voiceovers
and took some classes to do that, but then I would go on
the road with Rob, so I could never really follow through
with it. But then when White Zombie broke up and Rob had
his own deal, he wanted to have dancers on stage. I had
already had the experience of appearing in the videos, so
I then started choreographing the dancers and making the
costumes and doing all that stuff.
says that while she has always enjoyed horror movies, Zombiea
well-known exploitation and genre buffbrought her
interest to the next level. Actually, Rob introduced
me to many more [horror films] than I probably would have
ever seen in my life, she says. I did grow up
being afraid of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR and THE OMEN and all
the 70s stuffthings that were sort of demonic,
with a tinge of reality to them. Before I met Roband
weve been together for 10 yearsI had seen TEXAS
CHAINSAW MASSACRE, but hadnt seen THE HILLS HAVE EYES,
LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, other films of that type. Rob not
only introduced me to horror movies, but a lot of different
types of movies in general, like blaxploitation and stuff
like that. Plus, Id never seen films like SPIDER BABY
with Sid and that sort of thing. We have a screening room
in our house, and at least once a week, we try to watch
something in there.
HOUSE OF 1000
CORPSES is Zombies homage to the kind of drive-in
and exploitation fare he grew up on in the 70s, when
CHAINSAW and LAST HOUSE were readily available to audiences
in all their macabre glory. In the film, four young explorers,
researching a book on weird roadside attractions, stumble
upon a place called Captain Spauldings Museum of Monsters
and Madmen. Once there, Captain Spaulding (Haig) informs
them of a local legend in that area, a murderer called Dr.
Satan, but the quartet find more than they bargained for
when their backwoods hunt leads them to the most deranged
family this side of HILLS infamous mountain clan.
Baby, the familys young daughter, but dont think
for a minute that her golden-locked good looks make her
the Marilyn Munster of the bunch. Baby is the angelic-looking
bait to get the victims, says Moon. Shes
part of this psychotic family and when I played her, I guess
I took a little from Bette Davisbecause I love heralthough
no ones gonna see that. It may sound a little silly
for me to say that, but I was thinking about her when I
did the part.
probably never got her hands as red as Moon does, since
Baby is apparently no slouch in the mayhem department. Baby
participates actively, says Moon. We were shooting
out in Palmdale or somewhere, it was 2 a.m. and freezing
cold, and I had to be covered in blood. So I was drenched,
with this long gown on
I dont want to give the
scene away, but lets just say that, yes, Baby is pretty
active in the movie!
into onscreen gore and violence in her first film role disturb
Moon at all? I would find it utterly shocking if a
person was not somewhat disturbed by doing a violent scene,
she says. I was really, really having some anxieties
about it, particularly this one stabbing that I did, and
that part was not fun for me at all. Id hate to meet
the guy who thought it was!
as a novice actor, confesses to being terrified
before shooting started, she soon found herself at ease
once she got to know the other actors, especially genre
queen Black. We had a read-through before we actually
started filming, and I was the only person in the room who
wasnt a working actor, so I was intimidated just by
that whole process. But I met Karen that day, and from then
on, she took me under her wing. She was great and a true
inspiration, almost like my mom on the set.
As for Haig,
another genre vet with a cult following, Moon says, I
didnt have any scenes with him, but weve become
good friends ever since. He comes over to the house for
dinner parties and barbecues and things like that, plus
we bring him out to hockey games when we get extra tickets.
One of the great experiences of working on the movie was
that we remained friends with quite a few of the actors.
That was nice, and I imagine it doesnt always happen
on every movie.
Moon says the
bonds of friendship on the movie helped immeasurably during
the nearly two-year ordeal of getting it released, during
which the film was dropped by squeamish execs at both Universal
and MGM before finding a home at Lions Gate. All of
us who worked on the movie stayed in touch and kept wanting
to hear good news and to have the movie come out,
she recalls. It definitely was a nightmare for Rob.
At one point after a year and a half, I just got sick of
hearing about it, because there were so many highs and lows,
and so many discouraging moments.
seen the final, finished product, but people probably overreacted.
Its a scary movie and I dont think anyone will
be let down, but Universal kind of pussied out. I mean,
at the time, they had just released HANNIBAL, and thats
pretty graphic, with the brain-eating scene and disembowelment
and everything. But having a star like Anthony Hopkins,
which is a familiar face, made you remember you were watching
a movie. HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES has a lot of unknowns in
it, and that possibly makes it seem more real.
Now that Lions
Gate is putting the film into limited release, the public
will at last have the chance to decide for themselves whether
HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES lives up to its notorious reputation.
As for Moon, she reiterates that she doesnt envision
herself pursuing a fulltime acting career, but there is
one director she wouldnt mind working with again.
I enjoy working with Rob, she says. I
have complete confidence that hes gonna tell me when
something looks stupid, when something looks great, if somethings
working or not workingwe have a very honest relationship,
and thats an ideal scenario for any person whos
going to act.