God Bless You, Otis Driftwood A Love Story I owe everything I have today to Bill Moseley, or more correctly, his portrayal of Otis Driftwood in House of a 1000 Corpses. In April 2003, when the film received its token release in theaters, I was teaching high school in Winchester, Virginia and working evenings at Four Color Fantasies, the local comic shop, to fuel my interests. It was Wednesday of spring break, and after pulling subscription lists and stocking the shelves with the week’s comics, I lamented to my fellow employee Erik that there were slim pickings for date activities in town that night. He immediately suggested House of a 1000 Corpses. I chuckled and said thanks but no thanks. I wasn’t much into horror movies, and my girlfriend preferred solidly adult fare, and not the good kind; I not only sat through Antwone Fisher– I paid for the tickets. Erik persisted, insisting that the film wasn’t really that gory and relied more on psychological horror. He asked if my girlfriend liked Silence of the Lambs. Being intrigued and incredibly lazy when it comes to planning, I opened myself to his argument. He went on to assure me there weren’t really any jump scares and that most of the film was so over the top that it crossed the line into comedy. I looked at my colleague, looked at the clock, picked up the phone and made a very poor decision. The movie started at 9:30. I picked Andrea up after work and we made it to the theater in plenty of time; enough time in fact, that we were spotted by a group of students from the high school where we both worked. They waved enthusiastically. She weakly responded and gave me the side eye. I shrugged and waited for the movie to begin. Andrea quizzed me a little bit about the movie, and I parroted what Erik had told me, giving her vague assurances that nothing too awful was going to transpire on the screen in the next hour and a half. The first part of the movie, which heavily features Sid Haig’s Captain Spaulding and his opinions on “retards,” was definitely not to Andrea’s liking, but she made it through. As bad things start to happen to the four travelers, she squeezed my arm and hid her face on my shoulder. I thought this might work out for me. I remember wondering if this was why people went to horror movies. Enter Bill Moseley as Otis Driftwood. From the moment he appears on screen the movie takes a definite turn for the sinister. There is nothing funny about Otis Driftwood. There is nothing titillating about Otis Driftwood. He is baseline terrifying, and every minute Moseley is on the screen is a test of the viewer’s endurance of his scuzzy menace. As Otis torments the Ruggsville cheerleaders and makes (spoiler alert for a movie from 2003) a fishboy sculpture out of Rainn Wilson, there is a distinct indication that something is seriously off with this guy. The rest of the cast does some interesting work, but it’s possible to separate every member of the Firefly clan from his or her character on some level. Haig is amazing but plays the clown shtick like he is in on the joke. Sheri Moon Zombie might embody her husband’s muse, but vamps for much of the film as if she’s in an extended White Zombie video. The rest of the clan, from Karen Black to Dennis Fimple are gloriously profane and weird but are still primarily actors in a movie. Moseley becomes Otis Driftwood, and as such is uncomfortably unsettling. Andrea’s breaking point came during the flaying and wearing of skin. She leaned over and said she wanted to leave. On some level, I also wanted to go, but I didn’t want to let House of 1000 Corpses get the better of me. Getting up at this point would leave the narrative open; Otis would always be out there as a dangling plot thread. And, though I would deny it vehemently later in the evening, there was a dark part of me that wanted to see how far Moseley would travel in the role. I grimaced and told her to go ahead. I gave her the car keys and steeled myself for what was to come, both immediately on the screen and later in the lobby. Neither scene failed to deliver the anticipated carnage. A true horror fan might argue that Otis Driftwood isn’t really even Moseley’s most iconic character. The guy’s fan site is even called Chop Top’s BBQ. He works so much, and in the depths of a genre that I am not, save for brief forays, interested in exploring. There could be, and probably are, ten performances that are more unhinged and disturbing than Otis Driftwood. I don’t care to find out. What mattered was that he was there when I needed him to blow my relationship to smithereens. Without Otis, I can’t imagine how many terrible movies I would have paid for and suffered through. Rather, I was alone and adrift three months later, sitting in a college cafeteria the evening before my summer teaching started as my relationship heaved its last gasps. I listlessly plowed through a dry chicken sandwich and mealy tater tots, making small talk when one of my colleagues sat across from me. She inquired as to my plans for the evening. I informed her that I was going to a movie and took a bite of my sandwich. She waited patiently and then finally asked if she could come along. I acceded, and a little later we were in front of the movie theater. She wanted to see Hollywood Homicide. I held out for 28 Days Later. She held out to the end, even though she watched over half the movie through a napkin. Twelve years later, we are happily married, and in many ways, I have Bill Moseley and his demented creation to thank for my happiness. When The Devil’s Rejects was released, however, I wisely made a solo trip to check it out. There is a fine line between serendipity and simply pushing one’s luck.  This is not her real name. I imagine she is okay not attaining this small measure of notoriety. See larger image The Devil’s Rejects / House of 1000 Corpses (Horror Two-Pack) [Blu-ray] The Devil’s Rejects: Ambushed at their homestead by Sheriff Wydell and a squad of armed men, the Firefly family awakens with guns blazing- yet only Otisand his sister, Baby, manage to escape unharmed. Taking refuge and hostages in a back-road motel, the wanted siblings rendezvous with their deranged partner in crime, Captain Spaulding, killing whoever happens to stand in their way. But as the body count mountshigher, Sheriff Wydell decides to “cross the line” and take the law into his own hands, paving the way for one of the most depravedand terrifying showdowns in cinematic history. House Of 1,000 Corpses: Two young couples take a misguided tour onto the back roads of America in search of a local legend known as Dr. Satan. Lost and stranded, they are set upon by a bizarre family of psychotics. Murder, cannibalism and satanic rituals are just a few of the 1000+ horrors that await. New From: $9.22 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.