Just a Little Common Sense

For a life based on reason, ethics, literature and art.

Alice’s Adventures in the House of 1000 Corpses

with 2 comments

This is going to be completely unrelated and of hardly any interest to anyone but movie nerds, but it’s been bugging me. It’s my blog after all, so I’ll post whatever I want. Now here is a post about movies.

You may be aware that there has been a recent remake of Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton, which hit the cinemas last year. I have only recently seen it. The design is incredible, but the kitschy ending somewhat ruined it for me. Anyhow, undoubtedly one of the most memorable parts of the movie is the role of the “Red Queen” aka “Queen of Hearts”. She’s the evil character of the Story, though in a very childlike, vulnerable way.

Now bear with me for a second.
Another movie which I’ve recently seen (again) is The House of 1000 Corpses, a horror flick shot in 2003 by Rob Zombie. It’s a movie about a bunch of teens who get slaughtered by an insane family of murderers and occultists. Here, the most remarkable character of the film is Captain Spaulding, a creepy deranged clown with rotten teeth, played by Sid Haig.
So: Two movies. One a 2010 kid’s movie, the other an R-rated, gory horror flick. Now I’d like you to take a look at the two character’s make-up:

Could it possibly be chance?

LEFT: The Queen of Hearts, Alice in Wonderland, 2010. RIGHT: Captain Spaulding, The House of 1000 Corpses, 2003.

There’s really only two possible ways to explain this similarity. Either it’s coincidence, and Tim Burton was completely unaware that his wife has just been painted with the make-up of a very famous (albeit fictional) serial killer, or he shot a movie for kids that intentionally contained a reference to an extremely violent and brutal horror film. Both scenarios seem equally unlikely. On the one hand, I just cannot believe that Tim Burton is unaware of the existence of the two Rob Zombie movies for it to be purely coincidental. Plus, just look at it. I mean, it’s the exact same shade of blue, arching up from each eye, until confined by a single black line (same thickness!), while the rest of the face is completely white. Somce coincidence that would be. Did the make-up artist allow himself a joke and Tim Burton didn’t notice? Or is this really Tim Burton giving a nod to Rob Zombie in his version of freakin’ Alice ? That would actually make a lot more sense, except that this is something that might potentially set off the “protect the children!”-reflex of the conservative right, triggering protests, boycotts and attempts at censorship. Why risk that?

Of course I know the correct answer is who gives a fuck?, but for some reason, stuff like this really buggs me.

PS: Other people noticed the make-up, too. This one is also a very nice review of Alice: “this movie is a wonder to look at, but a chore to sit through.” Couldn’t have said it any better.

Written by Phil

January 19, 2011 at 20:55

2 Responses

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  1. Hahaha, or it was a coincidence because that set of make up is actually not that uncommon in regards to clownish feature. Especially the blue over the eyes which I do believe is being indicated by this article since little else is similar.


    March 30, 2017 at 03:12

  2. It’s not a coincidence but it’s not as simple as your suggestions. European women wore makeup like this in high class society centuries ago and court jesters, fools, and clowns have too. Fashion is a weird thing, especially high class fashion and the costumes of liminality


    November 8, 2018 at 01:03

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