Monday, October 25, 2010

Shocktober Director of the Day: Rob Zombie

Primarily known as the front man for the heavy metal band White Zombie, Rob Zombie wrote and directed his first film, House of 1000 Corpses in 2000, though it wouldn't be released until 2003. Taking his cue from 1970's horrors such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Last House on the Left, Zombie amps up the insanity exponentially in this tale of college students doing research for a project about roadside attractions. After visiting Captain Spaulding's (underground exploitation veteran Sid Haig) museum which features a ride-through tribute to local "Urban Legend" Dr. Satan, they have the misfortune of picking up hitchhiker Baby (Sheri Moon), who brings them back to the family manse where all sorts of horrors await them.

Co-starring genre favorites Karen Black, Bill Moseley (Texas Chainsaw Massacre II), Michael J. Pollard and "The Office" favorite Rainn Wilson, House of 1000 Corpses is an over-the-top nightmare of a movie that one either loves or hates, and for everyone I know who hates it, I know someone else (myself included) who loves it. It is so completely over-the-top and insane, I can only imagine that those who hate this movie just plain don't get it.

Zombie's follow-up is the sequel to House..., 2005's The Devil's Rejects. Picking up where House... ended, The Devil's Rejects follows the Firefly family as they are pursued by one Sheriff Wydell (William Forsythe), who is seeking revenge for the murder of his brother at the end of the first film. Most of the original cast returns, including Haig, Moseley and Moon (now Sheri Moon Zombie, having married the writer/director), though Black is replaced by an even more over-the-top Leslie Easterbrook (the Police Academy movies). Even grimmer (if that's possible) than the original, The Devil's Rejects ignores Dr. Satan (though, personally, I want to know what the hell was up with that) and is more of crime-drama, than a Horror movie (though there are plenty of horrific elements). Technically and stylistically a much film better than House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil's Rejects  leaves many questions unanswered, though such is often the case when dealing with stories of insanity. Personally, I will never be able to listen to "Freebird" with the same sense of innocence as I did in the late 70's.

Zombie's next project was the 2007 remake of John Carpenter's (don't worry - I'll get there) 1978 classic Halloween. Adding a twisted back-story to support Micheal Myers' madness, Zombie's version does little more than amp up the gore in an otherwise pointless remake. Lacking any real style, Zombie's version is one of the most unnecessary remakes of a classic.

Just as unnecessarily, Zombie's next movie was 2009's Halloween II, a film Uncle P didn't even bother to see and about which I can hold no opinion,.

Zombie's next film was an animated movie based on his own comic book, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, another movie I haven't seen (nor have any desire to do so, even though it marginality references Dr. Satan).

Zombie's last foray into directing was an episode of CBS' crime procedural "C.S.I.: Miami," though I doubt we'll be seeing any movies from him in the near future. And while he may have a decent run as film director, I suspect Rob should concentrate more on his musical career, from now on.

More, anon.

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