Say what you will about Rob Zombie. As a filmmaker, he’s right up there with Woody Allen and Stanley Kubrick for polarizing the cinematic masses. On this week’s episode, we talked all things RZ. I find no shame in expressing my love for Mr. Zombie and his films, and I’m here to share a few suggestions on what you might double up with each of his movies. If you don’t feel like taking a whole night for a night at the movies (or if you’re on the other end of the spectrum as far Rob Zombie goes), just watch the non-Zombie films. Oh, and thanks to the miracle of the internet (and studio business deals), each of these are available to stream.
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
Rob Zombie burst onto the silver screen by revealing to the public what was lurking in the dark corners of his brain. House of 1000 Corpses is dark, gritty, funny, over-the-top, and shocking. This is where we first meet the Firefly Family. This sets up perfectly what will be concluded a couple years later. It also goes way the fuck off the rails in the third act, and we’re introduced to Clive Barker-esque characters such as Doctor Satan. With that in mind, let’s stay underground with Mr. Barker…
Nightbreed (1990, Clive Barker)
Both Mr. Zombie and Mr. Barker and creative geniuses. Both have WILD imaginations. And that is why I see these two playing well together. Between the two, you’ll have characters to supply your dreams for weeks. Stream for free on ShoutFactoryTV.
The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
Widely considered RZ’s best film (not by me, though), Rejects is a more coherent and linear continuation of the Firefly Family story. A few liberties are taken here and there by Mr. Zombie to do what he wants to be able to do with the characters, and for the most part we forgive that (i.e. Otis was an albino freak, now he’s a bearded psychopath). As I stated this week, I cried at the end during the final shootout, and dammit, I’m not ashamed. We become invested in this wretched family of horrible souls, and paired with “Freebird,” their deaths take an emotional toll (on people with a heart). The Firefly Family is a strong family unit, and they’ll do anything to stay together. That’s why we’re headed Down Under…
The Loved Ones (2009, Sean Byrne)
The Australian teen scream is about three families trying to keep it together. At the core it’s a very touching story. On the surface it’s funny and disturbing. Andrea and Alex from The Faculty of Horror recently covered this, and they do a great job at analyzing all the ins and outs of this film. Stream it for free on TubiTV.
As I said this week, this is my least favorite RZ film. I don’t HATE, but I don’t feel like I ever need to see it again. Getting off our high horses and removing John Carpenter’s classic from its Golden God perch, I see Halloween ’07 as a mean, frantic, slasher movie. It’s a dark tale about a troubled family, so with that in mind…
Frailty (2001, Bill Paxton)
Confession time: I watched this for the first a week ago. Why did I wait so long?!?! I blame my cats. RZ’s Halloween tells the story of Michael Myers from when he was a boy. It shows the shitty childhood he had, that MAY have contributed to some of his anger. It’s upon us as parents to set good examples for our children so they don’t grow up to be giant pieces of shit (or serial killers). Thus, Frailty. A movie about Bill Paxton as a seemingly good yet absolutely batshit crazy single dad raising two boys, one of whom turns out to be Matthew McConaughey. Scary. Stream it for free on Shudder.
Halloween II (2009)
H2 is leaps and bounds better than H1. In story, in craft, in performance, Halloween II is just a better movie, plain and simple. Scout Taylor-Compton delivers a remarkable performance as a young woman dealing with severe PTSD. The dream sequences are goofy at first, but they grew on me. This is a mean motherfucker of a movie, which is why…
The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon)
Not only is the connecting line between H2 and Sundown the actual day of Halloween, but they’re both good remakes/sequels. Sundown brings some much-needed levity as the second half of this double, but it still delivers plain ol’ mean kills. Stream it for free on Amazon Prime.
The Lords of Salem (2012)
I had to buy two movies in order to do this week’s show: Halloween 2 and Lords. And I’ll admit it – I’m super glad I did, because Lords is my favorite RZ movie. It’s also his best in terms of filmmaking. Sheri delivers her best performance yet. Dee Wallace, Patricia Quinn, and Judy Geeson are perfect. And it’s about fucking WITCHES! We need more witch movies please. It’s got such a great autumn-in-New-England feel that I couldn’t not pair it with…
The Innkeepers (2011, Ti West)
When I would tell people that I love Ti West but hadn’t seen The Innkeepers yet I’d get the same response every time: “Eh, don’t bother.” EXCUSE ME?!?! Well, I watched it, and now it’s my favorite Ti West movie. You wan’t autumn in New England? Right here, folks. The Innkeepers and Lords will have you covered. Both of these will end up on #31DaysofHorror this October.
As we said on the show, it’s easy to go into any movie – but especially a Rob Zombie movie – with incredibly high expectations and unbridled excitement. Tone it back, guys and gals. Let’s be honest, you were anticipating 31 for years. “Oh man, Rob had to keep cutting it down because the MPAA wasn’t having any of it, man.” “Dude, it’s gonna be his craziest movie yet.” And then you went to the one-night-only screening, and when the lights came up you were fucking pissed. All of a sudden you fucking HATED Rob Zombie. Wrong, dude. This was all YOUR doing. You. As the viewer. As the fan. You created these unrealistic expectations. How on earth was ANYONE supposed to live up to the hype you had created inside of yourself? Get rid of that shit right now! Go in to watching a movie without any of the noise. I can listen to the noise and still go in cold. If you can’t do that, turn off the noise. Quit going on Twitter. Quit reading all the internet fluff. Don’t listen to other people’s opinions. Go see the movie and make up your own damn mind!
So 31. I like it. It’s not my favorite (it’s my #5 as a matter of fact), but I still like it. Richard Brake delivers one of the genre’s greatest performances. His monologue at the beginning is chilling to say the least. With that said, I felt like it was a step backwards after the artfulness of Lords. But I still like… have I said that yet? It’s a cool concept. People trapped inside, battling for their lives on Halloween. Hey, that reminds me of…
Night of the Demons (1988, Kevin Tenney)
This is plain old fun stuff, right here. Linnea Quigley gets naked again. Steve Johnson does his magic in the makeup department. Kevin Tenney proves he’s absolutely an underrated filmmaker. My only question is: what world is this that THESE characters are all hanging out together? Watch for free on Vudu.