Rob Zombie  

A popular front-man for a commercial heavy metal band, his music heavily laced with industrial/dance elements and horror-themed music videos, and also a fan of 70s horror. His approach to making horror movies is a visually-rich freak show with bizarre characters, strong personalities, and ultra-violence, in a gritty and raw 70s style, without the slick modern contrivances. His movies sometimes feel like a blend of early Tobe Hooper with Tarantino. Unfortunately it's mostly style over substance so far, much like a music video. But the colorful characters in his movies are a strong point and this can sometimes result in compellingly wicked and brutal scenes in his movies.


Devil's Rejects  
Rob Zombie's second movie is a surprisingly focused, well-made and tightly edited piece of filthy brutality. There isn't much plot and the whole movie shows policemen chasing an extended family of twisted serial killers, only in this case the cop is brutal and takes it personally, even hiring some trashy killers to help him. The star of the movie is the gritty and constantly surprising violence as well as the wide variety of very juicy, colorful, and intense characters, many of which are evil to the bone, some with an unbelievably no-holds-barred sense of humor. Torture, humiliation, bloody violence, a surprisingly cruel sense of fun, and brutal murders fly from both sides with a parade of filthy, repulsive but very unforgettable characters having their nihilistic fun and taking their audience down with them. The amazingly good direction and unpredictable characters cover up for the flaws and lack of story.

Of Some Interest

House of 1000 Corpses  
Rob Zombie's homage to Texas Chainsaw Massacre and a slew of other horror movies. Take a healthy dose of TCM, increase the freak count from 4 to about 50, add much more camp and over-the-top acting by everyone involved, spice the movie with lots of MTV style editing, jumps to background scenes using various film-stocks a la Natural Born Killers, and top it with some Tarantino-influenced action scenes and you basically have this cult release. Looks like Rob tried to squeeze in too much horror entertainment in one go and forgot to make it horrifying.


Lords of Salem, The  
Rob Zombie remakes Rosemary's Baby, kinda, in music-video style. As with 'House of 1000 Corpses', the approach seems to be to throw a bunch of weird horror imagery together and hope something sticks. But it feels like the screenplay was forgotten under a pile of empty bottles and roaches, what with plots strands that go nowhere, character arcs that just unravel into nothing, and a non-ending. Rob shows off his wife's derrière, who acts as a DJ that one day receives a mysterious LP that messes with her head. Links to Salem and a coven of witches slowly emerge, while Rob fills the rest of the movie with completely random visions, nightmares, dozens of creepy, masked and naked creatures or witches, and a coven that spouts a bunch of nonsense, while a boyfriend and researcher hang around being useless. As I said, just another Rob Zombie music-video.

By-the-numbers Zombie flick and very uninspired, except for the juicy characters. It's just a movie-length chase scene in the format of a game, with freakish killers, bizarre onlookers, and a fleshy group of carny victims, like a simple horror version of The Running Man. As with Lords of Salem, Zombie invests in the visuals, makeup and costumes once again, but forgets to write a plot. A group of carnival workers are kidnapped and locked in an industrial complex for rich gamblers who like to dress up while hired freaks in various twisted clown outfits wisecrack and chase down their prey. Axes and chainsaws fly, as does the blood and filthy murder-foreplay in the form of aggressively teasing dialog, but it's all a very empty cash-in and even emptier ending, with Zombie sleep-walking his way through the movie,

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