31 Days of Halloween Day 15 and 16 – HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES and THE DEVIL’S REJECTS

31 Days of Halloween – Day 15

House of 1,000 Corpses (directed by Rob Zombie, 2003) Where do I start? Do I start with Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and Madmen? The sadistic Firefly family, who prey on travelers and cheerleaders? A physician who goes by the name of ‘Dr. Satan’, who performers experiments on unwilling participants all in the hopes of creating a race of super-humans? There are so many bizarre, yet memorable characters and insane situations in House of 1,000 Corpses that it is hard to keep track of. A group of young adults (including a then unknown Rainn Wilson from The Office) are on a cross country trip, in search of off-beat roadside attractions. The stumble upon the Museum of Monsters and Madmen, and become intrigued by the local legend of S. Quentin Quale, aka Dr. Satan. After receiving directions from the proprietor Captain Spaulding, the group head out in search of the “Satan Tree”. On the way, they pick up a hitchhiker who claims she can take them right to their destination. What they find instead is a house full of murder and mayhem, occupied by the Firefly family, and things do not go well here on out for the travelers. From top to bottom, this film is insane, and very entertaining. Taking inspiration from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as well as 1970’s Grindhouse features, there is an abundance of gore, plenty of violence, and a lot of exploitation going on. Rob Zombie’s typical gang of actors, Sid Haig, Sheri Moon Zombie, and Bill Mosley are all present and are all disturbed. Zombie’s first feature will not be for everyone, but House of 1,000 Corpses certainly leaves an impression.

31 Days of Halloween – Day 16

The Devil’s Rejects (directed by Rob Zombie, 2005) The sequel to House of 1,000 Corpses continues the carnage but takes a different approach than its predecessor. The Devil’s Rejects continues the story of the Firefly family months after the events of House of 1,000 Corpses. The family is cornered in their house by the authorities, and are out numbered and out-gunned. Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) and Otis Driftwood (Bill Mosley) manage to escape and flee the standoff, and meet up with clown-faced Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig). The twisted family are on the run from hard-nosed and equally as terrifying Sheriff Wydell (William Forsythe). Wydell seeks revenge upon the trio of killers for the murder of his brother who fell victim to the family. While on the lam, the murderous Firefly clan cannot subdue their thirst for violence, so they leave another trail of carnage in their wake. Think Bonnie and Clyde meet Natural Born Killers. Devil’s Rejects takes itself more serious than House of 1,000 Corpses, and it works. The tone is grittier and more intense. Zombie does a great job in creating a gang of anti-heroes out of characters that we should hate. The final scene in this film is beautifully done, complete with Lynard Skynard’s ‘Free Bird’ as the background song as our “heroes” make their last stand. This Halloween, give yourself a double dip of mayhem, and make it a back-to-back Rob Zombie night with House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devils Rejects.

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys
  • Day 13 – Child’s Play
  • Day 14 – Sleepy Hollow
  • Day 15 – House of 1,000 Corpses
  • Day 16 – The Devil’s Rejects

Riff of the Day 10/13/15 – White Zombie THUNDER KISS ’65

White Zombie – Thunder Kiss ’65 (from the album La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One, 1992 Geffen) Easily one of my favorite bands from the 90’s, I saw White Zombie perform in Vancouver in 1996. The stage performance was visually insane, Zombie-style. This band was truly an original, not really fitting into any typical mold as far as music goes, and this album crushes. Muscle cars, monsters, and go-go dancers; what else could you ask for out of band?

T.

31 Days of Halloween *Day 3* – ROB ZOMBIE’S HALLOWEEN

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN – DAY 3

Rob Zombie’s Halloween (directed by Rob Zombie, 2007) Right from the opening scene, this re-telling of the John Carpenter classic grinds on the nerves. You instantly hate every character except for Michael, and his mother. Even the beloved Dr. Sam Loomis character in the original (Donald Pleasence), quite frankly, is an asshole in this story.
Most horror re-boots are not effective because audiences are desensitized to the subject matter, and also because most re-boots suck. I believe Rob Zombie did a commendable job with giving Michael a back story, and manufacturing some sympathy for a character that has never spoken a line of dialogue since his inception in 1978. The juxtaposition between the young, bullied Myers boy and the savage killing machine he becomes is a nice touch. The story is much the same at the very core as the classic. As a child, Michael kills his sister, becomes institutionalized, and escapes years later, then returns to Haddonfield to finish of his only remaining relative, his sister Laurie. Where Zombie’s vision differs is in the amount of corpses left Michael’s wake, and the amount of bloody violence that we see on screen. The original is void of blood, and relies on atmosphere and shadows to give us the chills. 2007’s Halloween uses abrasive characters, brute force, and violence to tell the story. The effect is not the same, as Carpenter’s Halloween will always be the champion slasher film. If Rob Zombie would have “re-made” Halloween, it would have fallen flat on its face. Instead, he chose to “re-tell” the story, adding elements to make it a very watchable film. This updated version even keeps the Michael Myers legacy alive more so than six sequels (not including the original Halloween II, because that movie kicks ass) ever did. Actress Scout Taylor-Compton plays the part of Laurie Strode (made famous by Jamie Lee Curtis), and is great as a more contemporary, sassy sister to the maniac, Michael. Something else I really enjoyed, and is prevalent in all of Zombie’s films, is a great mix of 70’s rock as the soundtrack. Any movie that kicks off the opening scene with Kiss’ ‘God of Thunder’ is bound to be a good time. Love it or hate it, the film is polarizing, and bloody enjoyable. Give it a watch. You may like it. After all, it is Halloween.

Cool factDanielle Harris, who played Michael’s niece, Jamie Lloyd, in Halloween 4 and Halloween 5, plays the character of Annie Brackett. A nice bit of nostalgia for us horror nerds.

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Recap:

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween

T.