Captain Spaulding

DVD REVIEW: The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

Welcome back to the Week of Rockin’ Movies.  Each movie we take a look at this week will have a significant connection to rock music.  If you missed Monday’s installment, click below.

MONDAY:  House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

THE DEVIL’S REJECTS (2005 Lionsgate)

Directed by Rob Zombie

As stated yesterday, I’m generally not a horror movie guy.  I grew up on all the classics (good or bad) in the 80’s, but I thought I just outgrew the genre. Then I saw Rob Zombie’s House Of 1000 Corpses, and its sequel The Devil’s Rejects.

Picking up several months after the end of Corpses, the cops are closing in on the murderous Firefly family. The house is surrounded, and a surprisingly cool gun battle ensues.  It is only the first of many surprises in this cool conclusion. It may be a sequel, but its stark realistic texture is completely different from the bizarre original film. Set mostly outdoors in the deep south, the titular Rejects are soon on the run. But not all of them.

Mama Firefly (recast from Karen Black to Leslie Easterbrook) has been arrested.  Rufus is dead, and the giant Tiny has escaped. Hitting the road, Baby & Otis meet up with Captain Spaulding, who is revealed to be Baby’s daddy!  The three are on the run from a cop out to even a personal score. Like something out of a Sergio Leone film, music and scenery complement each other to take you on a trip that will shock and disgust.  There are no heroes, only victims and killers.  This is not for everyone.

There are buckets full of blood, lots of parts removed from the body to which they were originally attached, and lots of deeds beyond evil. I must stress again: This is not for everyone. The images contained herein will disturb. You may question why they even need to exist.  I suppose Rob Zombie would be the guy to ask, I don’t know.  All I know is, sometimes I can go for a good horror movie, and The Devil’s Rejects scratches the itch.

Much like the original, there is humour to break up the carnage.  Cranked up a tad, Captain Spaulding portrayed by Sid Haig always has a foul line to elicit a reluctant chuckle.   I enjoyed that, but I also enjoyed the sudden change of gears that is the epic ending.  Going out in a blaze of glory, I will never hear Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” again without seeing the three faces of the Devil’s Rejects.

As seen here, I own this movie with House of 1000 Corpses in a great DVD 3-pack.  The disc has plenty of special features on its own, including a tribute to the late actor Matthew McGrory (Tiny).  Also look for a cool deleted scene with Rosario Dawson and Dr. Satan that ties the two films together.  Included on the bonus third disc is a feature called 30 Days in Hell, which is the making of The Devil’s Rejects.  I enjoyed seeing Zombie work on the finer details; for example finding a specific T-shirt (Cheap Trick) for Brian Posehn’s roadie character.

4/5 stars, and 1 blood-splattered face.

Sid Haig as Johnny Lee Johns
Bill Moseley as Otis Driftwood
Sheri Moon Zombie as Vera-Ellen Firefly
William Forsythe as Sheriff John Quincey Wydell
Ken Foree as Charlie Altamont
Matthew McGrory as Tiny Firefly
Leslie Easterbrook as Gloria Firefly
Danny Trejo as Rondo
Diamond Dallas Page as Billy Ray Snapper
Brian Posehn as Jimmy
Tom Towles as George Wydell
Tyler Mane as Rufus “RJ” Firefly Jr

DVD REVIEW: House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

Hey! Welcome to another week-long series at mikeladano.com!  This time, the theme is Rockin’ Movies.  Each movie we take a look at this week will have a significant connection to rock music.  Enjoy!

HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES (2003 Universal)

Directed by Rob Zombie

I’m generally not a horror movie guy, although I grew up on all the cheesy classics in the 1980’s. I thought I just outgrew the genre. Then my buddy Thuss implored me to see Rob Zombie’s House Of 1,000 Corpses.

Anchored by Zombie’s uncommon visual stylings and eclectic tastes, this House is rocking, don’t bother knocking. The setup:  An ill-fated foursome of young men and ladies are travelling cross country. They stop for gas and chicken at Captain Spaulding’s “Museum of Monsters & Madmen” (as played by the near-legendary Sid Haig). Spaulding is the best character written by Rob Zombie, both hilariously funny and mildly disturbing at the same time. Well, he’s a creepy clown. If you have a clown phobia, Spaulding’s the creepiest I’ve ever seen, but I can’t help but laugh every time he opens his sizable mouth.

Spaulding tips the kids (Rainn Wilson is the only “name” here) off to the creepy legend of “Dr. Satan”.  They then decide it’s a good idea to go hunting for Dr. Satan’s hanging tree in the middle of the night. In the rain. It is then that they meet the beautifully disordered Baby Firefly (Sherri Moon Zombie)…and get a flat tire. Things only go downhill for the young ones from there, as I’m sure you can imagine. Baby invites our young travelers to her family’s farm, where her brother can surely fix their flat tire.

Special mention must go to out to Bill Mosely who is terrifyingly unstable as the most amoral member of the Firefly family, Otis B. Driftwood. He only gets more interesting as a character in the sequel, The Devil’s Rejects…but that is another review.

Some horror purists can’t get into Zombie’s style. Indeed, he has a unique vision as any fan of his will know. If you like oddly proportioned monsters and robots, just go see him in concert. Zombie also likes to populate his films with 70’s southern stereotypes. Indeed, one would argue that the movie has no actual characters, just character types. That’s the kind of horror movie that I remember growing up with, and I believe his films pay homage to that very well. He also had a practical reason for setting his movies in the 1970’s.  No cellphones.  No-one to call for help.  No GPS. No way to call AAA and get a tire changed.  Isolation.

House of 1,000 Corpses is a visually disturbing film, and that’s one reason I can’t stop watching it. Other horror films are simply cheese-fests. Not this one. There are gallons of blood, body parts, and a couple monsters too, but all presented in a surreal nightmare setting that might have you avoiding country roads at night. Zombie went in a completely different direction in the next movie, so House of 1000 Corpses remains the “weird” chapter in this series.

Will there be justice on the Fireflys? Tune in tomorrow for my review of The Devil’s Rejects.

4/5 stars and 2 severed hands.

Sid Haig as Captain Spaulding
Bill Moseley as Otis B. Driftwood
Sheri Moon Zombie as Baby Firefly
Karen Black as Mother Firefly
Rainn Wilson as Bill Hudley
Tom Towles as Lieutenant George Wydell
Matthew McGrory as Tiny Firefly
Robert Mukes as Rufus “RJ” Firefly Jr
Dennis Fimple as Grampa Hugo Firefly