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Rob Zombie: A Defense and Retrospective

Few figures in modern horror are as controversial as the infamous rocker-turned-director, Rob Zombie. Heralded by some as one of the few true “auteur” filmmakers working in the genre today, while simultaneously considered a talentless hack by others, there’s quite the disparity in opinions regarding Zombie within the horror community. While he still benefits from a loyal fan-base, his last few films have been extremely divisive, leaving many to wonder if his early cinematic success was merely a fluke.

As a matter of fact, the once celebrated director of neo-grindhouse classics like House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects has recently come under fire from even the most devoted of fans due to his latest endeavor, the crowd-funded slasher 31. Even as a long-time admirer of Zombie’s work, I can’t quite bring myself to defend 31 as a good movie in and of itself, but it’s obvious that the horror community’s treatment of Zombie after its release is, at the very least, extremely unfair.

To understand why Zombie is still relevant (and perhaps even necessary) in the modern horror scene, we need some perspective on his cinematic upbringing. From the very beginning, the effects of horror on Rob’s music were unmistakable, and it was obvious that this was something he was passionate about. Before turning his attention to film, Zombie had already developed skills as a director with his music videos and concerts, which were all heavily influenced by classic scary movies like Frankenstein and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. It was only a matter of time before he’d try his luck in a different artistic medium.

Originally filmed in 2000, Rob’s first film, House of 1000 Corpses, was released nearly 3 years later, as even then studios weren’t sure about how to deal with his brutal and unique vision. Although now it’s fondly remembered as the movie which introduced us to some of the only original and memorable horror villains of the 2000s, the film was a critical bomb at the time, only developing a cult following years later. Re-watching it nowadays and comparing it to Zombie’s most recent projects, the director’s inexperience is glaring, but the film still carries that messy, passionate charm that put Rob on the map in the first place. Also, Doctor Satan. You have to love Doctor Satan.

Run, rabbit, run!

Having found his footing in the 70s-inspired grindhouse aesthetic, Zombie soon moved on to what is largely considered his magnum opus, The Devil’s Rejects. While technically a sequel to House of 1000 Corpses, the film had its own unique visual and narrative identity and cemented the director as an influential force in the movie industry. This resulted in him being chosen to helm the notorious Halloween remake, which is arguably where most of the controversy surrounding the director began.

In all honesty, no matter who had been chosen to direct the remake, a great deal of moviegoers would still wind up hating the resulting movie. John Carpenter’s film is an undeniable classic, and no one could ever hope to replicate its success. This is precisely why I actually like Zombie’s take on the story, and especially the sequel. He knew that he could never truly duplicate or replace Carpenter’s talent or style, so he created an amalgamation of his own artistic sensibilities and Carpenter’s vision, producing a unique movie with some familiar elements.

These films may not be perfect, but I believe they succeed a lot more than they fail in their attempt to deconstruct the slasher genre by humanizing both Michael Myers and his victims. Strangely enough, the Halloween remake’s (and its sequel’s) biggest flaw might just be the eternal comparison to Carpenter’s original, as these movies, when viewed on their own, are actually quite fascinating. Halloween II is particularly ballsy in its artsy presentation of a deeply psychological story, even if it doesn’t always work or feel coherent. At the very least, Zombie dared to take a risk with the franchise, which is more than most remakes can say.

In between these films, Zombie also worked on the animated adaptation of his own comic-book, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto. While it’s certainly not on the Disney level of animated storytelling (or musical numbers, for that matter), it was an entertaining romp through a world of schlock and terror and gave us a glimpse of Zombie’s mindscape when making these movies. The film also featured some inexplicably smooth and stylish animation, almost incompatible with its low budget. While his films have always had darkly comedic undertones, this is his most humorous outing to date, and it makes me wonder what a Rob Zombie directed live-action horror comedy might look like.

Why even make a film if it’s not going to star Paul Giamatti as Doctor Satan?

In 2012, Zombie graced us with Lords of Salem, which is, to date, the biggest departure from his usual style. This one was also extremely divisive, with some fans calling it a Kubrick-esque masterpiece, while others deemed it an incoherent mess. Personally, I found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable picture, not to mention scary as hell, but the ending didn’t quite do it for me. Again, however, I feel that Zombie’s unorthodox approach to storytelling and creative execution make up for most of the movie’s flaws. Even so, I’m still not sure what the deal was with that freakish child-Satan thing.

Now, this brings us back to 31. At this point, no one can reasonably say that they expected this film to please everyone, especially when considering Zombie’s previous work, but this seems to be his most hated film to date. Naturally, in a definitive ranking of my favorite Rob Zombie movies I’d place this one last, but even then it’s not a completely awful experience. As is usually the case with Zombie’s flicks, there several creative elements that keep this from being just another bad slasher film (Do I even need to mention Richard Brake’s phenomenal performance?).

These recurring positive elements don’t always make up for the tangled scripts and overused psychotic hillbilly tropes, but they prove that even Zombie’s “failures” have some merit to them, and can still be worth a watch. Interesting flops, if made with passion, can sometimes be more rewarding than a formulaic success. Rob Zombie is one of the few horror filmmakers that managed to carve out his own path in the genre, and even when he stumbles, the result is always intriguing. In an age where audiences everywhere crave originality, what more could you ask for?

Ultimately, your opinion of Zombie’s body of work will depend on your definition of a good movie. More specifically, whether you think it’s more important for a film to take a risk and have its own identity, or to do its best at following a successful formula. At the end of the day, 31 is still a bad movie, but the horror community would do well to appreciate the fact that Rob Zombie is still willing to do his own thing in a world where most filmmakers are forced to either conform or give up. One bad movie doesn’t make him a bad director, and it sure as hell shouldn’t keep him from making more. For now, I’ll be here eagerly awaiting his next film.



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COMMENTS

127 Comments
  • Cody

    I personally preferred 31 over Lords of Salem. These two are definitely his weakest film, but 31 at least kept my attention. I feel like if we actually got the director’s cut as we were promised, it very well could have been better.

    • James

      I personally thought Salem was one of his better films (aside from the rough montage at the climax). It was certainly some of his best writing to date.

    • Nahuel Benvenuto

      Lords of Salem is a movie, it has a story, characters, dialogues, it is very nicely shot and made, 31 has nothing of that

    • Dan Warren (Forgottenretroworl

      Lords of Salem mostly suffered because they cut too much out. Shame, really.

  • Ocelot006 .

    I don’t recall Zombie coming under fire for 31. Anyone wanna refresh my memory?

    • Nahuel Benvenuto

      i will gladly do: is a shit movie, but only since it was released we all had hopes for it being good after Lords of Salem, and 31 was a step back, like somethin he would have done after/before House of 1000 corpses

      • Ocelot006 .

        Every movie has people that don’t like it. Not sure how that qualifies as ‘coming under fire’.

    • oh_riginal

      31 being under fire was news for me too. I thought it actually was a bit under the radar for a Rob Zombie movie. Guess that shows what I know.

  • dukeblues

    Loved Halloween and H2. These were well made movies, despite the over the top cursing. The look, feel, tone, etc was perfect.

    • C.

      Bullshit. H1 is easily one of the worst films I have ever seen in my fucking life.

  • the usual suspect

    I am a RZ fan and have enjoyed most of his films. I was super excited for 31 upon arrival. What was not to like about killer clowns in a fun house, but when I finally saw it, I was disappointed beyond words to express and I will never get that 2 hours back in my life. Here’s hoping he bounces back cause I truly do love his other films.

  • Blood Boil

    Any flack he received for 31 is justifiably deserved. That movie was insufferable. I’d rather be Clockwork Oranged to every movie Jennifer Garner has starred in than watch that piece of shit ever again.

    • James

      31 was just so painfully amateur and atrocious. It was a huge step back for him.

      • Nahuel Benvenuto

        is a shame because the first scene is great, then the priest get axed and i got a feeling like “that effect was badly made, but who cares about effects” and then the rest of the “movie” comes in…

        • James

          The opening scene was easily the best part of the film.

    • augster3

      I just watched 31 today and I can say that it’s easily his worst film yet. Terrible writing, shitty dialogue, horrible acting and a lazy plot. None of it was scary or creepy for that matter. It was just weird, but not in the right way. A nazi dwarf who speaks only Spanish? What?!? Also, the villain’s names were so fucking stupid and cringeworthy. Doom-Head? Schizo-Head? Sex-Head? Was he fucking stoned out of his mind while he wrote this? One caveat: Richard Braker; easily the only standout performance.

      • Dan Warren (Forgottenretroworl

        LOL

    • C.

      H1 did this for me. It was such a huge dick in the face after the great TDR film. I honestly had no clue what the fuck had happened. I thought at the least I was going to get a competent Halloween remake.

  • WhistleBleepBlip

    I’ve maintained the same position on Zombie’s directorial work for a long while now and that is he would really benefit from a co-writer on his scripts. Or even more preferably he should direct a script he hasn’t written a word of.

    He has a great eye, sense of mood and pace and pretty much every other quality a good director needs but his scripts, especially dialogue are terrible.

    My dream is that one day Quentin Tarantino will have a nightmare, write a script about it and give it to Zombie to direct. 😉

    Seriously though I’ve found something to like in everything he’s made. I think he’s really done some interesting stuff and despite his constant comments about moving away from horror I hope he sticks with it. He seems to have a truly great movie in him across the board. As good as TDR and LoS are they are flawed and I think 31 had flashes of greatness in it. It’s just never come together completely yet.
    I hope someday it does.

    • Luca Vasto

      yeahhh absolutely agree with you man, Quentin and Rob together???

      My dream 😉

      • C.

        Yeah would be very cool.

        • Luca Vasto

          😉

    • ky

      I wish I could upvote this twice. I couldn’t have said it any better, my sentiments exactly.

    • augster3

      I’ve been saying this for years. In fact, I think it was the Halloween remake that really sealed the deal. Robert (Zombie) Cummings needs someone to polish his scripts. He writes exactly same way for each of his films, and that’s not really good for whatever sub-genre of horror he might be adapting. Again, just look at the Halloween remake. The whole beginning of the movie is proof of what you and I have been saying. That isn’t how anyone talks! He also needs to learn how to direct something that isn’t tailor made for him. He seems like a control freak, so I don’t think that will ever really happen.

      • WhistleBleepBlip

        Yeah, I actually really appreciate his Halloween movies but dear lord is the dialogue awful. Especially the first Halloween.
        I remember seeing it in the theater opening weekend and my girlfriend at the time hated it, entirely because of the dialogue of the teenage girls. She just kept saying “girls don’t talk like this”. Not because they were talking dirty or swearing but because it sounded like a teenage boys idea of how teenage girls talk.

        You make a great point on him seeming like a control freak. I get it, these are his ideas and stories but his attitude is always “if you don’t like it you’re wrong or you don’t get it”. It’s never because he maybe has flaws.

        • C.

          That film still makes me want to kill myself. I wanted to walk out of the fucking theater. I was expecting greatness after TDR, and what I got was one BIG pile of shit. The dialogue was fucking terrible for everyone. The acting I could not tell if it was good because the writing was so fucking bad at every turn. And the killings dear fucking god it was like watching some kind of violence porn just for the sake of violence. Jesus that movie was fucking awful as shit. And then the phony as fuck throwbacks throughout. Oh man the updated and old fashioned sections did not meld at all. The horror.

    • PsychoMantis18

      Probably better writers out there for RZ horrors but you make a great point – he’s a director, not a screenwriter.

      I would argue that his stories are good though, just not so much the words coming out of his characters mouths.

    • J Jett

      WhistleBleepBlip, VERY well said. i agree w/ every word you said. i especially LOVE your idea regarding Tarantino!

  • Luca Vasto

    I ADORE Rob, in my opinion he is one of the best director ever!!!!

    And i like he so much as musician, i saw he two times in concert, and both times he was very kick ass

  • WOLF

    “whether you think it’s more important for a film to take a risk and have its own identity, or to do its best at following a successful formula”
    I’m tired of this excuse for Zombie’s movies. H2 didn’t suck because it wasn’t like the original series. It was just a horrible movie. It made people laugh in the theater at how absurd it was.
    I had hope for Zombie early on, but I gave up.

    • PsychoMantis18

      That’s a shame, next!

  • Briand

    I actually didn’t mind 31. I only recently saw it, just because of all the guff it’s got. I just take it for what it is. To me it was like a more violent running man. I feel robs gotten shit on by everyone it seems, I actually feel badly for him.
    That being said, I think the industry can’t afford to have movies that aren’t well received. Who’s going to put out the bucks? I don’t want to watch a remake of the grudge:( booooo.

    • Nahuel Benvenuto

      is a incoherent, boring, cheap piece of crap, i get that he was going for a kinda oniric feeling but it just didnt work, there was no plot, no character, it was a disaster

      • PsychoMantis18

        There were characters, and a plot, and it worked. And why is cheap bad?

  • Sam Beckett

    Stop. Casting. Your. Wife

    • ky

      I don’t have a problem with him casting her in all of his films, I think she has talent. But let’s not put her in the spotlight in every one; give her a minor role, or have her play someone/thing so done up that you can’t hardly recognize her. Her sexy hillbilly/redneck sister role is very played out at this point.

      • Creepshow

        Seriously though, she needs to sit out a few games. She’ll be placed on the injury report under the category of “viewer fatigue”.

    • ryanstaylor

      She takes me out of the movie every time I see her. I tolerated her in TDR but she stands out like a sore thumb in everything else. She also ruined the trailer Zombie did for Grindhouse. Her hillbilly-hick-Nazi scene ruined it for me.

    • Dan Warren (Forgottenretroworl

      Don’t you like blondes with cute arses?

      • Sam Beckett

        Indeed I do. Prefer brunettes though.

    • J Jett

      i actually like Sheri a lot (as a person very much. she seems really sweet). her acting in his earlier films (especially 1,000 CORPSES) was atrocious but she’s gotten markedly better IMO. i thought she was great in HALLOWEEN.

  • Blade4693

    If we are being honest I like most of his movies.

    House Of 1000 Corpses – I like

    Devil’s Rejects – I like

    Halloween – I like

    H2 – It’s ok, I don’t think I can say I actively like or dislike this one.

    Salem – I actually didn’t like this one

    31 – See H2 ^

    • PsychoMantis18

      ‘If we are being honest I like most of his movies.’ – who was being dishonest about the movies of his you like?

      • Blade4693

        That was less about somebody here being dishonest and more about how over time I have known people who like his films but sometimes pretend they don’t because they don’t want people to shit on them for liking a Zombie movie

        For a good while I would often pretend I didn’t care for his Halloween movies (when I really did) because for a while it was considered blasphemous for a Halloween fan to like his take on the series.

        Hence the “being honest” line.

        • Creepshow

          1) Be yourself.
          2) Speak your mind.
          3) Who gives a fuck what others think.
          4) And um…Don’t Worry, Be Happy.

          • Blade4693

            Oh yeah I know trust me I do now, but the younger version of myself didn’t lol

        • PsychoMantis18

          Well good on you for owning up and not pandering to the moronic juveniles – RESPECT!

    • C.

      It’s okay to have bad taste. H1 is a terrible piece of shit of a film.

      • Blade4693

        Good and bad is pretty subjective. IMO H1 isn’t the best Halloween film, but it isn’t the worst either. I will take Zombie’s Halloweens over some of the later films any day (Curse, Resurrection)

      • KSE1977

        Lol seriously dude? He likes a movie you don’t, something subjective, and you decide that he has bad taste. I must have missed the memo where the powers that be determined that H1 is as bad as you say it is and any suggestion otherwise is universal, incontrovertible proof that one’s taste is bad. I am sure if you provided a list of your top 10 horror films, that some would suggest that your personal taste was also not adequate.

  • Mike O’Donnell

    As a longtime fan of Rob, I feel Rejects is, and always will be, his best film. I consider it a masterpiece. I even enjoyed 31, aside from some of the painful dialogue that opened the film.

    • Dan Warren (Forgottenretroworl

      Painful dialogue? Richard Brake’s every scene was gold.

  • Nahuel Benvenuto

    i just want to say that 31 and Superbeasto are two of the worst movies i have EVER seen in my life, and i have watched Plan 9 From Outher Space, so there is that

    • Dan Warren (Forgottenretroworl

      Bollocks.

    • wedellbudwhite

      Not much else though it seems

  • Cappy Tally

    The thing about Rob Zombie’s movies is that they’re all saying things. Most of them, with one exception (and you can probably guess which one), are all commentary about either the horror genre (and its fandom) or about the mythologizing of killers and madmen in our culture. He made his intentions clear from the beginning, as the premise of HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES revolves around a group of young people who indulge their fascination with serial killers, at first on a murder ride where real life killers are distorted into cartoonish arch-villains and then in their search for Dr. Satan, only for them to learn the brutal reality. It’s fascinating how Rob uses an exploitation film style to actually critique our culture’s own exploitation of brutality for our entertainment. It’s almost like he makes anti-exploitation films masked as exploitation films.

    The big exception is LORDS OF SALEM, which is an ode to the power of music and the way music can influence and inspire people, and in some cases even change people’s lives. The entire thing is basically the story of a DJ who is profoundly moved and changed by a song unlike anything she’s ever heard, and how she becomes a fan. The climax of the film with the ritual in the theater is clearly a symbolic rock show, a concert performance with an audience of dedicated fans. The film basically compares music fandoms, particularly those devoted to genres outside the mainstream, to cults and witch covens, both persecuted by hypocritical puritans who preach good values but take advantage of the weak behind closed doors (recall the scene with the priest). Frankly, the themes that LORDS OF SALEM works with go beyond just music culture, too. Fans of the horror genre know what it’s like to be marginalized within film circles as much as, say, fans of metal know what it’s like to be marginalized within music circles.

    • Creepshow

      I’m not seeing your connection on how this film was basically about Heidi becoming moved by new music she heard, and how she becomes a fan.

      She was a recovering addict that listened to a record. And then she progressively got weirder and weirder after listening to it. She was put into a trance, not dreaming to become a roadie. 🙂

      • Härra Pärnits

        You are taking art literally.

        • Creepshow

          Goddammit, I did it again. The same thing happened with the Exorcist. All this time I thought it was about demons and possession, when in reality it was about a little girls struggle with a severe peanut allergy.

          • J Jett

            LOL! 🙂

      • PsychoMantis18

        While I am an RZ fan, bullshit is bullshit.

        • Creepshow

          And 1000 Corpses didn’t revolve around a group of young people’s fascination with serial killers. They were hoping to write a book about off-beat roadside attractions. I guess we can make up whatever we want now about the plots of every movie we see.

          • PsychoMantis18

            Simplify it all you want; House of 1000 Corpses was clearly a seething indictment against rural values and their post-enlightenment valuelessnessnessness.

    • PsychoMantis18

      I don’t think RZ would agree with you.. at all.

      I think his films are coming from a different place.

  • Jada Maes

    As a bone-deep horror fan, I love everything he does. I mean, it’s all carnage and blood and tits. What’s not to like?

    • So, you, as a “bone-deep horror fan” think that horror is all about carnage and blood and tits. Let me guess, you say the exact same thing about Eli Roth, right? Goddamn, “bone-deep horror fans” suck.

      • Jada Maes

        Nah, Roth is bollocks. I appreciate all types of horror: Psycho, Rosemary’s Baby, Return of the Living Dead, Southbound, I Sell the Dead, The Orphanage, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Dracula… There’s something for every mood. And sometimes you want to turn your brain off and just watch the heads fly 🙂

      • KSE1977

        I would say horror fans that are dismissive of what other people enjoy is what kind of sucks. I am glad we are all different and that different things excite each of us. For something as relatively niche as horror, let each person enjoy what they like, without name calling.

        • Jada Maes

          Exactly. Horror is the rebel of entertainment. Leave the nitpicking and snobbery to the “serious” films.

  • Love or hate him, he’s clearly making honest films. Frankly, he’s mostly miss for me. I think Devil’s Rejects nailed his aesthetic in the best possible way, while Salem was his most interesting film.

    • C.

      After how fucking terrible H1 was I gave up. I’ll come back at some point to see Salem I guess, but I’m not expecting much. TDR was amazing, and remains a classic.

  • oh_riginal

    I think 31 is destined to only be appreciated in the years after release, when it gains its eventual cult following. I didn’t hate the movie at all, and even liked it better after a rewatch. It’s no Devil’s Rejects though.

    I HATED Halloween 2 when I first seen it, and avoided it like the plague until I picked up the boxset from Scream Factory a few years ago. Upon revisiting it I was blown away! That was my first time seeing the director’s cut, and it was a huge improvement, at least for me. I prefer it over Zombie’s first Halloween now.

    The only movie I still haven’t had a chance to watch is Lords of Salem. I do plan on changing that soon though.

    I don’t think Rob Zombie is the greatest director, but I do appreciate that he isn’t a director-for-hire hack with no vision to call his own. When you watch one of his movies, you recognize his style, assuming you’re familiar with his filmography. That is a good thing.

    Keep ’em coming, Rob!

    • PsychoMantis18

      Go, you!

  • Satanzilla

    Rob Zombie’s recipe for lemonade:

    Fill glass with sugar
    Add one drop of lemon juice
    Drink

  • There’s no need to defend 31. This is not just a bad movie, it’s a badly made movie and it stinks.

    • wedellbudwhite

      What’s the difference between a bad movie and a badly made movie? Stupid fucking post

      • PsychoMantis18

        ^This^

        Funny how RZ detractors often make little sense.

      • A badly made movie can still be entertaining. A bad movie is just bad, doesn’t matter how much money and effort was spent on.

        You moron.

        • wedellbudwhite

          So it’s a bad movie and a badly made movie? So you find 31 by your own definitions to be entertaining.

          And no a badly made movie and a bad movie are the same thing, if you make a film badly it’s a bad movie, if a film is bad it’s been made badly. I’m not a moron because I don’t use some convoluted definitions that even you can’t seem to stick to

          Again a stupid fucking post from you

          • I give you three examples:

            “Troll 2”: badly made, but nevertheless super-entertaining.

            “Independence Day: Resurgence”: despite big budget, top cast, experienced director etc. this movie is just fucking bad.

            “31”: badly made (shoddy editing, lousy script, lazy direction) and bad because super-boring, horribly annoying characters, no story at all. This is so bad, it’s bad.

            Got it, cunt?

          • wedellbudwhite

            I’ve got that you are a fucking moronic piece of garbage

            Everything you complained about 31 is a complaint that can be made about troll 2, how can you not understand a badly made movie and a bad movie are the same thing. Just because you enjoy one and not the other doesn’t give badly made and bad movie deferent meanings

            Horribly annoying character boring and no story are part of your badly made (shoddy editing , lousy script( by the way the no story complaints part of the script) lazy directions) it’s all part of making the movie and if done badly it makes a movie bad.

            All I’ve got from your fucking ramblings is if you enjoy it it’s a badly made film if you don’t it’s a bad bad film

    • PsychoMantis18

      There is a need if you like it yet often come across moron’s with the opinion that ‘it bad cause it bad’.

  • Full Effect Ed

    Corpses definitely wasn’t a box office bomb

  • Bloodspatta

    Rob Zombie sucks, period. His only good movie is Devils Rejects. I don’t see how the horror community continues to jizz their pants over this guy and his awful excuses of movies.

    • PsychoMantis18

      ‘I don’t see’ – key point.

    • C.

      Sadly, I have to agree yet I don’t hold that kind of shitty opinion of the guy at all. He is trying on low budgets. I think he will make another great film.

  • cinetredici

    I think of Rob Zombie as a guy who really loves horror, good horror, and who has his heart and mind in the right place as far as trying to contribute to the community. But he is not a filmmaker. He is not a true storyteller. There are basic qualities that filmmakers have, that storytellers have, that he simply doesn’t. He is like a super fan of a sports team or a band, and thinking that love, that passion, can make him a competitive athlete or musician. But it doesn’t work that way. Every movie he has ever made has that “pretender” quality to it. You can tell what kind of movie he wants to make, he just can’t. At his best, his films are like an incredible cover band trying to capture the feel and style of other people’s work. At his worst, he seems like the most incompetent working filmmaker today.

    • Flu-Like Symptoms

      I think this is about as fair and unbiased of a review as one could possibly get about RZ. Well put.

      • PsychoMantis18

        It’s not fair and unbiased cause you agree, snowflake.

        • Flu-Like Symptoms

          Still swinging around down there, huh? Diggin’ that smell I guess. Sidenote; a RZ fan calling someone a snowflake…. hilarity just isn’t the word.

          • PsychoMantis18

            Do go on, as usual yet to explain your displays of idiocy.

          • Flu-Like Symptoms

            There there, little guy. I’m sure mom will put some windows in your life and make you some pancakes if you ask her. RZ will still blow fat donkey nut, but you’ll feel a little better (maybe, probably not). Troll on, retard.

          • PsychoMantis18

            Yup… more babble and no support for your clearly moronic claims; well done.

            And i’m the retarded troll..

          • Flu-Like Symptoms

            Correct, and not even an amusing one.

        • J Jett

          PsychoMantis, why are you so irked/angry with some of these comments?

          • PsychoMantis18

            Disagreeing with something doesn’t make me irked/angry. I see stupidity and I must destroy it.

    • PsychoMantis18

      I think you need to open your mind to visual storytelling before you try and nail RZ into your ignorant evaluative hole.

      And “pretender” quality? No-one makes movies like RZ.

      This comment comes from a lack of understanding; unfortunately for you, others get where he’s coming from.

      • cinetredici

        My problem with RZ movies is not a visual storytelling issue. Visual storytelling in spite of traditional linear storytelling is fantastic if it’s done right. Argento, Lynch, Kubrick, etc. The problem for me is that Zombie appears to be trying to do both, but failing twice. His visuals and style are very derivative and lack a clear vision, which is a shame because that is probably his biggest strength as a filmmaker. But when you add uninspired visual storytelling to, honestly, amateur writing, direction, and acting, you end up with a mess.

        Oh, and there’s a reason why no one makes movies like RZ.

        • PsychoMantis18

          Babble sorry – you make a list of all these reasons you think his visuals are shit but then refer to them as his biggest stength and say they aren’t an issue; you add his direction to your list of problems even though that is what you’ve been criticising; and how does he lack a “clear vision” when it’s been on display since he began, which, as you say, could be labelled ‘derivative’.

          Think you need to learn more about film in order to avoid confusing a reasonable argument with baseless opinion in the future.

          • cinetredici

            -His visuals are his strength, simply because his editing, directing, and writing skills are so poor. The bar for “strength” is very low.

            -I’m not sure what vision you feel has been on display since he began, but what I see is a collage of moments and sequences from other films he must have admired, smashed together with a little extra stereotypical ugly white trash flair.

            -I apologize for my apparent lack of film education, and I promise to try harder next time.

          • PsychoMantis18

            Jesus… I give up.

          • cinetredici

            Wait, what happened to the “reasonable argument”?

            But seriously, all Internet sarcasm aside, I do think I understand why people like his films and admire what he is doing. He certainly seems to be making his movies, his way, on his own terms. He is not a studio stooge, or a director for hire pidgeonholed into horror as a last grab at a career. He has an appreciation for horror, that most directors working in the genre don’t or can’t seem to understand. This is what I was trying to express in the OP. My problem is that I just wish his movies were better. If someone not named Zombie were releasing these movies we wouldn’t have paid any attention. I have seen better movies than anything he has ever made, get released, and then nothing. They are never heard from again. But in RZ’s case he just keeps making movies, and people just keep making excuses for why they are so disappointing.

    • Modok

      That’s a good analysis. In some ways, I think it might the opposite: he knows what kind of movie he wants to make, and he does make it. And therein lies the problem.

      31 shows that the flaws in Zombie’s movies are of his own doing. It’s not just that he’s stuck in grindhouse mode, it’s that–incongruously–he aims for camp. So instead of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you get community theatre.

      When you watch movies like 31, Lords of Salem and even parts of his earliest movies, you wonder why a director would encourage such bad line-readings, awkward pauses and over-the-top performances. I guess that’s what Zombie feels grindhouse is: low-budget, gory movies full of borderline-amateur actors. So that’s what he re-creates.

      31 did not have to be lousy. It had a decent if unoriginal premise, and a more serious director could’ve made a good horror movie out of it. But Zombie was seemingly pre-occupied with wacky, campy performances, and it really damaged the final product. But again, it’s not just a matter of his modest talent as a director, it’s that these are the artistic choices he makes.

      • cinetredici

        That’s a fantastic observation, and you may be right. That would explain a lot. I think that also relates to the issues I had with Planet Terror a bit. These grindhouse-style movies that we all love, weren’t poorly made on purpose. They were the results of low budgets, cheap actors, and tight shooting schedules. The filmmakers were trying to make great movies, but this was the best they could do. It’s almost an insult to low-budget horror, to intentionally make crap films in an effort to capture some type of nostalgic “charm”.

        • Modok

          well said!

      • C.

        The fact is TDR was elevated by some gutsy as fuck performances and some actually really good writing that was just this side of camp but oh so perfect for the characters at hand. He has never duplicated this in any form and I don’t know why….

  • dsxy

    House/rejects just about watchable, not exactly classics. Even Use Boll and Zack Snyder have managed to do a decent film

    I don’t agree that Halloween would have been hated anyway, sure it’s tough to get remakes right/entertaining but dawn of the dead, crazies and evil dead have shown it is possible.

    I can’t understand why you need to do an in defense article on someone who has largely produced crap for the last 10 years.

    Crazy hick family killing spree retold slightly doesn’t sound like a misunderstood film that’s destined to become a cult classic.

  • Dan Warren (Forgottenretroworl

    Good review.

  • Mike Lawrence

    Good review.
    I enjoy all of Zombie’s flicks, he’s an original which is a rare find, and in general I think people are just way too critical of everything he does.

  • Peter Kushing

    All of Zombie’s work in both music and film has been entertaining as hell. I need a Dr. Satan movie though.

    • THGrimm

      Ahh! Yes!! That’s the dream.

    • gabriel

      I want the action figure too.

  • Paul Dabrowski

    Finally, a fair and accurate review of Rob Zombie and his film work. The horror genre is so over saturated with remakes and just plain crap, surprisingly which most of Zombie’s detractors give a pass to, that when something that doesn’t always work in every way but is still a fresh take -not always, but at times, gets panned to death. “31” isn’t a terrible film. Is it flawed? Surely. But if you look at it as Zombie’s version of the “Running Man” and what THAT movie should of been one can appreciate it a little more. Same goes with “Lords”. “Lords” is pretty much “Rosemary’s Baby” if it was filmed by Argento. Love or hate him, Zombie’s films are still far better than most of the horror crap out there. Or are we just so used to the 500th “Saw”, “Purge, or “Paranormal Activity” movies or their like shoved down our throats along with an endless cascade of remakes/reboots that we are so jaded when we get something different? Even slightly different?

    • PsychoMantis18

      Thankyou for appreciating a real horror filmmaker.

    • gabriel

      exactly.

  • Rob Rosado

    I like his filmmaking. I don’t love it, but there’s more than enough evidence for me to acknowledge his talent. However, I do feel that he is someone who would benefit greatly from a co-writer and a more shrewd editor. Atmosphere, tone, camerawork, his actors… these aspects are consistently top-notch. But, the weakest parts of his films are tend to be clunky dialogue and erratic editing.

    Having said that “The Devil’s Rejects” is as close to perfection as he’s likely to get.

    • PsychoMantis18

      Clearly you need to rewatch H2 DC.

    • gabriel

      I would love to see him tackle a drama next

    • J Jett

      Rob, i agree 100%.

  • PsychoMantis18

    ‘At the end of the day, 31 is still a bad movie’ – please don’t give me your half-arsed opinion as fact.

    • Lady of the Profaned Capital

      Honestly, I didn’t think “31” was all that bad. And I’m someone who generally doesn’t like Rob’s work. Then again, I did watch it when I was three sheets to the wind, so……

  • J Jett

    Zombie has an excellent visual eye (much like RES EVIL’s Paul Anderson) but can’t write for shit. i actually very much like his H2. i wish Zombie would let someone else write his films while he (Zombie) directs it. i also want to see Zombie stop with his white/black trash characters comfort zone thing.

  • I love Zombie. Even when I don’t enjoy one of his pictures, I still manage to respect his voice. I happen to be one who thought Lords was an exciting step in a new direction for RZ. That said, I feel 31 was a step back. I felt like he was trying to appease fans who were disappointed by LoS. It was the first time one of his films felt lazy to me. That said, I’m still looking forward to what he’s got coming next.

  • C.

    I met Zombie during a tour of his after TDR, and I basically only wanted to talk to him about his film, which IMO is still a pretty great film and his only great film. People who say that TDR is not a great film can go fuck themselves because they are wrong. I think Zombie’s writing mostly fucking sucks but whatever he was smoking during that run worked. I still remember being in the theater amazed at how much better of a director he had become.

    In our meeting I asked him about some of his influences and where he was going with his directing career. He was a nice guy, very soft spoken and considerate. I also ended up getting his signature on my forearm after the concert in a drunken haze. But back to film. I am a pretty harsh film geek. I’ve seen a lot of film and shitty horror is not what I watch or want to see.

    Halloween fucking sucked, and there is nothing else to say. It was a soulless piece of shit with bad writing and acting all around. I never watched the sequel and never plan to. In fact, I was so fucking disgusted I never watched another of his films. I think Zombie has another couple great films in him, but I can’t say I have a lot of faith sometimes. I just casually look at his newer films and kind of sulk in my body because I know they aren’t going to live up to what I want. But I have faith he can put something great together again. This article is mostly pandering to the positive side of the spectrum that includes mostly shitty films. It is what it is. We will always have TDR though.

  • KSE1977

    I have always enjoyed Rob Zombie’s movies and even enjoy the ensuing discussions. The amount of hatred and vitriol that he brings forth in his detractors is quite impressive. It is always cool to see how people can have such vastly different experiences watching the same movie. As much as I love the original Halloween, I still really enjoyed Zombie’s version and especially the sequel. I had no issue grounding Michael Myers in reality (a little) and giving insight into his childhood. I also liked having Tyler Mane be Myers as an adult, because his feats of strength and barbarity were not at all supernatural, just a huge, strong person.

  • wedellbudwhite

    rob zombie gets way too much hate( I suspect because of the Halloween remakes). I’ve enjoyed all his films. Everyone seems to hate 31 but when I look back on horror from 2016 it’s near the top of the heap. I also think no one seems to take its budget into account I’m still shocked it only cost 1.5 million, I find it pretty impressive he pulled it off as well as he did.

  • Dan West

    Now play nice, fucktards, or mom will take your internet away. Everyone’s going all armchair John Carpenter here and calling each other nasty names. I think we can all agree on one thing, Rob Zombie certainly gets some horror nerds’ pampers in a twist.

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