Deleted scenes have always fascinated me. Some of them are totally useless, while others would’ve made for interesting additions. We focus on the latter scenes in Deleted Screams.
As much as I love House of 1000 Corpses, Rob Zombie’s debut film, it’s The Devil’s Rejects that I consider to be his masterpiece – it’s also, for my money, one of the best American horror films released in the last twenty years. You can say what you want about Zombie as a filmmaker post-Devil’s Rejects, but there’s just no denying that he hit a home run with his second tale about the murderous (but oddly lovable) Firefly family. The ’05 film, a horror/western/road movie, is absolutely brilliant from top to bottom, capped off by one of the genre’s all-time great finales.
House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects, though technically part of the same franchise, couldn’t possibly be more different. Like Tobe Hooper’s two Texas Chainsaw Massacre films, they both feature the same characters, but one is an over-the-top cartoon while the other is a gritty, grounded-in-reality experience. Fans often compare House of 1000 Corpses to the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but it actually has way more in common with Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. As for The Devil’s Rejects, it’s a complete tonal departure in every sense of the term.
And it’s because the two films are so different from one another that Zombie had no choice but to nix certain aspects of House of 1000 Corpses when it came time to bring the characters back for the sequel. His 2003 debut introduced Firefly family member S. Quentin Quale (aka “Dr. Satan”), a character who was originally supposed to return for an appearance in The Devil’s Rejects.
Portrayed by Walter Phelan, Dr. Satan appeared in the final act of House of 1000 Corpses – with a medical mask over his face and gnarly surgical apparatus’ attached to his arms, Dr. Satan needless to say made a huge impression in his brief appearance. Naturally, The Devil’s Rejects being a sequel to Corpses, Zombie initially figured that he’d have to bring Dr. Satan back with the rest of the surviving Firefly family members. His idea was that Dr. Satan would be wounded in the opening shootout sequence and then taken to the hospital to commit one last barbaric act.
As you’ve surely seen by now, Zombie filmed that hospital scene, wherein Dr. Satan literally rips a nurse’s (played by Rosario Dawson) throat out. The bloody scene was like something out of a Lucio Fulci film, and the imagery of Dr. Satan in a hospital setting was incredibly cool. In fact, it’s one of my favorite deleted scenes of all time. That said, I’m glad Zombie got rid of it.
The Dr. Satan attack scene may be cool on its own, but I just don’t think it would work within the confines of The Devil’s Rejects. Zombie himself has stated that the reason he cut it is because the character of Dr. Satan would’ve tonally clashed with his vision for the follow-up, and I completely agree. As perfect as he was for House of 1000 Corpses, he just doesn’t fit in the real world that The Devil’s Rejects takes place in. It’d be like Chop Top showing up in the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre; the scene, cool as it may be, would’ve stuck out like a sore thumb.
Go figure. An awesome deleted scene that the movie was actually better off without. Just goes to show that sometimes cool ideas are left on the cutting room floor for good reason!