With MY BLOODY VALENTINE kicking ass at the box office and anticipation high for FRIDAY THE 13TH, remakes of 80’s splatter classics (and not so classics) continue; like it or not. As someone who has remade an exploitation favorite, (TWO THOUSAND MANIACS!), it’s hard for me to throw rocks while living in a glass house. For the most part, I wish Hollywood would be a bit more original and allow filmmakers to come up with something new. But if remakes are to continue, then I guess those opposed should hate the game, not the player.
So when a remake (or sequel to a remake) is announced, then we should be grateful that someone like Rob Zombie is behind the lens, and not some TV commercial director hired by a producer who gives more about the “buck” than the project. I have a lot of love for Rob Zombie. Besides the fact that I consider him among one of my best friends in this industry, I think he is one of the greatest American filmmakers alive today- a modern Scorsese. Every time I talk to Rob I wish I had a tape recorder present. The conversations are always that good. Rob is thoughtful. Passionate. Often pissed off. And always REAL. Which could also describe both his music and his films. At first, I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical when I heard about his pending HALLOWEEN sequel. Like most of Rob’s projects at the outset. But in the end, Rob always makes a true believer out of me. Read on and see what I mean.
|Tim Sullivan: I am sure by now you could practically do this interview with yourself, you’ve been asked these questions so many times: “So you said you’d never remake a horror film and then you did, and then you said you’d never do a sequel and now you’re doing it, blah, blah blah. “ But seriously, I was surprised to hear about HALLOWEEN 2, pleasantly surprised, because in many ways, I never felt that HALLOWEEN was done. I felt you were taking on an epic story and just weren’t given enough time to do it! So I’m actually happy because you’ll finally get a chance to fully tell your story.
Rob Zombie: Yeah, it’s a funny thing. When I was done with HALLOWEEN and the movie was in theaters and people would ask me if I would do another, I was like “No way!” And the main reason I would say that is because I was burnt out. Making that movie was… a really hard fucking thing to do. It was one of those movies where everything was a fight, a struggle. So when it was all done, I said, “I’m done”. But ya know, you say that after you go out on every tour. You’re just so burnt out, you brain can’t… you can’t get your head around doing it again. So, I went off and worked on some other scripts, and other movies got announced pre-maturely like T-REX that weren’t ready to go. And then, by that point I’d heard someone else was doing HALLOWEEN 2. Then I found out the job was still open because they hadn’t worked it out with whomever they had gotten. And I was kind of like… suddenly over night into the idea. And everyone I would tell was like, “Why would you want to do that? Don’t do that!” But as you kind of said, I felt like… my world had just sort of been established. And now I can really do something with it.
Exactly. In the same way CASINO ROYALE and QUANTUM OF SOLACE are really one long movie in two parts.
Bingo. So now we’ve gotten over the hump of “Who’s going to replace Jamie Lee Curtis?” and “Who’s going to replace Donald Pleasance?” I have those people now. It’s kind of the same with THE DEVIL’S REJECTS. I didn’t want to do a sequel to HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, I wanted to do something new. Again, I initially laid the groundwork with these characters in broad strokes. But now you can really do something with them, you don’t have to explain who everyone is. That’s why it may seem like one giant movie, just pick it up and go. Almost everyone is coming back. They still look the same. It just feels right. And I thought of something that I could do with the movie that seemed really interesting to me. It’s not based on anything. Even though I created the back-story for little Michael, I still basically followed the story of HALLOWEEN (with the first one). I was really torn between creating stuff that was new and giving people a little of the old. Now, it doesn’t matter! I can just do whatever the fuck I want. No one will have any expectations. And some people may think they’re going to watch a horror movie with Michael stuck in the hospital, but I’m not doing that. I can do something totally different.
|So this isn’t a remake of the original HALLOWEEN 2?
No, nothing to do with it at all.
Very cool. Is it going to pick right up where HALLOWEEN 1 left off?
||Well, it’s going to pick up right at the next second. Ya know, when I was making that movie, it was really funny… I had struggled with the Laurie Strode character through the whole movie. Within the sense that, I usually work with darker characters like Captain Spaulding and Otis. Those are the characters I really feel like I understand. By the time I got to the end of the movie when Laurie Strode was all smacked up and covered in blood, holding a gun, and screaming, I was like “THAT’S the Laurie Strode movie I want to make!”
That’s very true because as an audience member, I felt like there wasn’t enough Laurie Strode. And considering how you took such great pains to show us how Michael became Michael, it felt like Laurie finally became herself just as the credits rolled…
That’s kind of how I felt too. Here’s sort of the reason that happened. I originally envisioned it as 2 movies. I wanted the first movie to be little Michael in Smithsgrove Sanitarium ending basically when Michael gets the mask.
That movie would’ve been brilliant.
And then Part 2 would be basically Haddonfield. But unfortunately I couldn’t convince anyone to take the stance and make 2 films back to back. We edited like crazy, we took 4 hours worth of movie and cut it down to 90 minutes. And I tell people this, when I watch it, my favorite part is the first hour, because it’s very detailed and getting into little Michael. Then when we get to Haddonfield, I was feeling “Okay, time to wrap this shit up, kids!”
And it was just kind of a struggle the whole time. Now, I feel
it makes sense.
The other thing that’s great is you can expand it. You can
do what Coppola did with his GODFATHER series, where once you
get it all in the can, you can even it out so the first movie
does end with him putting the mask on. The second movie can be
Laurie’s film. Once again, a chance to revisit the film
Yeah. For this movie… this movie is really going to be Laurie’s movie. The first one is really Michael’s movie. But that was my goal too. Carpenter’s movie is really about Laurie, and I was more interested in Michael.
|Yes, and now we’re going to get your take on Laurie.
To me, when Laurie became… now she’s not the happy-go-lucky girl, now she’s very fucked up famous person, trying to make sense of this.
Scout Taylor-Compton must be thrilled. This will give her a chance to flex her chops in a way she wasn’t able to in the first film.
She hasn’t seen the script yet, so she’s not sure what’s happening. But I put a lot of good stuff into her character. It’s a real kick-ass film.
Is this going to have the sadistic viciousness of DEVIL’S REJECTS?
Well, I want to make a very different movie. It’s not like I’m trying to make that. That’s part of the reason we’re going to Georgia to a wide open place. That was the problem - I had felt the pains of shooting in Pasadena. I don’t know if it makes a difference shooting in the suburbs, but it’ll really open up the movie. Because if you open up too much, you would see Starbucks, there’s Carl’s T, there’s a palm tree. So now we’re going on location and really opening up and feeling that world.
This is your first time shooting on location, outside of LA, right?
Yeah, yeah. Now, it’s a location that I can use as a real character.
Now, we’ve talked in the past of our love of 70’s movies. This sounds like it could really be a 70’s revenge movie. DEATH WISH, TAXI DRIVER with Laurie Strode. It’s very exciting! What are the themes that are concerning you in the 2nd HALLOWEEN?
It’s not any kind of revenge movie at all. It’s more of a… God, what kind of movie is it? (Pause) I don’t even want to say because the whole vibe of it is still materializing. I want people to walk in and be surprised. It’s really hard because if I say this is happening, that’s happening, it’ll give it away. But it’s Laurie’s journey in the aftermath of what is an incredibly horrible way to figure out who she is.
Is it over time, is it in one night?
It takes place over some time, but it starts that night and then essentially, I mean… the first one, Laurie has no idea what just happened. But then she wakes up the next day and someone’s going, “Oh by the way, your parents are dead. All your friends are dead. And actually, your brother is uh, Charles Manson.” (Laughs) You know? “How do you feel about that?” See what I mean?
Wow. See I’m sold already on that.
Yeah! Because that’s really the place that she’s in. She is now… everyone she knows is basically dead, and she is related to the person that did it all and doesn’t even know who the fuck she is. So it’s really the journey of figuring out who she is.
|Will Loomis be back?
Most likely. It’s one of those things… I don’t know who’s back until everyone signs their deal! (Laughs) You never know what’s going to happen. I mean, me and Malcolm… Malcolm’s a wonderful guy, and we’re still good friends through this whole thing. We talk about it all the time. I’m pretty sure Malcolm is going to be back. But you never know.
Not so much Malcolm, but the character of Loomis. Let’s say Malcolm isn’t available, would you still have Loomis in it, or would you just not have the character?
I think I would just not have the character, because I think it’d be too weird. I think… I’m really excited to see Malcolm and Scout and all these people can really have the chance to stand freely – We just scratched the surface on the first movie.
Do you think you’ll have any flashbacks? Daeg Faerch has become a little horror icon himself. It’d be kind of fun to see more of him.
Yeah, there won’t be – there’s other weird things planned but there’s no flashbacks in the movie.
Well, I’m intrigued. Are you going to see MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D and the upcoming FRIDAY THE 13TH? I know it’s always hard to talk about other filmmakers because we respect them all, but once again, they’ve been saying “horror’s dead” and now everyone’s predicted a big return to “slasher” fare.
|Well, that’s good. I think everyone is banking on 3D to be the ticket.
If BOLT can do it. MY BLOODY VALENTINE can do it.
3D is getting better and it’s always new to somebody.
Would you be interested in doing something in 3D someday?
Ya know, I actually spoke a lot to the guys at Lionsgate, because at one point they brought MY BLOODY VALENTINE to me. And I think it was… I can’t recall if it was before HALLOWEEN or right after, but whatever it was, it wasn’t the right project. But I’ve spoken to them since about 3D. What I’m interested in is to see if you can use 3D without making it a 3D movie. Like just tell a story, but you don’t have to shove anything in your face. Just show the movie and see if it’s compelling & 3 dimensional, as opposed to constantly sticking things into the camera for that wacky effect.
Hitchcock did that best with DIAL M FOR MURDER.
People forget that was a 3D movie because it works so well as a 2D movie. Most 3D movies are awful without the technology.
HOUSE OF WAX was good either way more or less. There’s so many 3D movies in the pipeline already.
|Your new record, when’s that coming out?
I’ll probably put that out after I’m done shooting the movie. The record’s done and sitting on the shelf waiting to come out, but I don’t want to put it out while I’m shooting HALLOWEEN 2 because I can’t deal with it too much. I’m really excited about it, though. I actually have a track with a full orchestra. My composer, Tyler Bates, came in and did the whole thing.
So this the start of a trend? Movie, tour, movie, tour?
Seems like that. But I’ll probably put the record out at the end of the summer or something.
Does it have a name yet?
No, not really. We finished the record. Boom, then I literally picked up and left LA to start HALLOWEEN 2.
(Laughs) You gave birth and left the baby in the basket.
Last but not least, you wrote some really nice stuff about Forry Ackerman on your blog when he passed. He was a guy who influenced us all and I just wanted to leave with some more thoughts on that for those who didn’t get to read that blog. The influence of Forry on you, and his place in horror history.
I mean, it’s funny because I don’t really think of it – As a kid, I didn’t really understand the influence, ya know? Because it’s only when you have some distance from it where you realize “Wow.” That really had an impact on me.
It just always seemed to be around, right?
Yeah, it was just there. You couldn’t really appreciate it when it was there. But when you realize it wasn’t there until he put it there. If not for him, nobody would’ve cared. What he did was incredible and it was only in hindsight that you really appreciate it. You don’t appreciate things as much until it’s too late sometimes.
Even more then that, what I always liked about him, and what
now that really bothers me, he always seemed – he always
seemed fun! It was like, “Hey, we all like this stuff.”
He would treat the Al Adamson movies with the same respect as
the classic horror films. And that’s what I liked. It
wasn’t about being smarter then the material or being
bitchy about it or being a smart-ass. It’s just like we
like this and isn’t it great that it’s here. And
that’s the thing I miss. There’s no feeling like
that anymore. Now it feels like a bunch of smart-ass-one-up-man-ship
between everybody. You can feel it in the room. Everyone is
just standing around waiting for everyone else to fail! (Laughs)
They’re not looking forward to things and hoping they’re
good! They want it to fail so they can go, “See? I told
you it sucked! See I told ya!” Like I get that feeling
all the time and it’s really … If I was younger,
I would just accept that side of it, but that’s not what
it used to be like…
That’s not how we grew up, man! We were like cheerleaders.
Like “Wow, someone made a horror movie? Wow! Look at these pictures!
I want to see this.” It’s funny because as a kid I can’t
remember not liking a horror movie. No matter what Chiller Theatre
or Creature Feature showed, I liked it!
Yeah, that’s funny too!
I don’t remember being a critic of things, I remember
liking things more then other things, like liking one PLANET
OF THE APES movie better than another one, but not really being
so critical. And not being vindictive about it. Like I knew
I liked one kind of movie more then the other, but I sorta forced
myself to like ‘em all! You were just sort of into it
and you were just happy it was there! That it existed. And that
was Forry’s attitude 100%. That was Forry. And Famous
Monsters, God Bless him. And now there’s such a glut of
things, nothings special anymore. Everybody’s a critic.
I don’t know, it’s just a weird atmosphere and I
really don’t like it. I was just remembering how I remember
FAMOUS MONSTERS, VAMPIRELLA, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, THE MUNSTERS,
Creature Feature Double Feature. It was great! Now… everyone’s
a critic. Now, everyone’s literally rating everything
by how many skulls or souls or stars or whatever it gets. It’s
like who fucking gives a shit?
a critic because with technology now everybody thinks they can
be a filmmaker. When I was younger, it was something that seemed
beyond me. There’s a negative side to everything, the
more people can think they can go off and make a movie, the
more critical maybe they get of other people that do it as a
living. I don’t know.
Yeah, I always think that there’s a great statement to
be said about cynicism. What people say about other people says
a lot about how they feel about themselves. The more vindictive
someone is, I just read it and go “he’s so mean-spirited”.
It’s like the Woody Allen thing “Those who can’t
do, teach gym.” And those who can’t teach gym, blog,
(Laughs) And on that note!
BONUS RETRO INTERVIEWS!
Original link: http://www.upcominghorrormovies.com/shock/c17.php
Step aside, Adams Family. Move over, Munsters. The true marriage made in hell is that of one Rob and Sheri Moon Zombie. With a dog named Dracula and a cat named Frankenstein and a home filled with more ghouls than a castle in Transylvania, these guys are the monster kid’s dream come true. Growing up reading Famous Monsters and later Fangoria, painting Mummy models rather than running track, I can tell you personally the brand of “weirdo” was often cast across my teenage head. Not exactly the tattoo one desires when looking for a prom date. But Rob Zombie wore that tattoo all his life, turned it into a career in rock and fucking roll, combining, like Alice Cooper and KISS before him, a balls to the wall hard rock sound with a grand guignol theatricality which later lead to the chance to make his very own horror movie. Along the way he met Sheri Moon, who became his “Living Dead Girl”, shaking that perfect ass in all his music videos and then creating the role of “Baby” in HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES. Now they’re back with DEVILS REJECTS, a film that, for my money, propels Rob into the same cinematic stratosphere of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, and shows the world that yes, Virginia, Sheri Moon can really, truly act. So for all those out there that think being a monster dude means being alone, there is a monster chick out there waiting for you. A monster chick to share a haunted house with, to shock, rock and roll with, and to co-create one of the all time greatest horror/crime movies ever. So screw Tom and Katie, these guys are the real deal! Rob and Sheri- thanks for your friendship and props to you for proving that for every Frankenstein there is a bride!
You’re the first chick I’ve interviewed for SHOCK AND ROLL!
Awesome. (laughs). I feel privileged.
|Do you consider yourself a Monster Girl? Are you as much a fan of the stuff as Rob?
Well, no. I mean, Rob is a huge fan of all things ‘monster’, but he definitely opened the doors of monster culture and I dig everything he likes. Maybe not to the extreme he likes things, but I love being a part of everything, the influence that he’s had on me from the music videos to the films, it’s always so much fun.
Now you met Rob doing those music videos?
No, I met Rob twelve years ago through a mutual friend of ours.
And then you did the videos. Now having been in those videos, when Rob wrote HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, did he write the part of “Baby” for you?
||Yes. He initially wrote the part and then we talked about it, and worked on it together. I initially had no idea it would be so iconic. He did so many little projects and big projects and music projects and we like to work together, he always involves me, but that was definitely the scariest thing I undertook with Rob (laughs). Not scary because it was horror, but scary personally as a challenge, because I had never acted in film before. I just had the experience of doing the music videos.
That’s not an easy role to just step into.
No, no. But it was fun. A lot of hard work, but it was fun.
And now you have your own action figure!
I know! That’s so cool, my God! It really is cool, but you never know when you start something. You just hope you create something that people like and enjoy. I don’t step into this thinking, “Oh, I’m gonna have an action figure out of this!” I mean, those are all just bonuses.
|DEVILS REJECTS obviously takes a different direction than the first film. What kind of input did you have on the direction Baby would take?
Rob, of course, wrote everything, but there was some aesthetic points of view where I wanted to really tone down Baby’s look, make her look more real and gritty. Get rid of all that hair from HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES (laughs), and performance wise, not be as campy. But Rob wrote the whole tone of the movie that way as well.
How would you describe Baby?
||I think Baby is some “hip hick chick” that’s part of this crazy, murdering family. I think she has some aspirations of things higher and better, like she wants to go to Hollywood, but she’s just sort of stuck in this hick family and just goes along with it.
Do you think she knows any better, really? I always got the idea that Otis and Spaulding are doing these despicable things, but as far as Baby is concerned, she never really gets the impact of what she’s doing. Almost as if she’s just trying to please her Dad.
Hmmmm, I don’t think she knows any better. I think she has this fantasy of things she’s seen on TV. And I think that’s all she knows. Her family is all she knows. So that’s just her reality. But like any other person who’s stuck, maybe, in middle Am erica and has higher aspirations, they don’t know quite really how to get there, it just seems an impossible goal. So Baby is stuck working the job she’s working and loving the TV shows she’s watching, and hey, living her fantasy.
|Which just happens to involve murder and violence! Speaking of which, violence is such a huge part of the film, was it touch for you to perform those scenes?
Yeah, it was totally difficult to do those scenes where Baby is torturing people. I don’t want to know the person who really enjoys doing that. I mean, in between each take I was always making sure the other actor was okay. There was this stabbing scene and the person wore a chest plate, but still… It’s really hard, because when you’re shooting, you’re giving your all and trying to make it look like you’re really hitting the person or stabbing the person, and… I don’t know. It’s really difficult. Yes.
||Well, I think it’s just an interesting choice to have someone as sweet and nice as you playing Baby, versus someone more creepy like, well, yeah, Sid Haig!
Well, it’s mostly because Baby is pretty much the bait to get victims into the grasp of the family because she looked normal and angelic. “Hey, c’mon! My brother has a tow truck! Let me help you!”
|What was it like being directed by Rob on these films?
Oh, it’s great. We love working together. He can bring out the best in, not only me, but every other person that he works with. He really treats each actor on an individual level, I think, as any director would have to, because each person is so different. Rob could joke with somebody where if he said that joke to somebody else they would fall down in tears. So, it’s great working with Rob. I love it.
You guys are like the horror version of Tom Cruise and Katie Holms (laughs)!
No we’re not, and don’t you dare even print that!
||How do you stay out of the tabloids?
We don’t invite it. I feel sorry for a lot of people that are followed all the time by paparazzi. We just sort of go about our own business. No one knows who I am anyway (laughs)!
That’s not true. I saw those people lines up to meet you at the Fangoria convention!
That was a lot of fun.
|Okay. Music versus film. Are they equal passions for you? Do you enjoy one more than the other?
Well, I don’t write music. I’m not in a band or anything like that, but as far as going out on tour with Rob and dancing, that was always so much fun, ‘cuz it’s performing. And acting is performing as well, but when you’re dancing up on stage, you get this immediate gratification, and I guess that’s why ‘rock star’ is the most coveted occupation. The coolest thing. But I love acting as well, and its so great to have such a broad spectrum of things that I can be involved with.
||Are you going on tour with Rob on OzzFest?
I am, but I’m not going to be dancing this tour. It’s going to be this really stripped down with just the boys playing.
Okay, some basic questions. What are some of your favorite movies or your favorite horror movies?
Oh, God, that could change on a daily basis and I get that question asked all the time. And I don’t want to have a stock answer that I tell everybody…
|So today then. Today what are you feeling? (laughs)
You know, I’m still really in love with NAPOLEAN DYNAMITE. I love that movie and I quote it all the time, and Rob and I do this radio show and we’re always sampling it. Um, horror movies… I saw HIGH TENSION, I don’t know if it’s the same version that just came out in theaters, I saw it six months ago in French, but that movie made me sick afterwards. It was really disturbing.
More than DEVILS REJECTS?
More than DEVILS REJECTS!
Original link: http://www.upcominghorrormovies.com/shock/c17.php
DEVILS REJECTS is more NATURAL BORN KILLERS than
HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES. What made you decide to take the sequel in
such a different direction?
|You know, I never like to criticize things because
some kid will come up to me and say, “’HOUSE OF 1000
CORPSES’” is my favorite movie!” And you don’t
want to hear Tobe Hooper go, “I hate TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACARE”.
But at the same time, I wasn’t happy with HOUSE OF 1000
CORPSES. It didn’t work for me. It wasn’t what I set
out to do. There’s moments and set pieces that are what
I was going for, but overall it didn’t have the look and
feel of what I had in my mind. But that’s sort of a secret
that everyone keeps to themselves. I mean, every filmmaker has
probably some moment of disappointment. So, really, I guess now,
after your first film, as you yourself know, you have your skills
a little more honed, so I really felt like this is what I want
to do and that’s why I made it totally different. The main
thing is, there was no where else to go the other way. I didn’t
want people to come in and feel like, “Oh, here we go. 90
more minutes of the same thing.” And, you know, CORPSES
really sends itself up and it’s pretty cartoonish and whacky
to begin with. People always go, “Oh, it’s a CHAINSAW
MASSACRE rip-off!” And I go, “Hmmm. It’s a ROCKY
HORROR rip-off, isn’t it?” I mean, I always think
of it as ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW with blood. So, you know, I
really didn’t want to make a sequel at all. Sequels can
be such disasters at times. And I just thought, essentially, I’ll
make a completely different movie that just happens to have the
||Do you consider DEVILS
REJECTS a horror film?
I do and I don’t. There’s been early reviews
that have been very positive, but a lot of them say, “In
no way is this a horror film!” And I’m like, “Gee.
When did things get to the point that something like DEVIL’S
REJECTS is not a horror film?” I think a lot of times the
trappings define it. Because it’s not a Western. It’s
not like you’re watching HIGH NOON, even though there’s
a Westerny feel to how things play out.
You have the showdown, the Sheriff in
Yeah. A GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY vibe. But, still, I think
there are moments that are horrific, and certainly more horrific than
the last movie. The skin face mask, some of the deaths and torture…
I don’t know. I get real vague these days when people say, “Well,
what is a horror movie and what wasn’t?” Does it literally
have to have a monster? Does it have to be supernatural?
|Maybe that’s it.
Because, for instance, if DEVIL’S REJECTS is considered
a horror film, so should NATURAL BORN KILLERS. Or even a film
like Steve McQueen’s THE GETAWAY… You know, the scene
in the hotel where Al Lettieri is torturing Sally Struthers’
similar to the scene in the motel in DEVIL’S REJECTS where
they’re Otis and Baby are torturing the two couples. So
why is THE GETAWAY an action film and DEVIL’S REJECTS a
horror film? And, by the way, I don’t think it’s a
bad thing that people are saying DEVIL’S REJECTS is not
a horror film.
I don’t think so either. You know, I love horror movies,
obviously. But I’m not real big on everything having to
be classified. ‘Cuz then it’s like some kid going,
“Oh, it’s not a horror film.” And someone else
might go, “Then I’m not gonna go see it. I only like
horror films.” I mean, if you like THE EXORCIST, you’re
probably gonna fucking like TAXI DRIVER, too. But you’re
not gonna go see TAXI DRIVER because some kid goes, “It’s
not a horror film”? It’s pretty fucking horrific.
So what does that mean? If it doesn’t have Jason or Freddy
in it, it’s not a horror film?
It is confusing. For instance, PSYCHO is
considered a horror film, but Norman Bates isn’t supernatural.
So does that make it a thriller?
Right. And, I mean… DEVIL’S REJECTS seems like THE
EXORCIST compared to PSYCHO in terms of the horror trappings. So maybe
it’s a time thing. A generational thing.
Maybe it also has a lot to simply do with the style of filmmaking. ‘Cuz what really blew my socks off with DEVILS REJECTS and with HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, no matter what you say, Rob (laughs), was their sense of style. You really showed your love and admiration of the horror genre, especially with the color schemes of CORPSES which was so much like an Italian horror film, so Bava and Fulci.
I always liked the Bava way of, “If the trees are green, let’s light them green!” You know, make everything pop.
Exactly. And then when I saw REJECTS, whereas
when I think of CORPSES, I think of a kaleidoscope of colors, with
REJECTS, I think of stark, good old early 70’s movies like BADLANDS,
Sam Peckinpah… and I think the style is more Western, more
couples on the lam in the vein of MACON COUNTY LINE, BUSTER AND BILLIE,
BONNIE AND CLYDE…
It totally is.
|Were those films influences
One of the films that was the biggest influence on me ever
was BONNIE AND CLYDE.
I was obsessed with that movie as a kid. I was obsessed with
monsters. I was obsessed with the Old West and Gangsters. So I
would be just as excited for PLANET OF THE APES as I would be
for BONNIE AND CLYDE. I must have watched it a thousand times.
That’s why on the first movie I was so excited to get Michael
J Pollard because he was in BONNIE AND CLYDE. So yeah, I just
love movies. People go to me, “Do you think you’ll
ever make a movie other than a horror movie?” And I go,
“Of course!” It’s not like I just watch horror
movies and I hate everything else. And I don’t know anybody
who makes horror movies and only likes horror movies. You talk
to John Carpenter and he loves Westerns more than anything else
And then you look at John Landis who is in that Masters of Horror category, yet he’s made more comedies than horror films. So why is he more known as a Master of Horror, rather than a Master of Comedy?
He’s all over the place.
Your music is like that too. Very hard to categorize. Is it heavy metal? Is it industrial? It has so many styles and influences.
Yeah. Early on I took the stance that “I don’t want to be labeled.” Because then you’re stuck. Nothing wrong with that, because there are certain bands that really thrive at a niche. You know, like Slayer. I mean, that’s what they do and that’s why it’s so cool. They’re that machine that they are every time you see them. But I always wanted to be all over the place so if ever I wanted to I could go, “Fuck it! I want to do a song with Lionel Richie! Who gives a shit!” Then it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t upset the apple cart of heavy metal because I never really was coming on stage like Rob Halford of Judas Priest anyway.
For me, one of the most effective devices
in DEVILS REJECTS, even more so than in CORPSES, was your use of music.
The juxtaposition of some of these classic rock ballads like the Allman
Brothers “Midnight Rambler” or Lynard Skynard’s
“Freebird” against a backdrop of supreme violence. Do
you think your career as a musician, as a rock star, and a very theatrical
one at that, has helped you in an artistic sense as a filmmaker? Or
would you have arrived at HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES had you never had
that career behind you?
|I don’t know. It’s definitely helped
in terms of having given me the opportunity to direct tons of
music videos. And that was more evident in the first film than
in the second. I purposely wanted nothing in the second film that
had any type of relation to a music video. Anyway, I think that
what I gained most from the music video experiences was that you
have a crew, and a fairly big budget, and it must get done in
a short period of time. But still, until you make a feature, there’s
no one breathing down your back going, “Look, lunch is over.
Get the crew back. Let’s go. Boom boom boom.” Videos
function just like movies, except over a day or two or three.
But it’s a microcosm. And just being able to know how to
work a crew, know a time frame, know a budget, get it done and
deliver it on time… You know how it is. Filmmaking is art,
but its art done with a fucking stopwatch. You gotta be able to
deliver brilliant things in a second. When the Assistant Director
turns to you, if you pause for more than five seconds with your
answer, it feels like the whole crew is coming to a standstill.
“He doesn’t know what he’s doing!” (laughs)
So until you have the luxury of a 75 day shoot, you’ve got
to be on your toes. So a music career, by way of music videos,
helped me in that regard.
True for videos. But with your songs, you can take as much time as you want.
Yeah. It’s different. You can spend forever. You can write a song for a year if you want to. But also, getting back, by being in music my whole life, it really helped me have an understanding of how to make it work in a film, ‘cuz I think some directors don’t. Many clearly do, but an awful lot don’t. And there’s some way you can always tell. It’ll have that vibe that, “I just handed it off to the music supervisor and he just placed a bunch of happening new songs in it that the kids are digging these days.” It always feels really awkward.
|I think some of those filmmakers
we were talking about, Scorcese, Penn, Peckinpah … They
had that understanding of the union between music and film.
Scorcese, I think, is one of the ones with the best understanding.
He really knew where to place it. The mood. I mean, music supervising
for me is the same as casting. A casting agency is responsible
for making deals close, but come on, they don’t really cast
your movie. They don’t tell you who to put in the parts.
Some times people think, “Oh, they cast Sid Haig for you?”
And I’m like, No. I cast Sid Haig. I cast Bill Mosley, Sherri,
Karen Black, Bill Forsythe… They just closed the deal.
They don’t even really know who half those guys are!”
So when it came to the music in my films, music supervisors were
important, but I knew what I wanted. And I just worked with some
people who were really good at chasing down some expensive songs
and getting them cheap. That’s really what they do.
Like the films of Sam Peckinpah, like BONNIE
& CLYDE, violence plays a really big part in DEVILS REJECTS, but
like those films, especially THE WILD BUNCH, the violence is operatic,
balletic, in many ways beautiful. And I found myself exhilarated.
Now this is a question I’ve tried to answer for myself time
and again and I always like to hear the response of others, so here
goes. Why do you think as a culture, we have such a fascination with
violence and glorify it in our films to a point of beauty?
Well… For me it depends on what’s happening. In
REJECTS, I always wanted the violence to feel awkward and real. When
we were rehearsing the fight scenes, I told Kane Hodder, my stunt
coordinator, “Kane, if this smacks of a stunt guy hitting another
stunt guy, you’re fucking it all up.” I wanted it to look
like a bunch of guys who don’t know how to fight, fighting with
each other. Sloppy and awkward and bloody. I feel that violence should
mean something in a movie. And that goes back to the horror thing,
and when I hear horror fans going, “This film doesn’t
seem violent at all…”, like that’s their immediate
response to whether the film is good or not. They have a body count,
and if the film doesn’t make it, it sucks. And to me, that’s
whacked. You can’t just chop people’s heads off for no
reason. It gets cartoonish and means nothing. And I like when its
made simple. Like you spend all this time getting into this character,
and then this tiny thing happens and he’s gone. Just like in
real life. People die in weird random ways all the time. But as far
as the operatic thing goes, it’s all about trying to feel like
there’s some grand purpose to death. That you’re life
meant something so your death will mean something too. Not just, “Oh,
yeah. He’s dead.” You know. “Take me out in a way
that they remember!” (laughs).
Going back to the finale of BONNIE AND CLYDE…
Or BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID. When you build ultimately
doomed heroes, or villains, you got to take them out in a way that
will satisfy the audience.
The end of DEVILS REJECTS, for me, is one of the greatest endings ever of a film. Despite their despicable behavior throughout, I found myself rooting for the Rejects. And when you cut back and forth between their showdown with the cops and them on the beach in happier times, I was surprised by how emotional it got for me. It’s challenging, because their love for each other, Spaulding’s love for his kids and their love for him, gives them a little bit of redemption. Which makes one wonder, who is the hero? Who is the villain of DEVIL’S REJECTS? You can say Bill Forsythe, the Sheriff, is the good guy, but he’s no better than the Rejects when it comes to sadism.
Clearly the Sheriff is the hero and they’re the villains, because they have attacked innocent victims and the Sheriff is bringing them to justice by all means necessary. But that’s so simplistic. “Okay. Good guys. Bad guys. Whoop de do.” And I started thinking about stuff like when I saw Jeffrey Dahmer’s parents being interviewed. He’s their freaking son for God’s sake! This emotionless, horrible monster in a courtroom, and yet when he was stabbed to death in prison, you can’t help but think about his parents. At least, I can’t. No matter what, he was still somebody’s son. So as far as REJECTS go, it’s not really showing sympathy, because they are bad people and deserve what they get, it’s more that they are real people with all shades of emotion and quality. I wanted them to be real, ‘cuz if they’re not, who cares?
|Then they’re just
a mindless, soulless faceless Jason Voorhees running around.
Right. And I wasn’t interested in that. I mean, I know
people like these guys. I’m sure everybody does. Maybe they’re
in your family. They were in mine. Kids who were the most violent
insane kids to each other, say brothers. Beat the shit out of
each other, tortured, miserable. But if anyone else comes between
them, forget about it. They would all protect each other against
the other person, and then immediately go back to hating each
other. It’s just this bizarre pack mentality. You know,
Otis and Baby appear to hate each other, and then Spaulding and
Otis have tension and at times can’t stand each other at
all. But as soon as someone else comes in the picture, they’re
Sometimes it boils down to casting why we
feel what we do. Like in BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDNACE KID, they
kill a lot of innocent people in cold blood. Yet we really don’t
get to know the victims, which is why we don’t care as much.
That and the fact that it’s also Robert Redford and Paul Newman
doing the killing. Hard to stay mad at those guys! But what you do,
which is challenging, is you let us in on the interior lives of the
Yeah. Banjo and Sullivan are not bad people by any means. They’re
funny, fun to watch. They have their lives, their wives. That’s
why it’s hard to watch their deaths. And also, I didn’t
want to go with what you said, that “Get out of jail free card”
of Redford/Newman. They’re so good looking they can do anything.
They could be raping you’re mother and you’d be, ‘That’s
okay! It’s Paul Newman!” (laughs).
You once told me no more music from you. Only films. But know you’re getting ready to go on tour with OzzFest.
Well, it was time for a break. This movie has been pretty intense, a way more intense experience than the last one. Only just last week have I felt like I’m done after over a year of non-stop insanity. So I thought it would be fun to go on tour, a great way to promote the movie, just get out amongst everybody. Unwind. ‘Cuz I’m not in the head space to start another project, but maybe come September when I get home, I’ll start the next film project.
|So will there be another Rob Zombie record?
There’s a record that I actually started recording before REJECTS, so I’ll probably finish it just because its there to finish. But after that? I don’t know…
Only Rob Zombie filmmaker from now on?
Yeah. I mean, because there are only so many years in your life and each movie takes up so many of them. You know how it is, Tim.
Yep. I called my film 2001 MANIACS because I wrote it in 2000 and naively thought it would be out in theaters in 2001. Five years later…
2005 MANIACS (laughs)!
I know you said you don’t want to do just horror films. What is some secret story you’d like to tell?
Well, I’m not really sure, but I really like small movies where it’s just people. My favorite movies that I always go see every year are movies like AMERICAN SPLENDOR, GHOST WORLD, or THE STATION AGENT. Those are the films I get most excited about. Not big budget bloated Hollywood films. Movies like CRASH. Those are the movies I’ll go see first before I catch up on all the other stuff.
You ever see MEAN CREEK?
No, but I heard about it. That’s the one where the kids go on a boat trip and accidentally kill one of their friends.
You should see that. When I saw it I thought, if Rob Zombie ever made STAND BY ME, it would be MEAN CREEK.
The next movie I’m putting together is definitely in that vein.
|So are we done with Spaulding
and Otis and Baby?
Yeah, I mean… I’m done. I don’t know if
Lion’s Gate is firing up another one without me (laughs)!
That’s the other thing about sequel-mania. You can’t
ever make a definitive statement in a movie any more because everything
has to be able to continue on to the next one and the next one.
That’s when I feel movies really start feeling like a hollow
experience. Like there’s certain movies we just mentioned.
CRASH, for instance. I don’t think there’s anyone
out there going, “Oh, we’re gearing up for CRASH 2”.
But other ones that you just know is a set-up for a sequel. You
feel empty. You never feel the main character is really in any
danger ‘cuz you know he or she is coming back in a sequel.
You’re absolutely right. The definitive
experience. The films we grew up were definitive experiences.
You never thought there would be BONNIE & CLYDE 2. Guess what,
kids! They survived and were taken to a hospital and patched up
for more mayhem. Or that Butch & Sundance really made it…
Right. They dodged all the bullets! I mean, maybe if you have
an epic that could be told in chapters, like GODFATHER, but even that
one was pushed too far with GODFATHER THREE. But c’mon. TAXI
DRIVER PART 2?
That’s what I like so much about DEVIL’S
REJECTS. It is definitive. And when I left the screening, I felt,
wow, that was a very satisfying, sold and complete story.
Cool. Thanks. And you know, I hate the idea of a franchise. Movies
used to be this singular thing. Like CLOSE ENCOUNTERS from start to
finish. There’s the experience. But now they have to beat it
to death. Rocky didn’t need to go on. I mean, as a kid, I was
super excited to see ROCKY II, ‘cuz the idea of a sequel was
still kind of fresh… And ROCKY’s a brilliant movie. Every
time I see it I love it more. And then the other ones, by the end,
he’s not Rocky! What is he? He’s like some steroid, tanned,
hairless glamour boy! What happened to the palooka?
Nowadays, it is more about the franchise
than that story itself. How much money a movie makes, the whole preoccupation
with the weekend box office. We never cared about that! Today, people
judge the merit of a movie based on how much money it makes. What
position it is in the Top Ten charts.
Like if it’s not Number One than it must not be any good.
And usually, it’s the exact opposite. Whatever comes in Number
One is usually an over bloated piece of crap, and the great movie
is buried somewhere in there.
There’s also a whole preoccupation
with the “Behind-the-Scenes”, all these DVD extras…
It’s kind of a tricky thing, because those are the stakes
now. If you put out a DVD and it doesn’t have 18 hours of extras,
people go, “What a fucking rip-off!” Having said that,
we made a two and a half documentary on the making of DEVIL’S
REJECTS. It’s nuts, and it literally follows day-by-day the
whole making of the movie. It’s like PROJECT GREENLIGHT except
even more wild. And it gives everything away in a sense, but in another
sense which I like, it really shows how insane it is to make a movie.
We started out from the first day and filmed everything. And its fun
to see somebody reading their lines for the first time and then cut
to the final scene in the movie.
What’s it called?
30 DAYS IN HELL.
How appropriate. What’s it like reliving
It’s really fun. But I’ll be watching it and I’ll
go, “Oh, my God. What day is that?” And it’ll come
up on the screen, “Day Three”. And I’m like, “Day
Three?! Jesus Christ! It feels like Day Twenty!” I mean, some
days we had to get through ten pages, which was just hard. You know,
the whole opening shoot-out was shot in a day.
You’re kidding me?
That was psychotic shooting that.
How many cameras did you have?
Four. And usually, you know, you shoot, actors go back to their trailers, relax. I mean, here, no one could leave the set. We were shooting constantly, cause we had to.
But that comes through. There is an organic
energy to the film. A real vitality. I truly believe that the vibe
of the set comes through in the scene. If the set is lethargic, if
its pondering, the movie comes out that way. You had everybody on
their toes, and that’s exactly how that opening scene plays.
And no one could ever fall out of character in the scene. It
wasn’t like, “We’ll pick it up tomorrow.”
No. We’re done. Moving on. And that comes through. Nothing against
anybody, but in a lot of big budget films with an endless shooting
schedule, you can see that they’re coasting through. When someone
like William Forsythe comes in with that attitude, “I’m
coming here to steal the whole movie from you”, it makes everyone
else go, “Oh, shit! This is not the set I thought I was stepping
on.” But a fast paced schedule puts your on your ‘A’
game all day long. Otherwise, you’re gonna get eaten alive.
You’ve been doing a lot of interviews,
and you were telling me a lot of interviewers just expect you to be
the “dumb heavy metal guy”.
Yeah, its funny because…. Having a second movie helps
a lot. The first movie was a nightmare. And in some way, rightfully
so, because I guess they just consider that if you do music, especially
heavy metal, you’re borderline retarded. So you’ve gotta
fight back at that whole preconceived notion that you’re just
an idiot, the idea that it was just some whacky thing you did.
Exactly. I mean, how can it be a fluke? You know how much fucking
work it is to make a movie. You know there’s no way to fake
your way through it, fuck around and a movie just happens. They just
don’t know what it entails.
And they probably think that because you’re
good at one thing as an artist, you can’t possibly be good at
And they don’t want you to be good at something else. You
know, HOUSE OF A 1000 CORPSES got a lot of shit from people, and I
always think, if it was just some guy making his first movie, would
he have gotten as much shit as I did? But because it was me, it was
extra shit, like “Who does Rob Zombie think he is making a movie!
That pretentious fucking metal head dick!” What am I being pretentious
about? I’m just making a movie! (laughs)
Nobody gave James Wan grief for being a first
timer on SAW.
And nobody cared. They took the movie at face value. But whatever.
It doesn’t really matter, its just interesting that so many
of the attacks on CORPSES, and even now… I mean, I really don’t
care whether critics like my movies or don’t like them, its
always gonna be that way, but it always seems more personal. Its not
even about the movie all the time, just the fact that “Rob Zombie”
made a movie seems to annoy people. Then again, maybe on the other
hand, it makes people like it who maybe wouldn’t like it.
The fans will be predisposed to like it,
but perhaps the critics will be predisposed not to. You’re fucked,
Yep! (laughs) And I think that if people don’t like my
music to begin with, they’ll put that on the movie as well.
Which sucks, because… I mean, I don’t give a shit if
you fucking hate my records, just don’t fucking put that on
So perhaps being “ROB ZOMBIE”
the rock icon has hurt you in terms of being taken seriously as a
It’s helped and it’s hurt. I think it’s hurt
on a credibility level. Most people who write about movies really
don’t know how they’re made. They never stood on a set
for 18 hours day after day after day. They’ve never sat in preproduction
No. They sit on their fat asses in front
of a computer screen talking the game rather than playing it.
Exactly. They truly don’t know how movies are made. They
think they do, however, and they have the preconceived idea that because
you’re already a celebrity, HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES just happened.
How did it just happen? I didn’t just pull it out of my ass.
It had to be made like any other movie. (laughs) But I think that
now with DEVIL’S REJECTS, I’ve been doing a lot of press
and that attitude seems to be gone. But there’s also that thing,
and I understand it, where like, everybody goes, “Oh, I wanna
direct.” Like it’s so easy and anybody can do it. Somehow
you just walk on set, yell something and that’s it. You go eat
But isn’t that what you do? That’s
what I did on 2001 MANIACS! (laughs).
Do you think maybe the actual name, “Rob
Zombie”, leads people into thinking that anything directed by
a guy with a name like that has gotta be schlock?
Oh, probably, yeah. I relate it to this. Right now I’m
Ron Howard and everyone keeps thinking I’m Opie. (laughs) “You’re
just Opie making a movie! Can’t take you seriously, Opie!”
And then maybe you get to the stage where you’re Richie Cunningham
and then they take you seriously. And eventually they think of you
as a director and they give you an Oscar. By the end of DEVIL’S
REJECTS, maybe I’ll be Richie Cunnignham.
Special Thanks to Nicole Torres!
VISIT TIM SULLIVAN AT: WWW.MYSPACE.COM/NEWREBELLION
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