Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Rob Zombie's film career has been a rollercoaster in terms of the quality of work. His latest film, "The Lords of Salem," opens Friday and I am wondering which Rob Zombie will be showing up behind the camera.
Rob Zombie came to film from a successful career as a musician/rock star. His first film, "House of a 1000 Corpses" played like a student film -- out of control, excessively pleased with itself, but bursting with enthusiasm. He came across as just another successful person seeing if he could use his celebrity to kickstart a second career. I didn't give him or the film much thought.
But then came "The Devil's Rejects." Holy crap! I watched that and wondered how did Zombie mature so fast as a filmmaker. "The Devil's Rejects" had the vide of a nihilistic 70s horror film. It was brilliant and I felt hope that we truly had a new voice in genre filmmaker, a true rebel who was willing to shake up the status quo with a film that respected nothing and was willing to go someplace dark and disturbing. This was a kindred spirit to "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Last House on the Left," but fueled with a new sense of dissatisfaction with mainstream America. I saw promise in this film and it excited me.
Then came Zombie's remake/reboot/re-imagining (whatever!) of John Carpenter's "Halloween." And bam, I felt all my hopes were smashed. Unlike with "The Devil's Rejects," Zombie brought nothing new, nothing fresh to the "Halloween" franchise. Nothing in his direction distinguished him from the usual hack hired to keep a financially successful franchise going well past its prime.
Now Zombie is serving up "The Lords of Salem." The film revolves around Heidi (played, unfortunately, by his not very talented wife Sheri Moon Zombie) who receives a mysterious wooden box containing a vinyl record, a gift of the Lords. She thinks it's a rock band and naturally she plays the record and well, bad things start to happen ad the original Lords of Salem return and want blood. The trailer raises my hopes a little but I wish Mrs. Zombie were restricted to a supporting role.
I haven't given up on Rob Zombie yet. "The Devil's Rejects" showed true potential. I am hoping that's the Rob Zombie who showed up on the set for "Lords" and not the guy who seemed to be coming to the set just to pick up a paycheck on the "Halloween" films.