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THE DEVIL’S REJECTS (R) (2005)

Lions Gate Films

Official Site

Director: Rob Zombie

Producer: Rob Zombie

Written by: Rob Zombie

Cast: Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon Zombie, Ken Foree, Dallas Page, Matthew McGrory, Leslie Easterbrook, William Forsythe, Danny Trejo

Rating:


Back in the ’70s there used to be a particularly vivid term to describe certain types of theaters, usually old movie palaces that had fallen into disrepair, and that played all types of exploitation films to the delight of the weirdos, criminals, and perverts who frequented them. This type of theater would be called a grindhouse. They began to disappear as the family-friendly multiplexes started to take over in the 1980s. The Devil’s Rejects can be seen as Rob Zombie’s loving tribute to the grindhouse.

More specifically The Devil’s Rejects is an homage to that legendary grindhouse flick Texas Chainsaw Massacre, dealing with a family of prolific backwoods killers who live in rundown house of horrors. In the first scene a group of righteous Texas lawmen shoot it out with the killers, who are forced to go on the lam. A colorful bunch: There’s Haig’s clown-faced Captain Spalding (from Zombie’s first film), daughter Baby Firefly (played by Zombie’s wife), and brother Otis Driftwood (Moseley).

Far from keeping a low profile, the family, who go by the nickname the Devil’s Rejects, simply take the horror show on the road, viciously tormenting anyone unfortunate enough to cross their path. The film seems sure to ruffle some feathers with its extreme, yet gleeful sadism. Even the most desensitized horror fans may be shocked by what Zombie manages to get away with.

A former art student before he found fame with his heavy metal band White Zombie, Rob shows a keen eye for detail and has dressed his film with plenty of ’70s accoutrements. Shot on desaturated film stock to achieve a time-worn illusion, the film also makes use of both the Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rambler” and Lynard Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” in its super-’70s soundtrack.

But the film isn’t completely true to its ’70s spirit. Zombie’s modern sensibilities bubble up the film’s ironic dark humor and in the dialogue. Profanity was fairly tame in the ’70s movies, even in the grindhouse fare. Yet Zombie seems to be going for the record with this film. Typical dialogue: “Drive fuckin’ faster.” “Fuck you.” “Fuck you”. Unfortunately all of this sub-Tarantino verbiage is either contrived or witless and makes the characters more annoying than frightening. Zombie has some other failings as a writer such as throwing in pointless dream sequences and creating disposable one-note characters while the story itself is threadbare and lacks thrust. He also can’t seem to decide if he’s making a parody or the real deal.

I sympathize with what I think is Rob Zombie’s aim to create a lean mean old school horror flick, yet while he may have the vision he doesn’t seem to have the ability as a writer to pull it off.

—Edward Rholes

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



none now
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