Viewed – 02 November 2019 online-rental
Rocker turned director Rob Zombie has over the years carved out his own sub-genre that despite strong influences from grind house shockers like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Last House on the Left, delivers a style that’s all his own. It can be an acquired taste that’s for sure, and not much has changed since 2005’s The Devil’s Rejects that this is a direct follow up to. With a clear tip of the hat to Natural Born Killers, in the years since their incarceration, the Firefly gang have become celebrities. After one of them escapes, a violent home invasion ensues to convince a Prison warden to help crazy as-a-loon Baby Firefly (Sherry Moon Zombie) escape also.
Zombie’s direction attempts to add style and panache to a movie that’s neck deep in sleaze and grime. It’s characters carry a self-importance that doesn’t make them glamorous, but simply pompous, and with the lack of interesting adversaries, including a none existent police presence, there’s a distinct lack of tension or drama throughout.
If you’re here to find out if this delivers the required violence and gore then yeah, there’s several nasty scenes including a throat slit, stabbings and a (unconvincing) face removal – but almost all is watered down by what appears to be crappy CGI blood. Bill Mosely is the stand out as Otis, and Sherry Moon is equal parts entertaining and annoying – so the acting’s a mixed bag also. The under-use of Sid Haig (who recently passed away) as nutty clown Captain Spaulding is disappointing but in a movie this half-arsed, perhaps it wouldn’t have been his finest swan-song. For die hard Zombie fans only.
Verdict: 2.5 /5
Viewed – 03 October 2013 DVD
I have been a casual admirer of the horror movie output of rocker turned director Rob Zombie over the years, especially liking his masterful ‘The Devil’s Rejects’ and even bizarre freakishness like ‘House of 1000 Corpses’. His style, skill and taste for disturbing violence and hallucinogenic imagery struck a cord with this horror junkie. Even his ill-advised but interesting remake of Halloween didn’t put me off (less said about the awful follow up, the better). But now we come to his latest and strangest effort, showcasing the obvious screen presence of Goth muse (and wife) Sherry Moon Zombie.
Sherry plays Heidi, a radio DJ living in Salem who rents a room at a hotel run by three slightly odd elderly women. When a mysterious record is delivered to her personally at the radio station, on playing it she begins to experience disturbing visions, apparently relating to a witches coven back in the sixteen hundreds. Is Heidi going crazy, or are The Lords Of Salem back?
A slightly different style for Zombie this, less violent slasher, more freaky supernatural fantasy with echoes of The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby, and even his own House of 1000 Corpses. Sherry is both likable and quite sexy as the main star and carries the movie well, and although this isn’t about performances, all cast members help create a foreboding and eerie atmosphere. The devil-worship themes are very under your skin stuff and although fairly tame for Zombie standards, when the claret flies its quite nasty. Mostly though this is a movie about style, and weird shit going down, goats, mutant babies (!), demonic women and biblical & satanic imagery. It all gets a bit nuts towards the end and the conclusion is underwhelming … but overall I had a good time, and yes it’s far better than Halloween 2 (damn I thought I wasn’t going to say anything about that!).
Verdict: 3 /5