Though the holiday may be over, Halloweekend is still going strong, and with Rob Zombie set to take the stage at Monster Mash Music Festival Sunday, the Halloween vibes still seem to be lingering.
For those unable to get tickets to the show, but still hoping to keep their weekend going with a fix of Zombie, look no further than the rocker’s directorial catalog. Here are my five favorite Zombie films that will help you end your weekend on a shock and gore-filled high note.
5. “The Haunted World of El Superbeasto”
Zombie’s first foray into the realm of animated movies is one of the most shocking yet enjoyable movies I think I may have ever seen. There’s no denying how much of a cinephile the rocker-director is and this movie is essentially a love letter to the 1972 X-rated animated adult comedy “Fritz the Cat.” The movie follows a washed-up luchador who must fight, among other things, werewolf Nazis and the infamous Dr. Satan (a recurring character in Zombie’s world.) Don’t let the film’s medium fool you: There’s no shortage of nudity, foul language or violence here. In fact, I would argue that because the film is animated it can get away with even more than it could otherwise. Regardless, Zombie hauled in an impressive voice cast that includes Paul Giamatti, Tom Papa and SpongeBob voice actor Tom Kenny. “Superbeasto” is an absolutely ridiculous film on every level, but it shows a different side of Zombie and makes for a surprisingly fun watch.
Much has been said of Zombie’s remake of John Carpenter’s horror masterpiece. The director put his signature twist on Michael Myers’ origin story and while it didn’t sit well with die-hard fans of the franchise at its time of release, upon rewatch the film holds pretty solid. Sure, the added backstory changes what made Carpenter’s film so haunting, but Zombie’s take is more interested in getting to know the character of Myers. Although I can understand why people may feel inclined to give the film a cold shoulder, it’s the film in Zombie’s catalog that I think is the most unfairly overlooked and written off.
3. “House of 1,000 Corpses”
Zombie’s directorial debut still manages to be one of the toughest films I’ve ever sat through, right next to “The Devil’s Rejects” (more on that later). The film follows a group of college kids and their night from hell after they encounter the Firefly family, a group of backwoods serial killers. Loosely inspired by the rocker’s song of the same name, the movie showcases Zombie’s affinity for exploitation films in a fascinating way. It’s the rare movie where none of the characters are likable, and yet, you just can’t help but want to learn more about them. Sid Haig’s portrayal of the twisted but somehow hilarious Captain Spaulding manages to balance out the obscene violence and gratuitous nudity, which leaves audience members at the cross roads of “What am I even watching right now?” and “This is surprisingly good.” Though definitely not for the faint of heart, “House of 1,000 Corpses” makes for a strong directorial debut.
2. “The Lords of Salem”
Zombie’s most recent feature is perhaps his most refined. Though the gore that fills his other movies to the brim is still present, “Lords of Salem” is much more of a slow-burn horror film. The movie follows a radio DJ who has nightmarish visions of witches after listening to an album by a group known as “The Lords.” It’s an interesting entry into the supernatural horror genre. Through stunning cinematography and a solid performance by Zombie’s wife and lead actress Sheri Moon Zombie, the director shows that he’s more than capable of making an effective horror film without solely relying on shocking his audience.
1. “The Devil’s Rejects”
“The Devil’s Rejects” is a follow up to “House of 1,000 Corpses” and is one of the grimiest, most unapologetic movies I have ever seen in my entire life. Following the events of the first film, the twisted Firefly family goes on the run and it’s up to William Forsythe’s Sheriff John Quincy Wydell to bring them down. The movie has achieved cult status, and for good reason. While every character in the film is truly despicable, Zombie’s writing never makes it so their actions are justified. It’s the rare film where it paints of picture of how twisted it’s characters are by making clear just how terrible the things they are doing are. The ending is one of the most ambitious I’ve ever seen — a dialogue free shootout that takes place during Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird.” “The Devil’s Rejects” is an incredibly visceral film and one that will stay with you long after you watch it, but for fans of Zombie, the movie is a must-see.
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