THE DEVIL'S REJECTS IS BEAUTIFUL SLEAZE
The Devil's Rejects is a wonderful
piece of exploitation that has been long absent from the world of cinema.
With a glut of style of substance remakes of Japanese horror films, new
versions of horror classics that seem to use little but the title of the
original film as their inspiration, and uninspired sequels, the
blood-soaked depravity of Rob Zombie's latest film is a great return to
trash film glory days when movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,
2000 Maniacs, and Dawn of the Dead purely aimed to scare the crap out
of audiences, and succeeded.
I totally hated Zombie's first film,
House of a Thousand Corpses. Aside from the brilliant
performance by Sid Haig as the scuzzy killer clown, Captain Spaulding, I
thought the entire affair was amateurish and hard to enjoy, but I loved
Haig in it so much I was willing to give his follow up film another try.
I'm glad that I did. I don't know what happened to Mr. Zombie in the
last couple years, but The Devil's Rejects is the work of an incredibly
skilled writer/director. I loved it so much I paid to see it twice
in one day. It's a brilliant sleazy nightmare that is shocking,
scary, funny, thrilling, and horrifying all at the same time.
This is not a movie for everyone. If
you're easily squeamish, and hate movies with excessive killing and clown
sex, you're probably better off going to see March of The Penguins.
For what it is, The Devil's Rejects is one of the best exploitation films
The film opens with a ton of cops ready to
fire on the ranch house of a family of notorious serial killers called The
Fireflys who've already killed at least 80 people. Sheriff Wydell (played
by William Forsythe) has a particular mission to get rid of the whole
family because his own brother fell victim to their murderous ways some
time ago. He's a cop who's become so crooked and sadistic that his
methods are as shocking as the Firefly's.
At the core, the movie works so well
because of it's incredible cast. As Captain Spaulding, the father of
the killer family, Sid Haig is incredible. With his volcanic
complexion, rotten teeth, and pasty clown makeup, Haig has a mixture of
repulsiveness and charm that is almost unexplainable. He can switch
gears from menacing to hilarious before he finishes a sentence.
His dialogue is priceless, and spoiling it here within this review would
be doing the viewer a great disservice.
Spaulding's adult son and daughter join him
on the run, and are played with equal amazing skill by Bill Moseley as
Otis, and Zombie's wife Sheri Moon as the sexy and lethal "Baby".
Mosely is creepy as hell as a Charles
Manson meets Greg Allman hybrid who we first see waking up with a dead
naked lady in his bed as cops shoot out his window. He can deliver
funny lines like, "I'm Willie fucking Wonka, and this is MY FUCKING
CHOCOLATE FACTORY!" and still come off as scary.
The lovely Mrs. Zombie is hypnotically
crazy and beautiful throughout the film. A mixture of Elizabeth Shue
and vintage Farrah Fawcett with a dash of Squeaky Fromme, she owns every
bit of the screen she's on, which is a particularly great feat with this
charismatic cast. Using her sexuality to ensare her victims one
second, and shaking her brilliant ass while singing "Chinese, Japanense,
Dirty Knees, Look at THESE" the next, she's an unpredictable and crazy
killer that is alluring, complex, and shocking at the same time. Her
casting is hardly the result of nepotism.
Zombie's direction and editing skills are
brilliant throughout the film, throwing in dashes of humor just when
things get too revolting. Then smacking you upside the head with an
incredibly violent scene when you let your guard down.
The supporting cast is a virtual "Who's
Who" of shock cinema. Perfectly suited cameos by Eating Raoul's
Mary Woronov, Michael Berryman from The Hills Have Eyes, and #1
zombie asskicker Ken Foree will delight genre fanboys yet entertain folks
who've never even heard of them.
The soundtrack is incredible as well, full
of enough Lynrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, and Joe Walsh music to have your
own Redneck Woodstock. Each song perfectly compliments the scenes in
this late 70s based film.
Hats off to Rob Zombie for having both the
vision and the clout to get a movie made like this in today's overly
commercial and safe film world. I hope to see more of his work in
the future. Go out and buy a ticket to see this today, so Hollywood
will get the message that this kind of film has a small but loyal audience
that likes to spend money on a quality product. I've seen it twice
already, and am seriously considering going back for thirds.