Thursday, March 15, 2018

Sidequest: Rob Zombie announces "Devil's Rejects" sequel

2005's THE DEVIL'S REJECTS was a mission statement of sorts for Rob Zombie. The newly minted director had stumbled out of the gate with his first outing, HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, a primal scream of a film that Zombie had to compromise in order to secure any kind of theatrical release. Another director would have sought to remedy those sins with an expanded director's cut DVD and feature length commentary track/apology, but Zombie took a different approach: he gathered as much of the cast as he could and made a sequel. THE DEVIL'S REJECTS was raw, unsettling and uncompromising, right down the the film's climax that saw its anti-heroes gunned down in a blaze of glory. The heroes were villains, villains were heroes and everybody died. The end.

Since then, Zombie has taken a my way or the highway approach to filmmaking, alienating a lot of people in the process. He's as true an auteur as Hitchcock, for sure, but his obsessions don't always mesh well with audience expectations. His adaption of John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN is among the most controversial horror movies in recent memory, but response to that film was almost muted in comparison to his sequel, HALLOWEEN II. Since THE DEVIL'S REJECTS Zombie has done things his way, but it's a way that has lead increasingly to direct-to-video purgatory and crowdfunding initiatives. In 2003, Zombie made deep cuts to HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES to get it into theaters; today he only cares about completing a film on his own terms ... even of those films fail to find an audience (I don't know a single person who has seen his 2016 movie 31.)

Yesterday, he announced via Instagram that a follow-up to THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, titled 3 FROM HELL, had begun shooting. The response has been about what you might expect. Zombie's films are genetically engineered to be provocative, so it shouldn't be surprising that fans/haters immediately began to draw battle lines. I think this summarizes it in the most polite way possible:

There are a few ways to interpret Zombie's announcement, and none of them very helpful. The most pessimistic read is that the guy who directed the awful and/or gloriously bonkers HALLOWEEN II is making a sequel to THE DEVIL'S REJECTS. If you haven't enjoyed Zombie's recent output, then you're probably not all that excited about seeing his best work extended during the downward arc of his career.

On the other hand, THE DEVIL'S REJECTS was also made by the same guy who made HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, so anything is possible ... even in Zombie's misanthropic cinematic universe. Relationship Status: It's complicated.

Note: You can see RZ's original Instagram announcement below.

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