By Jay Quinn (Tonawanda, NY)
Now I always been a Rob Zombie fan ever since I heard the first cords and lyrics of Thunder Kiss 1965. I always admired his love for horror movies in his music and music videos. When he made his first movie in 2003 called The House Of A 1,000 Corpses, It blew my mind with what I was watching on screen. It was literally a music video come to life and I loved it, his original characters Otis, Baby, Mother Firefly and Captain Spaulding to me was Rob Zombie’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre family. I ate it up and couldn’t wait for the next film that Zombie would put out. In 2005 he brought the Firefly clan back together, but this movie was more action horror and totally different tone then the first and was just as great and loved that too… Both movies proved to me that Zombie was on his way to being a great horror director that his fans were going to love. The one thing you will see about Rob Zombie is he loves the 60’s-70’s era of horror and why most of his horror movies takes place in those years.
Now every great director has a misstep or two and I feel, in my opinion, Rob had when he took on Halloween. I didn’t really relate to these two Michael Myers films and feel, Rob didn’t really understand what Halloween meant as a franchise. I respect the fact he did the best he could, but it just didn’t feel like Halloween films to me. He bounced back in 2012 with The Lords Of Salem, He came back to an original idea and horror movie and again I ate it up. He made this movie artsy, visually stunning and I really compare this film to Dario Argento’s Suspiria due to the splash of color and music choices for that film. Rob Zombie was back to business in my opinion with Lords Of Salem and couldn’t wait to see what’s next.
His next project which I am reviewing today is just called 31 and it stars favorites from earlier films Sheri Moon Zombie (all his films), Jeff Daniel Phillips (Halloween 2, Lords Of Salem), Meg Foster (Lords Of Salem), Richard Brake (Halloween 2), Malcolm McDowell (Halloween 1and 2, Clockwork Orange, Silent Night), E.G. Daily (Tommy Pickles From Rugrats, Devils Rejects) and Lew Temple (Devils Rejects, Halloween). I was definitely sad to see Sid Haig and Bill Moseley missing from the cast because to me, them and Sheri are the unholy trinity when they are on screen together. They produce magic together and really enjoy their performances together, it’s like they push themselves to produce something epic in the horror genre.
Well this movie is about a bunch of carnival workers that travel the road in their van scamming people out of their hard earned money. While driving they get abducted by people in masks and brought forth to meet Father Murder, He informs them that they are the newest people to play a game simply called 31 and the rules are simple…survive 12 hours from the clowns that are only there to do one thing and that’s murder them all. Now the first clown that is sent in to kill these people is a little person dressed up as mini Hitler clown called Sick-Head, he has a nice little song and jingle that will get stuck in your head. Then we meet the brother clowns known as Psycho-Head and Schizo-Head and they are vile and terrifying and just meant to eat you up and dismember you while getting themselves off. Then we meet Death Head and Sex-Head which in my opinion have the worst screen time because they are killed off way too easy, it’s the same with all the clowns so far which is depressing.
I would of loved to see these clowns fleshed out more but I am told that he had to cut a lot to get it to an R rating and the Blu-ray/DVD will be uncut and maybe give more justice and back story to these clowns. Then we get the final clown which in my opinion is my favorite and is the most scary and brutal named Doom-Head, he has an opening monologue when the movie starts and he’s just the most brutal, psychopathic, violent person I have seen on screen in my opinion in a long time. His quote “In Hell, Everyone Loves Popcorn” is an amazing line before he dismembers the first victim we see. Loved his character through the whole movie, they could of made the whole movie about him and I would of been satisfied.
Now I really enjoyed this movie a lot, the only thing I thought was weak and just cheap was the ending. I won’t spoil it but it’s just very cheap and makes you go, “Come on!!” So that being said I thought this movie was very well done even with the edits he had to do, the music was fantastic and again gives us a look at the 70’s culture scene.
I give this movie 3 and 1/2 out of 5 skulls, I will probably raise my score once I see the uncut version. Now this was an advance screening so definitely go out and see this film when you get a chance when it comes out September 16. Support Rob Zombie if you’re a fan because you will definitely enjoy this. I am still hoping for a 3rd film with the Firefly clan in a prequel of some sorts!