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Will Devil's Rejects Help or Hurt Modern horror movies?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Blu, Jul 16, 2005.

  1. Chuck L

    Chuck L Screenwriter

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    Just got home from the screening and I have to say that I loved this film even more so than what I loved the first film. In saying that....THIS IS NOT A FILM THAT IS GOING TO PLEASE EVERYONE!!!!!! In fact far from it.

    If you are expecting more of what was in the first film...you are not going to find it. If you want to find out more about the family...you are going to find a out a lot more about them. If you are looking for some pretty damn intense moments, you are going to find them.

    Leslie Easterbrook is a standout among the stars in this films and delivers some of the best moments of the film. In fact, I have to say that I was rather pleased during some of her scenes to hear cheers coming from the almost packed house. Priscella Barnes is also a standout in her role. Overall...the cast of this film does seem to get equal time and makes the most out of every second that they are on screen.

    For me...this film is to HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES as that part two of Kill Bill was to the first. I honestly have no complaints about this film and I feel confident giving it FOUR stars out of Four.

    BUT AGAIN....not everyone is going to feel the same way about this movie. This is not your typical horror film.
     
  2. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Chuck,
    nice review. [​IMG] Tell me this, though, what is the gore level like in the film?

    You can even tell me about a kill or two if you'd like, just put it in spoiler tags and i'll read it. I don't care, I need to get a sense of this thing before I see it.
     
  3. Chuck L

    Chuck L Screenwriter

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    John...not wanting to ruin a single thing about the film...I won't tell you about specific scenes but I will tell you that of recent films in the past several years this film had a lot of red stuff!!! Great red stuff...Some of the scenes I was really suprised that they got by with what they did.
     
  4. Will K

    Will K Screenwriter

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    Aside from the usual things that media whiners commonly moan about, you gotta hand it to a movie that’s locked, loaded, and ready to piss Michael Medved off. I can already see his head exploding and his moustache flying off with bits of bloody brain caked to it…and we haven’t even gotten to a psychotic, sacrilegious rant that’s guaranteed to send fundamentalists into hissy fits. The Devil’s Rejects is an unapologetically vicious film, the kind you rarely see in this age of complaining parent groups and tailor-made studio PG-13 horror exercises. To lift and paraphrase the tagline of the horrid old Stallone vehicle Cobra, watered-down horror is the disease. Meet the cure.

    Rob Zombie has learned a lot since he shot House of 1000 Corpses on the Universal backlot. While he’s no Sam Peckinpah, he’s clearly inspired here by brutal, sweaty films of the 70’s. His filmmaking skills are far more focused and refined than his flagship outing as director. With the exception of a few extraneous scenes(such a Star Wars bit which feels more like Kevin Smith), it’s evident he’s disciplined himself with a better sense of storytelling than in the chaotic Corpses.

    Regardless of what some have called a semi or quasi-sequel, TDR is most definitely a sequel to Corpses, picking up on a plot point from the original and running with it. It’s like Kill Bill Vol. 2, which technically wasn’t a sequel, but I digress. The tone and action here are entirely different and those expecting a more of the same are in for a rude awakening. Zombie has tweaked his characters a bit, both visually and behaviorally. The colorful, carnival-like atmosphere of the original has been eschewed in favor of a muted, yellowy desert tones. Incidentally, the Dr. Satan subplot of the original has also been jettisoned completely, although scenes were shot with that character. I assume we’ll get those with the DVD.

    The plot rapidly spins into motion as “the pigs” descend upon the Firefly ranch in an opera of bullets, led by Sheriff Wydell(William Forsythe), the brother of the Wydell slain in the first film. He believes he’s on a mission from God to take out the devils and satisfy his own personal vendetta. Problem is, this Wydell may be just as crazy as the family he's out to destroy. When the smoke clears, Mother Firefly(Leslie Easterbrook) is captured and Otis and Baby escape, stealing a car from an unfortunate good Samaritan(Mary Woronov, in a nice cameo for those who will recognize her).

    The two soon meet up with Captain Spaulding at the Kahiki Palms, a dusty, low-rent motel in the desert. Spaulding, of course, is the chicken-frying clown played by the great Sid Haig, who was given much less screen time in Corpses. Haig provides the film’s best moments, from his grotesquely funny first scene with adult film star Ginger Lynn Allen to another bit where he taunts a little kid over his dislike of clowns. Haig is so good here, you almost wish Spaulding would get his own movie as he clearly worth the price of admission. He’s profane and funny at times, other times profane and just plain mean.

    His familial cohorts, the aforementioned Otis(Bill Moseley) and Baby(Sheri Moon-Zombie), soon turn the motel into an oasis of horror. Having made a poor lodging choice, a small-time country band called Banjo & Sullivan are immediately taken hostage and subjected to sleazy humiliations which, predictably enough, culminate into increasing violence. This is darkest and most unpleasant section of this film. One has to give praise to victim Priscilla Barnes, best known from TV’s Three’s Company. Her brief, but harrowing encounter with Otis is brave, hopeless, and convincing.

    The lead psychos all turn in solid performances. Moseley, a favorite of genre fans, is a more coherent Otis this time around, but no less demonic. Though we’ve seen characters like him before, nobody can do it like Moseley. A particularly unsettling murder sequence goes places most horror franchises do not: killing isn’t a joke. The way Moseley carries it out is frightening and probably the most realistic you’ll ever see in a wide-release film. As far as Baby goes, Sheri Moon-Zombie is fun to watch but her motivations and origins of her sadism are a little more cloudy.

    One of the standouts is Leslie Easterbrook as Mother Firefly. It’s not easy to steal a role from the great Karen Black, who played the character previously. Easterbrook almost literally rips it out of her hands and makes it her own. Her psychotic exchanges with Wydell are wild and magnetic, sometimes if she were channeling a much more dangerous version of Diane Ladd’s Marietta Fortune from Wild At Heart. If I were to complain about something, it would be too little time is spent with her.

    As the law begins to close in and Wydell grows increasingly insane in his own right, the trio head for Charlie’s, an elaborate brothel run by Spaulding’s brother(Ken Foree from Dawn of the Dead and Leatherface). Foree also shares with The Hills Have Eyes vet Michael Berryman what is the movie’s most outrageously funny scene: an incredibly vulgar exchange with a live chicken dealer that really must be heard to be believed. From there, the film moves steadfast to a frenzied and blood-soaked climax. Depending on how much you’ve read prior to release and if you’ve been able to avoid spoilers, the finale may or may not be predictable. It is surely unusual and I found it personally satisfying. Underneath the general air of cruelty and savagery, there is a moral current here. With the exception of a few minor characters, evil acts are punished and nobody escapes unscathed.

    The bottom line on The Devil’s Rejects? It’s not a great film, but for Zombie, a sure-handed step-up. This is the closest thing we’re ever going to get these days to a manic, old-style grindhouse epic of death and madness. There are individual moments that just about get us there. It only falls slightly short due to obvious considerations such as the MPAA and marketability. You don’t quite feel like you need a shower afterwards as with older trash cinema, but it’s good enough for me.

    And oh, as long as Rob Zombie is on a 70's kick, how about reuniting Sid Haig and Pam Grier for a new you-fucked-with-the-wrong-bitch, ass-kicking shoot 'em up?
     
  5. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Yikes! [​IMG]

    It's been a long while since i've actually been NERVOUS about seeing a horror film! I'm torn, guy's, I want to see it very badly, yet I have become much less tolerant of cruel and vicious violence which, considering Will's post above, this film is packed with.

    I guess what i'm saying is, over the years I have become a complete and utter puss. [​IMG]
     
  6. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    I assume you skipped House of the Dead then. [​IMG]

    H1KC was pretty bad though. This does look better and much more gritty and intense.


    I have to 2nd John W's sentiments in the post above. I feel exactly the same way John. :b
     
  7. Will K

    Will K Screenwriter

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    Ebert has just.....[picking myself up from falling out of my chair]...given it 3 stars.
     
  8. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    I'm going to see it today at 6pm after having a large meal and several drinks.......[​IMG]
     
  9. David Rogers

    David Rogers Supporting Actor

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    Hmm, my comment revolves around the use of the term "modern".

    These aren't "modern" horror films, they're all set back in the 60s/70s ... before technology starts getting in the way of an old-fashioned horror story. Rather than try to think of a clever and interesting way to seperate characters from their cars, their cell phones and beepers, their internet connections, their glock 9mms and so forth ... horror makers for the past ~five years have simply been setting their horror before such things existed.

    Seems like a copout, really. Why not try to write around them, rather than ignore them?
     
  10. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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  11. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    Getting more excited, I enjoyed House and have been waiting for this one. If it has even more Sid Haig then I know I'm gonna like it.
     
  12. Quentin

    Quentin Cinematographer

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    This is not a horror film, and as such will have little impact on the horror market - which is being primarily driven by ghost stories right now, with the occassional slasher film.

    This is a grindhouse/exploitation film. Sure, the gore is horrific, but it is all about making you feel uneasy and repulsed, not scared.
     
  13. Rob P S

    Rob P S Cinematographer

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    Scott Weinberg's review

    So not only is Terri from Three's Company here, but also Rhoda from Laverne & Shirley and the brunette sister from Too Close for Comfort. Rob Zombie must also be a fan of washed-up sitcom actresses.
     
  14. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    I think that's pretty cool, actually, it certainly is different to go with a cast like that.

    I'm just glad that we're finally moving past the period where a director automatically taps the young cast of the WB for their horror film's, excluding Tom Welling who will be in The Fog remake.
     
  15. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    I think i'm ready to see this film. The turning point came after I read the book American Psycho recently, I figured that if I endured the truly aweful acts committed in that book, I could sure as shit handle anything this film has to dish out. [​IMG]
     
  16. James Spraggs

    James Spraggs Stunt Coordinator

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    WOW!!! Just got back from this one. I'm gonna start by saying that I love this movie. It was very well made, and felt very much like the first time I saw Last House on the Left. You are setting there enjoying things on film, while at the same time thinking to your self, I shouldn't be watching this. It felt as if you were watching a snuff film.

    Definately not for the squemish, and the easily jolted, but great for people who have been longing for a change from the sanitized movies of recent years.

    5 out of 5 stars.
     
  17. Dennis Castro

    Dennis Castro Second Unit

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    Hmmmm......

    I really don't know how I feel about this film. I loved House of 1000 corpses. This kind of throws a curve. I have never left a film feeling like this. I definitely need a second viewing.
     
  18. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    **CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS**

    A huge wow from me! This film is an experience! I saw it in a packed stadium theater, and the crowd was having one hell of a time with the film. It was obvious the vast majority of the crowd was enjoying the ride.

    I have often seen people say how they're surprised that certain films get away with an R rating, but this is the first time I've actually felt that way. There is some brutal, gruesome, disturbing shit on display here, and all of it looks as realistic as can be. One scene with a thrown knife made me tingle because it looked so damn painful. There is also nudity galore, though none of it is the pleasurable kind. This is a film that takes absolutely no prisoners, and I applaud that. Its a horror film that is absolutely horrifying when it wants to be.

    Zombie's direction is much more restrained and focused this time around. All of the little touches and editing nuances he throws in work perfectly within the context of the film, be it the freeze frames or the sliding from scene to scene. Also, his use of music is simply genius. The songs are perfect fits for the montages in which they appear, and they add a taste of melancholy fun to the proceedings. This film's soundtrack kicks ass, plain and simple. I must have it.

    The acting is very impressive. William Forsythe is my personal favorite, and quite frankly, he's my favorite aspect of the film. He nails Sheriff Wydell's disintegrating sanity better than I ever imagined. The character's obssession, sadness, hatred, madness, hypocricy,... all beautifully brought out by Forsythe's performance. The guy delivers a real tour de force. He's especially brilliant in the scenes where he finally has the rejects right where he wants them. His relentless torture of them, as well as his stalking of Baby really bring his madness and sadism to the surface. He somehow manages to come off as more psychotic than those he's been hunting.

    As far as the rejects themselves go, they're more fleshed out and interesting this time out. Sid Haig is just a riot. I was very pleased with his much increased amount of screentime compared to Corpses. This guy never fails to crack me up. Moseley is once again at his pychotic best too, while Sheri Moon impressed me a lot more than she did in Corpses. The rejects' interactions with each other make for some nice, often comedic moments.

    Good ol' Ken Foree is a real standout as wacky pimpster, Charlie. A very likeable and charismatic character, and funny too. Michael Berryman plays well off of him for comedic effect in their scenes together. Their encounter with a chicken salesman makes for the film's funniest moment. Its just great seeing these two guys on the screen again, especially together.

    I also respect Zombie for daring to try and make you care about the rejects, and in my case, succeeding. After the beyond repulsive actions of the rejects, I was very surprised when I found myself feeling for them as the film went on. The ice cream sequence was a nice touch showing the closeness of the clan. I did half expect the camera to pan to a dead or captive ice cream salesman in the back of the van though. [​IMG] Their scenes with Foree and the others at the whorehouse further showed that they had some semblance of humanity. Then there's that brilliant ending with Freebird...

    Despite these feelings though, and despite Wydell's frightening embrace of sadism, I was still rooting for Wydell all the way. In the end, as reprehensible as Wydell himself had become, I still wanted to see him get his vengeance, and Forsythe's performance was just too damn good for me to root against him.

    This film is warped, repulsive, and downright unnerving. There is no clear cut line between the good guys and the villains, just as is the case in real life. That said, it still manages to be both funny and fun when the script calls for it. The characters are great, the tension is rattling, and the music compliments the proceedings like no other soundtrack I've heard before. This is a brilliant piece of work. After Corpses, I'm shocked to be saying that, but I feel its the truth. I honestly cannot think of one problem I had with the film. Well, maybe one, as I would've liked to have seen Dr. Satan again. [​IMG] But whatever. I'm glad to see this film did so well on the amount of screens it was showing. I think this is just what 2005's dead horror scene needed.
     
  19. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    Just got back from seeing this film. I thought it was unrelentingly excellent, and a real throwback to the exploitation movies of the '70s. For the purposes of this thread, I'd say this was exactly what "horror films" need at this point in time (though I wouldn't truly call it 'horror' in the supernatural sense) - no silly wisecracking killers (a la Freddy Krueger), no silly one-liners, but a lot of dead-serious mayhem, carnage and terror. This is not a film for everyone, but when I'm in the mood for less "subtle" material and more "in your face terror," this has it in spades. I cannot believe we've reached the point where the MPAA allows so much to get past for an R Rating! I think it's a sign of good things to come, if this is a successful film. It rivals THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE as a depraved classic.
     
  20. Anthony*B

    Anthony*B Stunt Coordinator

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    saw this Saturday night, thought it was good, not great (felt the same about Land of the Dead)...bizarrely, the wife liked it but was disappointed that it wasnt depraved enough (!!!!!) - I have clearly turned her to the Dark Side [​IMG]
    acting this time around was MUCH better than HOA1000C, nice look & feel to the movie for the most part
     

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