Rob Zombie is an anomaly to me. Though I’ve only met the guy twice, I was expecting to see the Rob Zombie of my early 90’s teen angst days: all zombied-out, with a large scary voice, and he’d probably be really mean cause his songs are scary. I was wrong. Rob is the nicest guy I’ve met in a while who has everybody kissing his ass all the time. Rob seems like a genuine down-to-earth dude. Without his makeup, he looks like a regular guy even! He’s not scary at all. And his voice isn’t all loud and booming, he’s a calm, intelligent, and well-spoken guy. It makes me wonder if Marilyn Manson is really a big dork in real life.
Rob’s favorite scene in House of 1000 Corpses is the same as mine; when the father finds his daughter tied up in the shed in the backyard, and he runs. Now I feel special.
What does he believe are the differences between first and second films? ^ It’s 100% different. On your first film, it’s like you can’t even have an approach. Everything’s new. I have a pretty fast learning curve on things. We have more talented people behind the scenes, from camera operators to art directors, and it makes a big difference. You’re only as strong as your team and we have a killer team. I think people are going to be shocked. There is no relation to the first film at all.
Has he grown as a director? ^ It’s amazing how much you learn. It’s hard to explain. You get a better understanding of what works. And I think the actors, what they learn the first time they see themselves in front of a camera, it’s like, “Geez, are we making a silent film? What’s with the gesturing?” It’s sort of like when I first started making music. You have a song in your head. It takes a while for you to figure out how you can get it from your head to a record. And in between you’re like, “Well, that’s not quite what I had in mind”. That’s the process of getting it from your head on film. It’s been astonishing. Certain scenes, when they get done, you say, “God that’s exactly what I fucking had in mind”. Whereas last time, I said. “Well, all right, that’s as good as that’ s gonna get.”
How does he feel about the last film? ^ I don’t like to go back. I think everything has its place for what it is. Sometimes I’ll talk about early records and I’ll be like, “ I hate that record”. Next time I’ll go, “Oh that’s my favorite record.” You never know. What I see and what everyone else sees is different. I never ever felt like I had achieved what I wanted at any moment during the last movie. But this time, with time and patience, more pre-production and more time to fine-tune, what’ s going on film is what I wanted. Whereas last time I can’t even think of one moment in the last moment that was exactly what I wanted.
Is “Devils Rejects” a better film than HOTC? ^ I think it’s an infinitely better film. I mean, its not done yet, so I don’t know the total impact. That’s the weird thing about movies. I know scenes that have been finished are infinitely better than the last movie. Does it work completely? I don’t know, its not finished. It’s hard to say. I think it’s a far superior movie on a lot of levels, and I think the cast, and the new people, like William Forsythe, and people who are returning like Bill, Sid, Sheri, I think that when people see them in this movie they’ll say, “Wow, I didn’t know they had that inside of them”. They’ve really done stuff that I don’t think they knew they had inside of them!
Rob has revived the careers of some cult faves. Feel unappreciated by Karen Black? (Karen Black, horror icon, refused to come back to work on the sequel, though he basically brought her out of oblivion when he gave her a starring role in “House of 1000 Corpses”.) ^ Nah, I don’t look at it that way. I really like calling people up and having them come in, and you hope everyone comes in happy to do things, and they are. Cause you don’t end up meeting anyone until its almost too late, everyone from PJ Soles, and everyone has been super happy, and super cool. They gave it 100%. They all admitted that they came in suspicious, that they were going to have a miserable time, but it’s the best fucking time they’ve ever had on a movie. Cause it’s a pretty low-key atmosphere. There’s no yelling and screaming.
What is PJ Soles really like? (PJ Soles is my hero: Riff Randall in “Rock N’ Roll High School”, and one of the evil chicks in “Carrie”. She also gets killed in “Halloween” opposite Jamie Lee Curtis. She was naughty and had sex.) ^ She’s great. She’s funny. She was only here for one day and we were working the whole time, but she was fun to be around. I just talked about her the other night cause I was at my friend Johnny Ramone’s House, and him and his wife got into an argument 20 years later about PJ Soles. She was like (Rob does his angry wife voice) “I remember seeing her coming out of your fucking hotel room when you were making “Rock N Roll High School”. What the fuck was that all about?” And I brought it up to PJ. She said, “Oh, that was nothing. The director wanted me to talk to Johnny cause he was nervous. I was married to Dennis Quaid at the time.
How important is the Internet been to his film’s success? ^ The Internet is like, the mystery thing. You know its super important but its hard to gauge what its doing. I feel it won this movie. Even in the last four years it seems like it’s changed. You really can feel the effects of it cause it’s so fast. What it takes a magazine two months to mention, the Internet says right away. This’ll be on someone’s website later tonight.
Does he have a release date yet for “Devil’s Rejects”? ^ Lions Gate has been really cool. They haven’t rushed us to make a certain release date. We’re talking January/February. Right after Christmas.
It seems like Rob has pretty much total freedom with this film. ^ Freedom? It’s almost unheard of, but I have like 100% freedom. At no point has Lions Gate told me anything. I cast whom I want. Our cast is old, when you look at movies.
Inspiration to make this film, or what? ^ I didn’t want to make a “Horror Movie”. I had these characters and I wanted to make something that was almost like a violent Western. Sort of like a road movie, with more of the flavor of the “Wild Bunch” or “Bonny and Clyde”, or “Badlands”. It is a sequel of the last movie, but I didn’t want to be held to the rules of the last movie, and there’s certain things in the last movie that don’t play in this one, so I didn’t put them in cause they just don’t make sense.
Considering this is a pretty violent film, how will the rating system affect its release? ^ Compared to this film, the first one was completely goofy. This one is brutal. With a very humorless attitude. There are moments, because the actors are very charismatic, so I took the approach that my villains are my heroes. I figured that would work in the same way that Charles Manson does. It’s not that you like him, but he’s charismatic enough that you want to watch him. The tone of the film is really dark and really brutal. There’s a scene when Otis and Baby, when they first escape, kidnap this country western couple and hold them hostage in a motel. They sort of just torture them. There’s sort of a rape scene. It’s not a cheap gore movie, its more psychological. It is brutal to watch, it was brutal to film, and it was tough for the actors.
What does Rob think of trilogies? (“The Matrix”, “Lord of the Rings”, “Scream”, “The New Crappy Star Wars”) ^ Trilogies are bullshit man. Ok, cause the way I think it always goes is like; The first one is what it is, and if you do it right, you usually make the second one better. The third one is always crap.
Is the movie production cycle frustrating? ^ Nothing about this has frustrated me. I guess with Universal it was a more corporate structure and every little thing was a huge meeting in a giant boardroom with 25 people, but you don’t even know anyone’s name, you don’t know what their job is, and halfway through that movie I wanted to bang my head against the wall with their “Here’s our notes!” and the notes are thicker than the script. And that’s why things get confused. When you’re left alone, you’ll figure it out. We’re smart. I’m smart, the crew is smart, and the actors are smart. We’ll work it out and make it work. When people just want to weigh in with their half-assed comments just because they think they should have one, that’s why movies suck. Because nobody can be left alone to think for two goddamn seconds. Studios are like, “Well, why don’t you do THIS?” and I’m like, “No, cause that’s totally stupid.” Lions Gate are very much like, “We trust you. Go make a good movie.”
More interviews in part four of ROB ZOMBIE AND THE REJECTS>>>
Posted on July 13, 2004 in Features by Heidi Martinuzzi
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