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Devil's Rejects event

03.28.2005


By Thomas Leupp

Last Tuesday night the fine folks at Lions Gate invited JoBlo.com / Arrow in the Head out to their headquarters for a special advance screening of THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, Rob Zombie’s highly anticipated follow-up to his 2003 cult smash, HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES. Though roundly panned by mainstream critics, CORPSES was huge hit with genre folks, and Lions Gate didn’t hesitate to bankroll Zombie’s sophomore effort, due to hit theaters in July.

Prior to the screening, Rob got up to introduce the film. He stressed that the film, though technically “unfinished” (some tweaks were needed with color correction, effects, sound, etc.), was basically in its final form. Seated in the back were cast members Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon Zombie, Ken Foree and Leslie Easterbrook, all of whom were viewing the film for the first time.

Lion’s Gate won’t allow us to give a full review, but here are some thoughts. Fans of Corpses will not be disappointed with REJECTS, though the sequel differs considerably in its tone. Simply put, THE DEVIL'S REJECTS is intense. Gone is the fun and camp of the first film. REJECTS is a brutal, rage-filled ride, replete with images both savage and disturbing. Though there are moments of comic relief sprinkled throughout, the primary feeling Zombie creates is one of dread. Either something f*cked-up is happening, or it’s about to happen. And the most harrowing scenes don’t even involve people getting killed. Rob is really adept at making an audience squirm.

As a director, Rob stepped up his game with THE DEVIL'S REJECTS. He’s clearly evolved as a filmmaker, showing more originality and confidence in his approach. Peckinpah was a name bandied about by people afterward, as well as a few mentions of Tarantino. The influence of both filmmakers can be seen throughout REJECTS, but this film is 100% Rob Zombie.

The cast has been upgraded too. In addition to star William Forsythe and the familiar faces from the first film, Rejects features memorable cameos from Danny Trejo, Diamond Dallas Page, Ginger Lynne Allen and Brian Posehn (a Mr. Show alum).

Lions Gate hosted a reception afterward where we got to hang with Zombie and the cast. The food was strictly white-trash: fish sticks, little hot dogs, and my personal fave, fried macaroni and cheese balls.

I talked at length with Bill Moseley about his experience seeing the film for the first time. Though clearly excited about the film, he talked about how difficult it was to return to “those dark places” he visited while shooting. (Watch the movie and you’ll understand what he means.) He mentioned that Zombie displayed a lot more trust this time around, allowing his actors more rope to ad-lib and make the characters their own. Leslie Easterbrook mentioned that, prior to making Rejects, she’d never so much as cursed in any of her roles.  (She plays raving psychopath Mother Firefly.) I talked with amiable Sid Haig about his voluminous (and impressively eclectic) body of work. Sid also mentioned that he’s in the running to play Blackbeard in the 3rd Pirates of the Caribbean movie. How cool would that be?  We need to start a letter-writing campaign or something. Sid Haig for Blackbeard! Make it happen, fanboys.

Overall, the atmosphere was one of giddy excitement. Judging from the enthusiastic endorsement of horror fans in attendance, it looks like Rob Zombie’s got another hit on his hands with The Devil’s Rejects. Too bad the rest of you will have to wait until July 22nd to see it.

CLICK HERE to read ROB ZOMBIE'S BLOG

Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at [email protected].

Source: JoBlo.com

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