Rob Zombie has slowly but surely won me over. I must admit that as a longtime fan of horror's legendary directors such as; Fulci, Hitchcock, Argento, Craven, Castle, Hooper and Carpenter, I wasn't exactly ecstatic to find out that the hard rocking rebel was taking a shot at directing horror films. Sure, it seems like a natural fit to some, however, I had my reservations concerning Rob's actual skill as a filmmaker. I can safely say those worries have faded over the years as Rob's behind the camera skill as a visual storyteller has grown to match his wild and bloodsoaked imagination.
About a year ago, I became so engrossed by the concept of his new film 31 that I pulled out my billfold and fan-backed the project along with thousands of other genre fans. I guess it's safe to say that over the years this classic horror hound has done a complete turnabout when it comes to the subject of where Rob Zombies name belongs when discussing modern horror directors. His sense of finding intensity in even comedic situations and interactions often feels unique to anyone. Let's take a look at Rob's best outings so far and discuss their overall ranking in his small catalog of films.
5. House Of A Thousand Corpses (2003)
House of 1000 Corpses is a 2003 American exploitation horror comedy film written, co-scored and directed by Rob Zombie in his directorial debut. The film stars Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon Zombie, and Karen Black as members of the Firefly family. Set on Halloween, the film sees the Firefly family torturing and mutilating a group of teenagers who are traveling across the country writing a book. The film explores a number of genres, and features elements of the supernatural. Zombie cited American horror films The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and The Hills Have Eyes (1977) as influences on House of 1000 Corpses, as well as other films released during the 1970s.
Rob's initial offering is solid, and stylistically holds up well even 13 years later. I wasn't a fan of the films dialogue nor of it's homage feel upon my first viewing. It's easier now to see it as decent foothold film from a very ambitious 1st time filmmaker. One thing I've truly learned to love about Rob's style is that he seems to hate exposition, meaning he's fine with showing us what's happening but detest long meaningless conversation pieces designed to lead us like children down the sories path. Still not my favorite RZ movie but much more appreciated than it previously had been.
4. Halloween (2007)
Halloween is a 2007 American slasher film written, directed, and produced by Rob Zombie. The film is a remake/reimagining of the 1978 horror film of the same name; the first in the rebooted Halloween film series and the ninth installment of the Halloween franchise. The film stars Tyler Mane as the adult Michael Myers, Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Sam Loomis, and Scout Taylor-Compton as Laurie Strode; Daeg Faerch portrays a ten-year-old Michael Myers. Rob Zombie's "reimagining" follows the premise of John Carpenter's original, with Michael Myers stalking Laurie Strode and her friends on Halloween night.
Zombie's film goes deeper into the character's psyche, trying to answer the question of what drove him to kill people, whereas in Carpenter's original film Michael did not have an explicit reason for killing. Devoting the first act of the film to humanizing the Myers character was an interesting choice that didn't exactly resonate with fans of the 1978 classic. They didn't want a basic serial killer checklist background for Michael. I like the theatrical cut version and I think ultimately that it's a good film which sometimes seems convoluted in it's themes.
3. The Devil's Rejects (2005)
The Devil's Rejects is a 2005 American horror film written and directed by Rob Zombie, and the sequel to his 2003 film House of 1000 Corpses. The film is centered on the run of three members of the psychopathic antagonist family from the previous film, now seen as anti-heroic protagonists, with Sid Haig, Bill Moseley and Zombie's wife Sheri Moon Zombie reprising their roles. At the time of its release and in the years since, the film has garnered a major cult following.
The Devil's Rejects gives new life to the characters Rob previously introduced in 2003's House Of A Thousand Corpses. The story is a lot more straight-forward this time around as Otis and his family of macabre maniacs are on the run and being chased by a hard nosed lawman out for revenge. This film is an all around far superior effort when compared to it's predecessor and finally explains a little bit more more about everyone's favorite terror trio. Destined to be a cult classic for years to come, The Devil Reject's gives us genre rarity, a horror show taken on the road.
2. Halloween 2 (2009)
Halloween II is a 2009 American slasher film written, directed, and produced by Rob Zombie. The film is a sequel to Zombie's 2007 remake of 1978's Halloween, and the tenth installment of the franchise. Picking up where the 2007 film ended, and then jumping ahead one year, Halloween II follows Laurie Strode as she deals with the aftermath of the previous film's events, Dr. Loomis who is trying to capitalize on those events by publishing a new book that chronicles everything that happened, and Michael Myers as he continues his search for Laurie so that he can reunite with his sister. The film sees the return of lead cast members Malcolm McDowell, Scout Taylor-Compton, and Tyler Mane, who portray Dr. Loomis, Laurie Strode, and Michael Myers in the 2007 film, respectively.
Rob Zombie's second trip to Haddonfield feels a lot more scaled back and restrained. It also recaptures the spirit of the quiet madman -something many fans of the franchise felt had previously been missed. The nightmarish opening sequence is probably the second greatest in the entire series, with the 1978 classic's finale being the first. Zombie shows a steady hand this time out and gives these characters as realistic a slasher sequel as one can expect. Halloween II proved the rock n' roll filmmaker had a plan all along and left fans wanting more.
1. The Lords Of Salem (2012)
The Lords of Salem is a 2012 American independent supernatural horror film written, produced and directed by Rob Zombie, and starring Sheri Moon Zombie, Bruce Davison, Judy Geeson, Patricia Quinn, Dee Wallace, María Conchita Alonso, Jeff Daniel Phillips, and Meg Foster. The plot focuses on a troubled female disc jockey in Salem, Massachusetts, whose life becomes entangled with a coven of ancient witches.
The Lords of Salem is the third film from Haunted Films, the first two being Paranormal Activity and Insidious. After directing the remake of Halloween and its sequel, Rob Zombie stated that he wanted to try something different and original. Also factoring into Zombie's decision was that he was offered complete creative freedom for the project, something that he did not have for either of his Halloween pictures. In my opinion this film is Rob's arrival at the halls of horror genius. Atmosphere, great acting and beautiful camera work culminate to produce a piece of modern horror art. The Lords Of Salem is criminally underrated, even by some of Rob's loyal legion of bloodthirsty fans. I truly believe however that this creepy psychological slow-burn is Zombie's reigning masterpiece work to date.
Well that's all for now horror hounds. Tell us your favorite Rob Zombie film below or feel free to write your own post ranking your RZ favorites. I can't wait for 31 and I hope everyone else in horrorland is just as excited to see what RZ's insanity will bring us next, he's hinted on social media there maybe a third Firefly family film. Follow me here for more great Horror articles and Rob Zombie news as soon as it's available.