BBFC Classification: 18
Director: Rob Zombie
Starring: Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon Zombie, Ken Foree, William Forsythe, Michael Berryman, Danny Trejo, Geoffrey Lewis, Leslie Easterbrook, Lew Temple, P.J. Soles, Brian Posehn, Steve Railsback
Ploughing a different furrow from his 2003 cult hit House of 1000 Corpses – a movie that was basically The Texas Chain Saw Massacre with added weirdness – director Rob Zombie has revised his characters and held back on the spooky undertones for the more depraved sequel.
Set a few months after the events of …Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects begins with the local police force surrounding the home of the very dysfunctional Firefly ‘family’. Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) and Otis (Bill Moseley) escape, but eldest son Rufus is shot and Mother Firefly (Leslie Easterbrook) is arrested by Sheriff Wydell (William Forsythe), brother of the police officer murdered by Otis in the previous film, who is desperate to bring the whole family to justice. Otis and Baby hook up with Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), the clown-faced killer from the first movie, who also turns out to be Baby’s dad, and end up holing up in a hotel room with a country music band and their wives. And then things get really nasty…
Very different in tone and execution to House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects is less of a horror (in the conventional sense) movie and more of an exploitation movie; still very much in the vein of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes but with the emphasis on realism rather than leaning towards the supernatural. The main characters are very different here, especially Otis, who was portrayed as a ghostly albino with a penchant for creating models out of corpses in the first movie. Here he is seen a Charles Manson-type figure with a wickedly dry sense of humour who just slaughters for the love of it. It is his character and the way he interacts with Spaulding (himself slightly different from his original incarnation) that forms the bulk of Zombie’s witty dialogue, and shows Moseley and Haig to be a pretty good antagonistic double act.
Elsewhere, Zombie’s indulgence for cameos comes to the fore as there’s cult star after cult star appearing on-screen. Dawn of the Dead‘s Ken Foree and The Hills Have Eyes actor Michael Berryman prove to be a great comedy duo as Charlie Altamont and his sidekick Clevon, and there are various appearances from Geoffrey Lewis (Salem’s Lot), Danny Tejo (Machete), Priscilla Barnes (Licence to Kill), Tom Towels (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) and comedian Brian Posehn to name but a few.
But the real issue as to whether you’ll enjoy this movie is the violence. Zombie has gone all out and made a movie that can justifiably claim to be a genuine ‘nasty’. Otis and Baby inspire little sympathy; the scene in the motel room with their hostages is one of the most intense and uncomfortable in recent memory, and Spaulding, although given a little more humanity, isn’t much better. So when Wydell finally catches up with them, you would expect some relief, although what plays out may make you shift your allegiances.
Overall, The Devil’s Rejects is a fantastic movie, and the movie that mixes together all of Rob Zombie’s trademarks to great effect – cult actors, great soundtrack (never has Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Free Bird’ been put to better use than here), OTT violence and gore, and a genuine feel for the ’70s road movies that obviously inspired him. It is uncomfortable in places, and it could be said the script is a bit self-indulgent here and there, but, unlike its messy and incoherent predecessor, it nods towards its influences rather than emulates them. Not for everyone, but what is?
Special Features: Audio commentary with director/writer/co-producer/co-composer Rob Zombie, audio commentary with actors Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, and Sheri Moon Zombie,30 Days In Hell – The Making of The Devil’s Rejects documentary, Buck Owens – ‘Satan’s Going To Have To Get Along Without Me’ music video, Bloody Stand Up featurette, Mary The Monkey Girl commercial, Tribute To Matthew McGrory featurette, deleted scenes, blooper reel, Spaulding Xmas commercial, Otis’ Home Movie segment, Make-up Test segment, The Morris Green Show segment, theatrical trailer.
UK Release Date: 26th December 2005