Two young couples
take a misguided tour onto the back roads of America in search of a local
legend known as Dr. Satan. Lost and stranded, they are set upon by a bizarre
family of psychotics. Murder, cannibalism, and satanic rituals are just
a few of the 1000+ horrors that await.
"I know what your problem is? Ya'll think us folk from the country are real funny-like, dontcha? Well saddle up the mule ma, pass me some grits! I's
got to get me some edu-cation, uh hu hu hu, you asshole!"
- Captain Spaulding
It's sad that a
film as wonderfully made as this is so grossly misunderstood.
Let me say this
right off that bat.... If you're idea of a horror film is I know What
You Did Last Summer and you consider Scream to be the most shocking
film ever made, this is not a film for you. If you haven't seen I
Spit on Your Grave, Evil Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Dawn
of the Dead or Last House on the Left, this is not a film for
Now having said
that, this is a film for me. It is a film for true horror fans, the
kind that stay up and watch Dawn of the Dead and The Beyond,
who know who Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, and George Romero are. This
is a film that was meant to be seen by people like this and will only be
enjoyed by people like this. This is not exactly mainstream stuff
here... only a small percentage of people enjoy this stuff, and for those
people, this film is a true revival of classic exploiting horror.
Rob Zombie has
created a homage to 1970's exploitation/horror films, and he has been extremely
successful in achieving that goal. The film borrows largely from Texas
Chainsaw Massacre and Last House on the Left, with his own little
bits of original demential thrown in and an assortment of other horror
film references. The film tells the tale of four teenagers who are
terrorized and tortured by a bizarre southern family living in a remote
farmhouse in 1977. The film uses all sorts of camera tricks--negative
coloring, split screens, and seemingly random inserts of grainy snuff-like
footage of various S&M and gore images; the off-the-wall effect is
similar to what Oliver Stone did in Natural Born Killers.
The film is not about plot, or about characters. Its purpose is to
shock and disturb, to serve no other function than to entertain through
exploitation and disgusting and bizarre violence. Just as you think
the limits of weirdness are approaching, Zombie takes the film a step farther,
and before long you surrender yourself to the mercy of the film and just
accept things for what they are. The film has the feeling of an out
of control freight train being piloted by a madman and the climax of the
film is truly bizarre. The reviewers who wrote the film off as overly-sadistic
with little in the ways of character development, plot, or suspense have
come to see a different kind of film, perhaps more at home with titles
like The Sixth Sense or Silence of the Lambs. They
have no businesses debating a great film like this.
Rob Zombie has
created a film that is both a homage and derivative at the same time; most
things in the film have been done before, in one shape or another, and
the level of gore is a fraction of what was intended, due to its shameful
But this film
is something that hasn't been seen in decades and it has been made with
the utmost care that only a true horror fan could provide. It is
a film made by horror fans for horror fans, a true labor of love by Mr.
Zombie, despite some flaws. If you aren't sitting in the theater
going "Hey, that's Bill Mosely from TCM 2!" or "That shot is a homage
to the cover of Evil Dead!" or "Check that out! Tiny wears
peoples skin like Leatherface!" then you probably aren't meant to be seeing
this film. But for those who are, the film is a true gem and a rarity;
it's a kind of film that hasn't been seen on the silver screen in over
twenty years and probably won't be for a further twenty.
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pictures (original production company) refused to release the film, believing
it would be given an "NC-17" rating by the MPAA.
- Filmed in 2000, and not released until three years later.
names of several characters are taken from Marx Brothers films, eg. "Captain Spaulding" (Animal Crackers); "Rufus Firefly"
(Duck Soup); "Otis Driftwood" (A Night At The Opera).
- The robber's line about 'grease paint' and 'brains' is a reference
to the song "Grease Paint And Monkey Brains" by Rob's former band, White
- During its box office run, the movie encountered two instances
of the number '666': At the beginning of its run, when its opening weekend
was $3,460,666, and at the end of its run, when its per-theater-average
(the weekend gross divided by the number of theaters) was $666 per theater.
Coincidence or magic? You decide.
- The actual house is the same used in The Best Little Whorehouse
in Texas, which can be viewed during Universal Studio's tram ride.
However, during filming, Universal refused to cease the tram tours, which
delayed filming during many scenes.
- Most of the cutaway scenes (Otis torturing cheerleaders, Baby
masturbating with the skeleton, etc). were filmed in Rob Zombie's basement
after filming wrapped. He would invite cast members over to his house on
the weekends and shoot the footage himself with a 16mm hand-held camera.
With the exception of the shot of a setting sun, he created the opening
credits the same way.
- Rob Zombie appears a few seconds into the film (for roughly two
seconds) as Dr. Wolfenstein's assistant, hitting a pumpkin with a sledgehammer.
Zombie was originally going to play Wolfenstein himself, but he didn't
like the way the makeup turned out and opted to have a brief cameo instead.