I love movies by Rob Zombie, and the first 2 films from the Devil’s Rejects series are 2 of my absolute favourite movies. On top of that Sid Haig was an absolute legend (may he rest in peace), Bill Moseley is an absolute master of crazy in horror movies and from what I can tell, Richard Brake seriously cannot do any wrong! This move has been preceded by a lot of hype and has been a long time coming… But did it live up to expectation? This review does contain a spoiler in regard to what happens to the character of Captain Spaulding.
Let me start very simply indeed by saying that it took the characters of Captain Spaulding, Baby and Otis, made them slightly supernatural by allowing them to somehow survive that fire fight with the police, and then… yeah it made what by any standard would be a great film. I don’t think it lived quite up to the standard of House of 1,000 Corpses, and I think didn’t really carry the realism and brutality of Devil’s Rejects, but to be fair those are some pretty big shoes to fill!
We first learn about what happened to the rejects after the fire fight and see their journey through the prison system including Otis’s escape, baby’s parole hearing and also subsequent escape along with Captain Spauldings time on death row.
Captain Spaulding is one of my favourite characters in the series and it is a real shame that he is killed off literally just minutes in to the film – BUT if you know anything of Sid Haig you will know that he had been experiencing some serious health issues around the time of filming and sadly passed away before the film got a major release. As such the original part which had been written for Sid Haig had to be changed dramatically, and I for one am glad that they were able to keep him in the movie, even if just for a short while.
When we see Captain Spaulding, he’s not the same man as in the original 2 films, and whilst he (as well as the other characters) have aged a lot, it does show that Sid Haig was also unwell during the filming of the movie, which made the final scene he filmed a touching tribute and farewell to a horror legend. In his final speech he sounds very different – his whole voice is less stylized as the clown and you have much more of Sid Haid the man come through in the tone of the voice. Hearing the way he talks, and the things he says sound even crazier than the clown from before, because he sounds more real, more maniacal and more raw! What a master, and what a tribute to his work – Thank you Rob Zombie for keeping him in!
From there on, the film does take on all the hall marks of a great Rob Zombie movie. It has plenty of sex appeal, a hell of a lot of bad language, plenty of gore & blood from an impressive body count and a bunch of characters which are just larger than life. I think that in terms of the types of characters which crop up it feels a lot more like House of 1,000 Corpses and 31 than it does Devils Rejects. And that’s really not a bad thing!
Later in the film we meet some luchadores, a dwarf, plenty of prostitutes and a bunch of people from the bottom of the barrel of society. It’s a gritty dirty movie, in all respects and that’s part of the reason why this film deserves to be loved and thoroughly enjoyed. I for one loved this film, but there was something missing from it for the full duration. It’s everything I wanted from Rob Zombie but fell just a smidge short amongst the other 2 rejects movies.
Seeing Rich Brake bring something new to the film was awesome to see – I was excited right from the start to see what sort of role he would have in the film and it wasn’t even just a pivotal role for the story as a whole – he was an inventive way to increase the body count and add some major attitude to the trio that had become just a duo. Although in an idea world I have to say that what would have made this film perfect (and it’s absolutely the smidge that was missing) would have been to see Rich Brake starring and killing alongside the one and only captain. Spaulding adds a unique style of attitude which only Sid Haig could bring, bit the key cast in this move did a damn fine job of bringing it home ensuring that the rejects were just as crazy as ever.
If you’re serious about your horror, especially the slasher kind, you need to do yourself a favour and make sure that this movie makes it in to your collection. It’s a real nod at the classics of the genre from the 80s and you can really see where Rob Zombie gets his pedigree from!