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The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
Written and Directed by Rob Zombie
Production for The Devil’s Rejects began on May 25, 2004. If you happen to be a Rob Zombie fan than your sure to find the two-disc edition of this film to your liking. The second disc has a making of the film entitled 30 Days in Hell, which was extensive and a movie in itself, if wanting to know the process behind what tasks they went through from start to finish. For instance, in the beginning shootout sequence they used about 420 squibs that were handled by one person. Joking on set and calling it the “House of 1000 squibs.” Something I hadn’t known was that Zombie prefers not to be present for castings, something I would think a director/writer would almost insist on. Rosario Dawson was also given a minor role in which she tended to Dr. Satan in the hospital. In the film when they interview the police after the shootout, right after was when we were supposed to see them roll out Dr. Satan. Zombie saying his reason for trying to bring back the character being strictly for the fans. The makeup alone took 15 hours to get into to not even include; but that it ended up looking too hokey. P.J. Soles had originally wanted the role of Gloria which ended up going to Priscilla Barnes, though ended up getting a small part either way.
The film was supposedly 7 months after the events of House of 1000 Corpses. The reason for me not doing that film first being that both movies are essentially two different sides to the family and I didn’t feel they had to be watched in any kind of order to enjoy. I actually prefer this one much more and perhaps by this point, having known each other from years prior, helped with the relationship showcased throughout. We open with Tiny, (Matthew McGrory) on his way back to the Firefly’s house as sirens get louder as we see a slew of police on their way with a search and destroy mission led by Sheriff Wydell (William Forsythe). We see the family awake in the midst of their filth as they rush to gather guns and ammo, enduring in an epic showdown between cops and crooks; Otis (Bill Moseley) and Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) getting away and mother staying behind when Rufus (Tyler Mane) gets shot down. I really enjoy the freeze frame shots Zombie does in his films. Gives the fear more feeling and the close-ups of certain individuals work well because his main characters execute their performances with such validity. Through the making of, several cast members stated how certain scenes were hard to shoot because of the content at times. Zombie’s infamous quote of “Art is not safe,” being a response when approached from Bill.
Later looking through the house, police find scrapbooks and broadcast that they’re coming for all three and to watch out. Baby calls Spaulding (Sid Haig) who leaves to catch up with the two and is able to get a hold of Charlie (Ken Foree) to tell him he’d be on his way down there next. Running from the cop’s gives the two little options as they take control over one family and wait for him to arrive. Roy (Geoffrey Lewis) thinks he’s getting lucky when approached by Baby so as to not even hear Otis creeping up behind him. Family members Gloria (Barnes) and Adam (Lew Temple) discuss the “silly notion” of there actual being satanic worshipers and how it was just a way to keep people home; as his wife Wendy (Kate Norby) takes a shower. Just then, the three enter from outside to pull guns on the two. Their friend Jimmy (Brian Posehn) knocks a bit later and is killed immediately upon being let in. Things just got a “little” tense. When Spaulding’s truck breaks down he’s forced to steal a car where we get the cameo of Soles. Having their fun with them ends soon and Otis takes the guys to search for guns while leaving Baby with the girls. Sheriff Wydell tending back to the station to question Mother Firefly (Leslie Easterbrook); who gave an amazing performance in this next scene. Her delivery of the lines and that smile, how she searches for the Sheriff’s brother in her books. “We’ll get cha!” Again with the freeze frame moment, heading back to Otis and the boys.
I loved how Otis taunted them the whole way too; great fight sequence between him and Lew. Those bright blues while speaking were great for a focal point. Wendy meanwhile, decides to get cute and try to make a run for it after going to the restroom, knowing it could very well mean her life. Gloria ends up taking a knife to the heart while Wendy runs straight into the Captain’s arms. Otis returns later that night with a surprises for Wendy as he seems to be wearing a different expression on his face… The next day the maid finding a few surprises for herself with Wendy making her escape and taking notice to her husband’s face over her own. Her soon to be splattered body all over the street just moments away from occurring. Wydell is having an understandably difficult time coping with the loss of his brother which begins to affect him the more on the case. Awoken from a nightmare, he receives a call from bounty hunters Rondo (Danny Trejo) and Billy Ray (Dallas Page) who had caught up with the trio searching for. Taking care of Mother, once and for all, we find the three having arrived at their destination to go inside to wind down and have a good time. The next day Charlie and Clevon go out to buy some chickens; “Now I have thought about fu*king some chickens,” they get stopped by the Sheriff afterwards who says to make sure all three were accounted for by midnight and that he would take care of it from there, or else.
Terry Reid’s song was a great way to go about the bounty hunters coming around, much like how The Allman Brothers opening up the film did the same. Taking the fight back to the house was almost a must as I saw it. Make sure you take care of everything that involves them and how Wydell stapled the pictures to those who killed them was one of those appreciated “added touches.” The whole last scene being a great interrogation to have for the killers to get a taste of their own medicine. I really thought it would end there. The whole scene with Baby and the Sheriff was great, and there’s Tiny with the assist. As well liked as the characters are it was important to kill them all off. Well, Tiny’s the only one that doesn’t pass away in the film. They came off the first film with an unknown vulnerability after letting their guard down for a night of enjoyment with someone they thought could trust. Zombie having stated knowing that “Free Bird” would be the song to play at the end and I have to agree once again. It’s the quintessential ”epic” song of the 70′s and the way it was incorporated into the last shots made for a great goodbye. They go balls out one last time, there’s nothing glorious about it; they are killers. But we see them broken, fully aware they can’t run any longer. To see them force themselves up and get ready as they head straight for the cops who have blocked off the street up ahead.
The reason they’re deaths were important was so that Zombie could move on from these characters and start with other projects. I never know why people complain when certain filmmakers use the same people, as though no one is guilty of such. When in fact it seems some of the more popular films have particular groups attached to their processes. I’d rather see a bunch of actors I like as long as there not doing the same thing again and again. As well, I don’t think Rob gets enough credit for how good of a director he is. He’s able to capture great images, no matter his script and does so in ways I haven’t seen before. He worked a lot with hand-held’s if not almost entirely. Adding to the type of intense, in your face horror that he seems to deliver. This one looking very different from the first installment of the same characters. In the first, they got to show off their “costumes” and what they’re capable of and how they, more or less get their kicks. This one also got to see Spaulding thrown into the mix instead of just being the “gate-keeper.” My favorite, hands down, being Bill’s depiction in both films. He was what scared me and I love, loved how evil and enthralled I was by his character. That’s not weird, right? I have yet to see a film by Zombie’s that I haven’t enjoyed and cannot wait to see his new one. While perhaps too graphic or “pornographic” for some, a well made film if just that. Even if the first was too much for you, The Devils Reject’s show a different light to the family from hell.