It’s amazing how a man like Rob Zombie who fancies himself a hardcore horror fan has done little to evolve since his first film “House of 1,000 Corpses.” Every film he’s made since that initial movie has repeated the same beats over and over, just re-arranged in various ways to look new and original. He fills the screen with genre veterans again. He inexplicably sets his movie in a mid-seventies gritty trailer park landscape. The opening of his film is directed by a goofy music video, padding the run time, and he even includes something of a montage with our characters, set to classic rock music as we saw in the finale of “The Devil’s Rejects.” Worst of all, he writes some of the clunkiest dialogue I’ve ever heard, and he is still dead set on placing wife Sheri Moon Zombie front and center.
Danny Trejo has been in almost three hundred films, and at the age of sixty nine (turning seventy this year!), he is by no means slowing down. He has almost a dozen projects lined up in 2014, including a supporting role in the upcoming George Lopez series on FX in America. Trejo is a man who obviously loves to work and will be in almost anything. Whether you enjoy the movie or not, you have to admit the man has presence and a unique charisma that makes him stand out, whether he’s playing a bar tender, or a janitor. While Mr. Trejo has managed to amass a humongous list of films and television roles, here are five we especially enjoyed from his long and well earned career.
One thing about Rob Zombie as a director is that he’s tasked with finishing one of his many nonsensical horror films with Sheri Moon as the lead. Sheri Moon is not an actress by any definition. She’s mostly suited for silent supporting roles with someone else doing the heavy lifting. Hence why she’s so much fun in “The Devil’s Rejects.” Sid Haig and Bill Moseley are such excellent actors, Moon doesn’t have to do much but work off them. With “Lords of Salem,” Zombie seems to realize Moon can’t carry a movie on her own, so he once again gives Moon a great supporting cast to work off of. When that safety net is gone, Moon mostly plays her role without much dialogue or heavy emoting, as Zombie fills in her bad performance with a ton of surrealism.
No one will ever really accuse “H2″ or “Rob Zombie’s Halloween” of ever being a masterpiece. I mean, while they do have the vision of a man who has something to say in the horror genre, they’re not the indicators of someone who can firmly grasp what a remake is supposed to be. John Carpenter’s “The Thing” worked so well because he had source material to work off of, and re-imagined the Howard Hawks original in creative ways. Zombie’s “Halloween” movies felt like repackaged leftovers disguised as a meal. Heck, I don’t think Zombie ever grasped what filmmaking was supposed to be.
I’m one of those people who very much looked forward to “Pontypool,” and am not ashamed to admit that I was utterly disappointed with this production. It was dull as day old bread, lacked in sheer suspense and tension and sadly didn’t quite creep me out as much as its double “Dead Air” did. Not quite a zombie movie, people like to brand it as such and there aren’t even many zombies that pop up. What we get in the end is a practice in a cinematic dry humping that promises frights and never actually delivers. Seek out “Dead Air” for a nearly identical premise that works much better.
In Rob Zombie’s first bastardization of the Halloween franchise, we’re told that Michael is so intent on going home that he’s willing to do anything to get there and is perfectly willing to remain unresponsive to psychological help. We’re also told that he’s completely emotionless and cold to just about everyone. And yet here we are with “Halloween II” where we get to see how cute and affectionate he is with his mother. This is further proof that Zombie just doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing ninety percent of the time. How can we ever expect to see a good movie from this man again if the story he’s telling is inconsistent? Seeming to have no other option these days, Zombie continues chucking rotten eggs our way from the contrived “Halloween II” (I refuse to call it H2) right down to the awful animated mess that was “El Superbeasto.”
I’m one of the many people in the film community who has had nothing but contempt for the practices Rob Zombie has exorcised since his venturing in to filmmaking. Beside “Devil’s Rejects,” Zombie is a man who is nothing but a studio tool who injects his own brand of trailer trash chic in everything he does, even polluting the origin of Michael Myers with it. Zombie is 100 percent Grade A hack and a complete studio stooge who knows how to be a horror fan but doesn’t know what horror fans want, nor will he ever try to find out.
“Halloween” will be and must be compared to the original, because it’s a pale imitation, it’s a botched job on every meaning of the word. At the end of the day, while “Halloween” is still one of my all time favorite horror films, “Black Christmas” is by far the better and creepier picture. But the remakes are basically the same. They’re just so bad they’re embarrassing and Zombie fails to inspire an influence and creates what can simply be known as “The Devil’s Rejects: Haddonfield.” Zombie continues with his demonizing of the poor and lower class, while also treading over the same crap we were given in “The Devil’s Rejects.” Is this better than “Halloween: Resurrection”? Sure, but so is smashing your head into a wall.