Sometimes I need sick, demented, twisted psychopaths in my life. Let me explain; not the kind of that was either created or strengthened by the romantic notions of macabre or the kind that’s hell bent on revenge where every person is a target in order to quench their murderous rage. Folks, sometimes there are people with no powers, no motive and no reason who genuinely like to put other humans through the proverbial grinder (of hell). For myself, there’s not a lot of creep factor to these kinds of characters. Even in the most ridiculously entertaining sort slasher or monster movies, the element of the supernatural always leaves me with a lingering creepy thought of how odd it would be if these stories were real. With the run of the mill crazy killers, I know these kinds of people exist! Back in elementary school, I remember being dropped off at the local public library (not a nostalgic video store tale this time kiddies!) for hours at a time, probably to give my mother a break from all the movie watching I was doing at the time. I would usually go straight to the Zoo Books to learn about animals or head right into horror novels and short stories. Now whether it was a lack of supervision or care, the librarians never really took notice that I found my way to books about serial killers. I don’t know if it would have been a big deal in the first place but I was somewhat curious about the stories of killers in the real world. No demons, curses or talismans to be found, only poor upbringings filled with abuse and/or social anxieties.
My relationship with horror had reached a point where I craved variety (it was a good 5 years into it at the age of 9) so I got my hands on a genre of horror that focused more on human killers with no moral compass or motive, shock horror that were sometimes in the cult or exploitation variety. These kinds of flicks offer all the same goodness as any good monster movie, the only difference is these look like the people you might see on the street and that was always entertaining to me. Unfortunately, the popularity and the selection of these sorts of horror flicks are pretty scarce; imagine my surprise when a sequel to a decent horror movie turned out to be one of the best killer horror movies in the last decade.
Now, let’s start off with some history on this flick; The Devil’s Rejects is a sequel to Rob Zombie’s (yeah, that rocker/horror connoisseur) first movie, House of a Thousand Corpses. Now, I may be in the minority in the horror community with this one but I thought it was a valiant effort on his part. House of 1000 corpses felt like Rob Zombie’s love letter to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and I for one felt his heart. You had your crazy family, a bunch of naïve kids and enough gore to make you feel squeamish. When I heard of a sequel in the works, I was fairly excited to see the crazy Firefly family again for one more round but instead I was put through 107 minutes of pure killer mayhem! The Devil’s Rejects was more like a rock song dedicated to the disturbingly entertaining, Last House on the Left. Not only did it succeed creatively, with taking the same characters from one genre of horror and throwing them into another but somehow, Mr. Zombie was able to have you sort of cheering for this sick band of killers by introducing something that was even worse to hunt them down!
The movie takes the Firefly family from House of 1000 Corpses and puts them on the run from a revenge-bent sheriff who has a personal vendetta against these killers that drive him to unlock his inner sadistic monster. The characters are my favorite part of this flick; instead of just having the characters kill more innocent folks, this movie decided to give these killers a little more depth. The flick focuses mainly on the hyper active psychopath Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie), the ultra-violently insane Otis (Bill Mosely) and of course the creepy clown Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig)! The chemistry between these three makes them somewhat likeable, aside from the serial killings of course. One of the best scenes in the movie is after a blood soaked excursion the three terrifying killers end up in a car arguing about whether or not to get ice cream! Throughout the movie, you see that these killers have a sick sense of loyalty to each other and for me, it somewhat makes them likeable as the “hero” in the movie begins to turn more towards a darker path. Eventually, the trip turns into a chaotic road trip while they run from the law and a showdown between the morally empty band of killers and morally corrupt man of the law goes down as some of the best scenes in recent horror history!
I recommend this flick to those who want a change in their horror watching ways. Put away the hockey mask, fedora and chainsaw and watch some crazy events unfold with people that could be just like you. Okay, maybe not like you but maybe like the weirdos that live in a house you always try to avoid.