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PCR # 279  (Vol. 6, No. 30)  This edition is for the week of July 25--31, 2005.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"The Devil's Rejects"

Movie review by:
Nolan B. Canova
Four stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

 by Mike Smith
"The Devil's Rejects" by Nolan B. Canova
Beam Him Up: The Passing of James "Scotty" Doohan....Summer of Horror - The Best Since the '80s?
 by Andy Lalino
Lightning...."The Devil's Rejects"
 by John Lewis
Feeling Better?....Movie Notes....Passing On....Jaws: The Story, Part 27
 by Mike Smith
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Lion's Gate Films, Inc.     
Starring: Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon Zombie, William Forsythe, Ken Foree, Leslie Easterbrook, Michael Berryman. (Cameos include Steve Railsback, P.J. Soles, Mary Woronov, and Ginger Lynn Allen)
Written by: Rob Zombie
Directed by: Rob Zombie
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

A frequent topic of debate around the "offices" of Crazed Fanboy (and the message board) is what constituted the peak years for horror movies and why. It basically comes down to when you grew up and what influenced you. Those over 55 might argue that true "classical" horror movies were over by 1960. Younger fans, and the audience most obviously targeted by The Devil's Rejects grew up in an era of "anything goes", basically 1970--1987, what some might call a golden era of blood, guts, gore and violence (insert Andy Lalino's backflips here). For those, the watered-down fare of the 1990's and beyond are pale measure indeed of that which was.

Rob Zombie has for the second time courageously recreated a classical 1970s horror movie that never existed before now (the first was House of 1,000 Corpses), with all the bells, whistles, and in-your-face mayhem we all remember. Add to this a scary/funny script, a truly mental group of characters and an irresistably nostalgic soundtrack. For this he is to be commended. It contains obvious homages to his influences (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Last House on the Left, et., al.) while being an original crime thriller to boot. And most importantly, he did not shirk from the responsibility of providing an all out violence-and-gross-out fest!! Ha, ha, it's a lot to take, but if you're a fan of those kinds of horror movies, you'll find a lot to like here! I know I did.

The year is 1978. The state police raid the Firefly family house, but they have already escaped. Otis (Bill Moseley), Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie), and Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig) go on a killing spree across the country. Sheriff Wydell is hot their their trail thirsting for vengeance; he wants to bring justice...and death....to the notorious family that killed his brother George, the previous sheriff, in House of 1,000 Corpses.

The inbred Fireflys are the very heart of this classic "slasher" film (forgive me if that term's eroded in value due to Freddy Krueger, Jason Vorhees, et.,al., I mean it in the best possible sense). The amazing Bill Moseley is the very incarnation of Charles Manson-by-way-of-the Sawyers. His sister/lover(?) "Baby" played by the alluring Sheri Moon Zombie is always showing her ass (aka, "mooning" us, har har), and is just as dangerous as her brother. Cutter, aka, "Captain Spaulding" admittedly using the name of a Groucho Marx character (the reason escapes me), played by genre screen legend Sid Haig, is arguably the scariest/most mental character and the only man that Otis will listen to. Very notable is "Mother" Firefly, originally played by Karen Black in Corpses, replaced here by Leslie Easterbrook, and a fine job she does. Just as mental in the extreme as the rest of them, brutally maniacal, even after incarceration.

A major surprise to me was William Forsythe as Sheriff Wydell. He made it believeable that he had so much hate and so much rage that he alone might just get the revenge he so desperately seeks (and needs) against really tall odds.

After a few mildly "false endings", the film ends very satisfactorily to me. My movie-watching cohorts Terence and Drew (both of whom may also write reviews of this film) and I discussed some clumsy character appearances toward the end, and some isolated earlier scenes that may have seemed incomplete, but I think we attributed those to the dreaded "missing scene" syndrome that may be restored on the eventual DVD. I didn't feel it worth docking points over.

If I may add an observation regarding the marketing of a movie like this: it will probably do OK, but not great, because a film like this is very hard to market. It's "R" rating, mixed word-of-mouth (not all critics find this subject matter as appealing as I do), and genre classification make it likely we won't see more of this kind of thing.

Too bad, because this is the best movie of the summer so far and a real surprise to me.

On a scale of zero-to-four stars, I give The Devil's Rejects  Four stars

This week's movie review of "The Devil's Rejects" is ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2005, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.