Starring Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon Zombie, William Forsythe, Leslie Easterbrook, Ken Foree, and Matthew McGrory
Directed by Rob Zombie
Distributed by Lionsgate
As each frame passes by, it is apparent how much Rob Zombie has grown as a filmmaker even after just two films. While The Devil’s Rejects may indeed be a sequel to his cult hit House of 1000 Corpses, it can easily play as a stand-alone film. The two movies are night and day different; yet, one thing remains the same — the DVD’s of both serve as a love letter to their fans.
Rejects follows the continued misadventures of the dysfunctional Firefly family. Spaulding, Otis, and Baby are back along with Tiny and of course Mother, but there ends its common thread to House. Rejects is more of a revenge/road trip type feature than it is a straight horror movie, but make no mistake; it wears its horror heritage proudly on its sleeve and at times can be brutally nightmarish. While House was a psychedelic terror trip, Rejects is in your face and gritty. There are no pretty colors or artsy scenes to make you ooh and ah. There’s just the realism of violence and depravity.
To be honest, I haven’t seen a movie like this since the early Eighties. Director Zombie sets one hell of a vibe, and the cast just runs with it! It felt odd seeing Rejects in the family friendly, neon laden theatres of today. The bloated multiplex experience kind of throws the film’s mood off a bit. In my head I knew that the theatre I was watching it in should have smelled of stale urine and burned popcorn. That’s where it took me back to, and that is also the highest compliment I could ever give a movie. Ah, the good old days!
Despite all the turmoil in the movie, you really begin to care for these characters. Zombie’s abilities as a storyteller and director, coupled with a simply electrifying cast, make for quite the unexpected ride. While the Rejects themselves may be some of the most despicable people on this planet, they are painted with many different shades of humanity. Even psychos can develop a loving family bond, and it is exhibited throughout the film. Sid Haig’s performance is unforgettable. The man is an icon and deservedly so. The character of Spaulding can make us laugh and make us cry. I’ve seen many a weepy eye during the ending of Rejects, and I can assure you garnering sympathy for these devils was no easy task.
In truth, everyone’s performance in Rejects is nothing short of amazing. Along with Haig, Moseley, Moon Zombie, and Forsythe really turn the heat up to new levels, but the show stealer was without question Leslie Easterbrook. Some may remember her from the Police Academy series, but there’s nothing funny or pleasant about her portrayal of Mother Firefly. When she’s on screen, it’s nearly impossible to take your eyes off of her. The rest of the cast is seemingly comprised of a who’s who in the horror genre: P. J. Soles, Ken Foree, Michael Berryman, etc. It’s great to see these stars back at it again on the big screen and, of course, the little one too.
Which brings us to the DVD itself. Next to The Blind Dead box set, Rejects gets my vote for DVD of the year. The first thing noticed and most interesting to fans will probably be the Unrated stamp on the DVD box. It’s always nice to see a director’s original vision, and this does not disappoint. The main difference between the theatrical cut and this unrated DVD is that the sex, the sadism, and the violence have been amped up. Spaulding’s sex scene with ex-porn starlet Ginger Lynn is significantly longer with lots more nudity from both Lynn and Haig! That’s right, Sid! The world is about to get a quick glimpse at Spaulding’s Sac of Tricks™! I’m sure women all over the world will be diving for the pause button on their DVD players! Also of note is the undressing scene between Bill Moseley and Priscilla Barnes. If you thought the scene was hard to watch in its theatrical cut, brother, you ain’t seen nuthin’! The dark places that both Moseley and Barnes had to go to in this scene is a true testament to their craft. Zombie once said to Moseley about this part of the film that “art is not safe.” Wiser words have never been spoken. In fact, there’s nothing safe about Rejects. It mirrors the darkest side of humanity where life is not always filled with puffy clouds and calm rivers, and it does so brilliantly.
As stated before, the DVD of House was a gift for fans. Zombie went back and filmed special footage just for the DVD menus. How can you get cooler than that? Well, consider the ante upped! If you’re a Devil’s Rejects fan, you simply could not ask for more. Let’s talk about the extras. There are two audio commentaries. One with Zombie and one with the cast. Each has its own charm, and neither is dull or boring even for a second. Zombie is a passionate and fascinating guy, and to hear him talk about Rejects is almost as entertaining as watching the film itself. The cast commentary as you can imagine is absolutely hilarious. It’s impossible to listen to it without laughing. Sid, Bill, and Sheri put on quite the audio show. The affection they have for each other shines through every scene and joke. Even with all the insane shit taking place onscreen, their commentary is insightful, funny, and dare I say it, heartwarming!
The laughs and good stuff don’t end there though; this DVD set has LOTS to offer! From blooper reels to make-up tests to deleted scenes that include — wait for it — DOCTOR SATAN, this set has it all. Also included are the always funny Captain Spaulding mock TV commercials, a home movie by Otis, the full episode of Dan Roebuck’s Morris Green Show, and much, much more. That would certainly be enough to quench your DVD extra thirst, but alas, there is a second disk!
The question beckons as to how to trump the cool packaging of the House of 1000 Corpses DVD. I’ll tell you how: You include a completely new movie on the second disk! Very similar to From Dusk Till Dawn‘s feature length Full Tilt Boogie making-of film, on the second disk you will find 30 Days in Hell: The Making of The Devil’s Rejects. Clocking in at a run time of nearly two and a half hours, 30 Days is a making-of film that takes us from Rejects‘ infancy to its wrapping, and the viewer gets to watch every step of the way. Everything you could ever want to know about Rejects is discussed in detail. To say this set is a fan’s dream come true is an understatement.
There have been many steps taken on the Rejects road to hell. Well, hell is now here to take home with you, and whether you’re a horror fan or just a fan of great cinema, this DVD is worth your time and money. The Rejects‘ reign may have come to a cinematic ending, but these characters are guaranteed to live on through fans all over the world for decades to come.
Audio commentary with Director Rob Zombie
Audio commentary with Actors Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, and Sheri Moon Zombie
30 Days in Hell: The Making of The Devil’s Rejects feature film
Morris Green Show – “Ruggsville’s #1 Talk Show”
Mary The Monkey Girl commercial
Spaulding Christmas commercial
Cheerleader Missing – The Otis home movie
“Satan’s Got To Get Along Without Me” – Buck Owens video
Matthew McGrory tribute
Theatrical trailer and TV spots
5 out of 5