Most of you have heard me speak or write about this man on a few occasions, and the answer to that potential question of why is simple, he has been one of my idols since I was about twelve years old. Rob and his music hit me like no other, it allowed for me to set my monster kid free, and his words were scripture to someone so young who was misunderstood, a dark set of poems that allowed your freak flag to fly, and express passion for all of the darker things. There was only one time that I met Zombie, it was in my wilder days when I had jumped a fence after one of his concerts and was escorted to the bus after
showing a security guard one of my tattoos, but since I began my career, he has been a part of it in some way, like the friends I made in his cast, to the time I tried to crowdfund a short film and was destroyed by 31’s campaign. As I told him, there were no hard feelings,it’s better to get your ass handed to you by someone you admire than a complete stranger off of the street.
When I had heard that Zombie was beginning to do press for the theatrical release of 31, I went through my old files, contacted old connects, spoke to agents and publicists until I reached the right person. This is something I really wanted to happen and it was not a
Last Friday, when I answered a phone call from Los Angeles, I picked it up and heard immediately, “Hi, is this Rob. this is…Rob also”, I immediately felt flush as I was speaking, trying not to fanboy, but the conversation was smooth, very relaxed, and was everything I was hoping it would be. Rob is very matter of fact, with a sharp sense of humor,
and he was nothing but a joy, just a metal and horror-loving dude talking to another.
This conversation was a goal achieved, a dream come true, and in my honest opinion, despite the hate from certain individuals, his latest film installment 31 was one of the best of the year for me, It was fun, loud, flashy, and bloody, everything that I expect from a Rob Zombie Joint.
We spoke about many things, but most importantly, I felt like a brother, he was very open and honest, and extremely cool.
So, without further ado, in light of 31’s theatrical release on October 21st, here is my one-to-one interview with Rob Zombie.
HFN: Rob, I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to speak to you finally, I want you to know that I saw 31, and personally. I loved it. I think it was really fun, had a great look, some really cool characters.
RZ: Hey, thanks. The pleasure is mine, and thanks for checking out the movie.
HFN: I wanted to ask you about the creation of 31. was it an attempt to go back to basics after doing something very different like LORDS OF SALEM?
RZ: It was really several things. One of the things was, after LORDS OF SALEM, I was really trying to get my hockey movie going, THE BROAD STREET BULLIES. It was incredibly frustrating and it was a total drag that it never got going. I mean, I love making movies, I don’t like having meetings about movies, I just have the love for making them. So, it was really the frustration from that, and I thought to myself I was going to make a really small, sort of self-contained movie that I know I could get done. And as things progressed, I decided that I didn’t want to do what I did with LORDS OF SALEM. Each movie comes the reaction of the recent one, I suppose.
HFN: Would you also say that maybe it was a way to go back to basics after the critical and fan reaction of LORDS OF SALEM?
RZ: Not really, because I never pay off that, I mean, it’s not like it doesn’t mean anything, but I have heard, “Oh my god, I absolutely loved HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES“, and I’m like, “That’s great! I remember when it came out no one said that phrase.”
RZ: You know, then I will hear I loved THE DEVIL’S REJECTS“, but I recall people complaining when it first came out that it wasn’t HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES. Now, they are saying things like, ‘ i loved LORDS OF SALEM and why wasn’t 31 that?” I mean, you can’t make movies to just please someone, these things take time, and now I see people Instagramming or Tweeting while watching the new movie, and you can only take their words for what they are. How much attention could you give a movie if you are busy taking pictures of your television? (Laughs) It is what it is, but everyone responds to it at some point.
HFN: Where did the concept for 31 come from, what were the influences?
RZ: The concept was very simple, it actually came from THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME, and I have heard THE RUNNING MAN, which is basically also taken from THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME. I wanted to take that concept and place it in a funhouse situation, and I also wanted to make sure that the killers were different. Early on, I came up with the clown idea, but as the film progressed, I thought to myself, “It can get really nuts.” So, the idea of Doom Head having big green hair and clown shoes, it just didn’t seem right. Plus, it’s not very practical, hunting anything with big goofy shoes, it just isn’t practical.
HFN: When you create characters like the Heads,do you have a full backstory in your own mind or is that something that usually comes about in pre-production?
RZ: Some of them I have a full-fledged idea, nothing to fill a novel or anything, it’s not important. Then sometimes it really depends on the actor, the whole character can change drastically. Like with Sick Head, he wasn’t originally a Nazi, he was only supposed to be Spanish. Then the Nazi idea crept into it, and then once I cast Pancho it really started to materialize more. Those roles it really comes from who I have in mind, or I have an idea right out of the gate.
HFN: Your films always have a great soundtrack. Are those songs things that are usually in your thoughts during even the script process?
RZ: Sometimes, I mean I always know I want to include music. They sort of came in during the editing process, except for CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’.
HFN: It seemed to me like there were many nods to some of your other work, like certain camera wipes and maybe even a hint of dialogue. Was that the intention at all, or am I maybe looking a little too deep into it?
RZ: The wipes were not really a nod, it was because we hadn’t done it in ten years. I don’t remember any dialogue.
HFN: I had noticed little things, like when Sheri says “I bet you do”, which was also a line in HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES.
RZ: Nah. (Laughs) It definitely was not on purpose.
HFN: I wanted to ask you about RICHARD BRAKE, who is probably one of the most criminally underrated actors of our day. How did his role come about, through audition or maybe you had seen something that hooked you?
RZ: I had worked with RICHARD on HALLOWEEN II, and I really liked him and you could tell he’s great. The thing was there was never anything for him. The other funny thing is, every movie when it came to casting that everyone fought me on was RICHARD BRAKE. I always had to fight someone, they thought he wasn’t good enough and couldn’t see him in that role, and I would say, “That’s why I am the director, I am supposed to see it even if you don’t.” The producers would fight back and would say, “I need to see it!” It’s just really funny how that happened every time.
HFN: And have you ever heard the compliment that RICHARD would be a better JOKER than what the DCEU gave fans?
RZ: No. I had people who would say things online, but never that. When I had Doom Head in mind, I was never thinking THE JOKER, I was always thinking NOSFERATU.
HFN: Without giving too much away, I thought that the conclusion was perfect, showing Doom Head’s inability to lose, even though the film seemed open-ended to some for a reason. Was that the intention, is there ideas for a possible sequel or is this a standalone film as you see it?
RZ: Well, it was never geared toward a sequel, I just liked, it’s a pretty safe bet what is going to happen. It was evident that Doom Head hating the idea of losing, but it was never a sequel, never my intention.
HFN: I honestly think Charley would still give him the fight of his life.
RZ: I think it was pretty obvious, that’s what he was smiling about. (Laughs)
HFN: I have a question that doesn’t involve the project, but I guess it does in a way, what is Rob Zombie’s take on clown sightings?
RZ: Yeah, I don’t know much about it, just fragments. But, I have had people ask me if it was my doing, and I am not that advanced in regard to marketing tools.
RZ: I think it’s people that like fucking with each other, I guess. (Laughs)
HFN: Tell everyone where they can see 31 when it theatrically releases.
RZ: Good question. We are doing another Fathom Event, and then all major markets. By that point, it should be on Itunes and stuff, and then I have the DVD coming out. We have been cutting together a tow hour documentary of the making of the film.
HFN: Very nice! Will that be the extended cut do you think?
RZ: I’m not sure, that cut I’m not sure about. The thing is, with the MPAA, when the film is cut R it’s kind of hard to cut it to the NC-17 version, so we haven’t done that yet.
HFN: What would be the things taken out, just more blood in the kill scenes?
RZ: Yeah, it’s more violence in the scenes, like the scene with the girl with the chainsaw there’s one more shot of the saw between her legs, it’s just stuff like that. It’s more stabbing, no violence, no cut scenes or anything like that.
HFN: Rob, I can’t tell what I pleasure this was, I have been wanting to speak to you probably since I was twelve years old.
RZ: Thanks. (Laugh)
HFN: I have been defending your honor, I am literally one of those guys, where if it gets really nasty, I’m like, “Dude, f*** you.”
RZ: That’s really cool, thanks. (Laughs again) Ah you know, it happens.I kind of like the fact that some people like it and some people hate it.
HFN: And you are now heading to Spain for Sitges?
RZ: Right now we are heading to Spain, and then to Europe to do a few more shows.
HFN: It’s been a real pleasure, you both have a safe trip and a great weekend.
You can catch 31 in select theaters on October 21st and on certain online platforms
(check out ROBZOMBIE.COM for more details)
Be sure to pick up Rob Zombie’s new album, THE ELECTRIC WARLOCK ACID WITCH SATANIC ORGY CELEBRATION DISPENSER wherever music is sold.
That’s it for me, a Bucket List moment accomplished. Join me next week for more horror.
Until next time, strive for your goals, do whatever your wicked heart desires, and remember, the only thing that can impale your dreams is your own negativity.
Trick Or Treat, Baby! I will scare you all later.