Straying momentarily from Ozzfest's path of destruction, Rob Zombie has been using the tour's occasional breaks to spread his own brand of melodic mayhem, sans headliners like Ozzy Osbourne and Black Label Society, to smaller venues like The Orbit Room in Grand Rapids, Michigan where Dread Central caught up with the musician/painter/motion picture writer and director. When the devoted Rotten one steps aboard the tour bus, Zombie is totally lax, if not a bit weary from the road trip. Read on...
"Sporting a Captain Caveman shirt and devoid of his trademark dreadlocks, one thing's for certain about Zombie; he's not at all deterred, nor is his enthusiasm for filmmaking stifled, by The Devil's Rejects late-July $7 million box office debut (to date its domestic gross is somewhere in the range of $17 million). Needless to say, it had some in the horror community talking about its failure, especially given distributor Lions Gate's exhaustive exposure. Like any good sport, Zombie shrugs it off. "I think [the box office buzz] is sort of bullshit in a way, and I felt that coming when George Romero's 'Land of the Dead' came out and it did $10 million and everyone said, 'Oh, it stiffed!'" Zombie says. "I just think everyone's living under this delusion; what do they think 'Rejects' is gonna do? Seventy-million dollars? 'Rejects' is a really nasty, hard R-rated movie with no big stars. And it made back its entire budget in the first three days. I think people get very bizarre expectations. Did people think that 'Hellraiser' opened to $45 million? These films...they grow over time. People don't keep things in perspective; the world at large is too into the box office."
And if there's anyone out there who think Rejects' gross is gonna hinder the man from getting another picture off the ground, "It's not gonna be any problem because 'Rejects' is already going to be hugely profitable for Lions Gate [with the release of the DVD]. And I have a bunch of other offers. If the movie had cost $70 million, then you'd be looking at a disaster, but it's already a money maker. People just don't know what the numbers mean."
One project in the pipeline is an animated adaptation of El Superbeasto (based on a character from the comic book Spookshow International) in development at Film Roman and Anchor Bay. Superbeasto is on hold until Zombie returns to Los Angeles after the tour. Also waiting for him is the work involved in wrapping his third solo album. "It's close; I'll go home and spend the month of October finishing it. I'll put out that record and move on to another movie which I'm getting together now; I'm just not sure what it'll be next." Following Hellbilly Deluxe's horror-heavy grind and The Sinister Urge's rock/orchestral mix, what can we expect in this next outing? "It's hard to say because it's not finished yet. Songs change so much out of nowhere, but I can say the biggest difference is that this is more raw, not so program sounding. We want to get rid of all of the technology stuff." (During the concert Zombie revealed a live album is in the works as well.)
"Music and film are two different things and things that I love to do," Zombie explains of his career shift and attraction to filmmaking. "One doesn't satisfy the other; it's like no comparison. I guess it's all tied together. I mean, I find it hard to separate my mind sometimes because they're all creative and they're all linked, but they're so different. Especially with music, I'm front and center whereas with movies I'm more behind-the-scenes. Music is super-important in movies. Some filmmakers don't get it. A lot do, and those who do, it's very obvious. I just think the value of music in movies is getting wasted."
Our brief talk ends on the subject of "the worst way to go in a Rob Zombie film." "I guess cutting someone's face off would be pretty bad," he says with a smirk, dropping the serious air that built around our talk. "You'd stay alive a little while before you bleed to death." He pauses, dredging up a black memory. "I saw this film once of this guy getting shot in the face several times and, like, half of his face was missing but he was still alive and his jaw was still moving! It was like some war footage from Afghanistan and they executed this guy. It was horrible. Maybe the kids at The Horror Channel can chew on that for a while."