I know that Rob Zombie is a somewhat divisive figure in the horror world, and in the broader movie world. A musician-turned-director, he was the man behind the modestly successful rebooting of the Halloween franchise, and the House of 1000 Corpses/The Devil’s Rejects duo, as well as a handful of other forays into the genre. He’s too violent, he makes dumb throwback movies, he doesn’t do anything new…I’ve heard them all. But I’ll defend this Zombie to the grave, and that’s why I think it’s time to take a closer look at his latest movie, 31, and what we have to expect from it so far.
The plot sounds relatively simple and insanely fun- a bunch of unlucky carnival workers are abducted, and end up in a compound known as Murder World; on Halloween (presumably the “31” from where the film gets it’s name), they are forced to play a game where they have to survive the park for twelve hours. One hitch: they’re being stalked by a bunch of murderous clowns. Zombie came up with the plot after finding out that Halloween is the number one day that people go missing, and he ran with it from there (although most fans assumed the clown face revealed on a teaser poster pointed towards a Devil Reject’s Spaulding-centric movie).
As ever, it’s an eclectic bunch: Malcolm Macdowell is back, as Father Murder, the head of Murder World, while the evil clown minions are made up of Elizabeth Daily, Lew Temple, and Richard Brake, amongst others. Sheri Moon-Zombie is back, for better or for worse depending on your opinion of her, and legendary adult actress Ginger Lynn will also be making an appearance. If you were a fan of Lords of Salem (like me) you’ll be pleased to hear Judy Geeson is making a high-billed return in 31 too.
Zombie has been chatting pretty openly about 31, and he seems very excited about it, describing it’s aesthetic as gritty and guerrilla in comparison to his previous release, Lords of Salem. And, with a bunch of pictures released from filming (which wrapped in April), it looks like he’s sticking to that underhand feel, with loads of gruesome, gory, distorted shots of his new characters. He’s been delighted with the crowdfunding campaign, reckoning that it’s given him a chance to work outside the system and really involve fans of his work in his movies. And, most importantly, we know the release date- which is, of course, Halloween. See you on opening night!