TWO FROM HELL: HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES & THE DEVIL'S REJECTS / CERT: M (AUS) / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: ROB ZOMBIE / STARRING: SID HAIG, BILL MOSELEY, SHERRI MOON ZOMBIE, KAREN BLACK, LESLIE EASTERBROOK / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (AUS)
With 3 From Hell, the final part of Rob Zombie's “Firefly” trilogy, set for release later this year, Umbrella Entertainment have bundled the first two instalments - House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects - together in Two From Hell, now available for the Australian market.
...Corpses is Zombie's 2003 directorial debut and, if we're honest, it kind of shows. During a road trip to research obscure and unusual roadside attractions, a bunch of kids end up at Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen. One unfortunately-timed robbery gone (very) wrong later, the kids follow Spaulding's directions to an old tree which, legend has it, is the place where sadistic scientist Dr. Satan was hanged. It all goes (further) downhill from here, as the travellers are captured by the Firefly family, and all hell really breaks loose.
Playing out like an over the top homage to 70s horror (it's very very Chainsaw Massacre), Corpses is extremely in your face - there's definitely nothing subtle about it. There are some wonderful turns from the cast, especially Sid Haig as the delightfully evil clown Captain Spaulding, but the plot is all over the place and there's so much going on visually that by the time the film ends you're not even quite sure what you've just watched. It's an all-out assault on the senses from beginning to end, but if you're into chaos and mayhem, it's well worth a look.
Following the events of Corpses, The Devil's Rejects finds the Firefly family on the run from the police. The body count continues to rise as they encounter a variety of characters along the way, leading to a memorable finale - after witnessing it, Lynyrd Skynyrd's “Freebird” will never be the same again. Otis (Bill Moseley), Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) and Captain Spaulding return from Corpses, as does Mother, but now played by Police Academy's Leslie Easterbrook, who occasionally overacts to the point of absurdity, but it adds a lot to the overall tone of the film so we'll give her a pass.
If you think of Corpses being 90 minutes of people being horrible to each other, Rejects is (just over) 90 minutes of people being even more horrible to each other. It's depraved, sickening and relentlessly grim from beginning to end, but still entertaining to watch, thanks to some truly vile characters that you somehow find yourself really caring about, despite the fact that they're absolute shits.
While there are a ton of extra features, other expanded editions are available with way more content. The previously-released two and a half hour-long Rejects “making of” isn't here, for example, which is quite a shame. This isn't intended to be an “ultimate edition”, but it does mean that owners of other releases might not need to worry about seeking this one out on import. For newcomers though, this is as good a place to start as any.
HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES: Audio comm with director Rob Zombie, The Making Of, Rehearsal footage, Casting footage, Cast and crew interviews, New interview with William Bassett, Theatrical Trailer
THE DEVIL'S REJECTS: Bloody Stand-up, Matthew McGrory Tribute, Buck Owens: Satan's Got to Get Along Without Me, "Mary the Monkey Girl" Commercial, Captain Spaulding's Xmas Commercial, Otis' Home Movies, Deleted Scenes, Blooper Reel, Make-up Test, The Morris Green Show