ROB ZOMBIE recently spoke to U-Press Telegram about his second feature film, "The "Devil's Rejects", and his headlining stint on the second stage of this year's Ozzfest, which kicked off on July 15 in Mansfield, MA. An excerpt from the interview follows:
U-Press Telegram: Your wife has said that "One of the best things about Rob's filmmaking is that he doesn't cater to a teen horror audience. He has no interest in it." Why not?
Rob Zombie: "There's the trend with every movie, not just horror movies, in catering to teens. Anyone over the age of 25 is too old to be in a movie. That's a fallacy created by somebody. I was a kid once. I didn't feel that way. I had no problem watching Clint Eastwood. I didn't watch 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' and go, 'Look at that old man. Why don't they put a kid in there?' It's a weird thing, and it's hurting movies.
"There's nothing wrong with young actors. I just felt these movies were becoming like teen slaughter fests, which is fine. There's always been those movies, but it felt like that's all there was for a while. Can I see some seasoned actors, please?"
U-Press Telegram: "House of a 1,000 Corpses" was produced on a shoestring budget and made over $17 million, which led Lions Gate to make "Devil's Rejects". Were you resistant to doing it?
Rob Zombie: "I don't like sequels. I like movies having a beginning and an end. Sequels are a disturbing new trend where nothing can end. But at the same time, it's really, really hard to get movies made, to get movies funded. Lions Gate wanted to do a sequel. Of course, I wasn't going to turn it down, but at the same time I wanted to make it as much its own film as possible and vary from the look and tone of the first film. To me, the first film is 'Mad Max' and this one's 'The Road Warrior'."
U-Press Telegram: Universal Pictures was supposed to release the first film, but changed its mind and didn't. Didn't they know what they were getting into with you?
Rob Zombie: "Of course they did. How could they not know? They had the script; they saw the dailies. We shot the film on the Universal back lot. It wasn't like we were out of their sight. They could have looked out their window and seen what we were up to."
U-Press Telegram: Does it seem ironic to you that Universal recently released George Romero's "Land of the Dead", which is very violent and gory?
Rob Zombie: "Times change. Four years ago, there wasn't the big horror boom. Now it hits, and boom, everyone wants a horror movie. We're not stupid. We know everything is dictated by money."
U-Press Telegram: In "House of a 1,000 Corpses", the sequence at the hotel has a lot of torture. As a filmmaker, how do you know when you've crossed a line and the suffering characters inflict on each other doesn't add anything to the story?
Rob Zombie: "I'll take everything as far as I can if I still think it's beneficial to the movie and you're still making art. But when it turns into pure exploitation for exploitation, that's where I'd stop. Once it slips into gratuitous for the sake of it, that's not what I'm trying to do.
"With that scene, you just want to create that feeling of dread. It becomes menacing. It's more of a mental torture that they're putting on these people. Nothing is for shock value, as long as it serves the story."
U-Press Telegram: How do you work with an actor if he or she is uncomfortable with something. Do you have a sensitivity to that?
Rob Zombie: "You do and you don't. On the first film, I would have, but now I don't care. To me, it's all about the film. It's not about your feelings. It's not about your personal sense of right or wrong. It's about making this film great. If you're not here for that reason, you shouldn't be here.
"Certain actors were really uncomfortable with that (hotel) scene, but now they're not uncomfortable. All they do is look at it and go, 'Wow. It really worked.' That's the thing I realized. They may feel bad, but they're going to feel worse after the fact if they feel like they held back."
Read the entire interview at U.PressTelegram.com.