I’ve loved Rob Zombie ever since his White Zombie days. So back in 2003, when I heard that Rob Zombie movies would be a thing, I was pumped. Few musicians are as theatric as Rob Zombie. Plus, one needs look no further than how creative he could be on the screen than his brief animated segment in Beavis and Butt-Head Do America where Beavis and Butt-head were dying in the desert.
From House of 1000 Corpses to his most recent effort, 3 From Hell (plus two Halloween movies in-between) Rob Zombie has had a pretty interesting career as a filmmaker. But what’s his best movie? Interestingly, out of his 8 films, many people are uncertain as to what his best movie is. But one thing is certain, and that’s… DIG THROUGH THE DITCHES! AND BURN THROUGH THE WITCHES! I SLAM IN THE BACK OF MY DRAGULA! Sorry. I just had to do it.
8. Halloween 2 (2009)
I’m going to be honest. Halloween 2 is one of the worst Halloween movies I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen the Halloween with Busta Rhymes in it. In this sequel, Michael Myers wants to get the family back together. And to do so, he’s going to go on a violent rampage. And what the hell, for good measure, Laurie Strode is also going to be a murderer, too. I think?
Because that’s the thing about Halloween 2. It doesn’t make any sense. The story seems simple enough, but it isn’t. Sheri Moon Zombie stars as Mama Strode, and she makes appearances with a white horse because…reasons? I don’t know. Halloween 2 is just an absolute mess. And even though I’ve seen it twice, I still don’t understand what I’m supposed to get out of it. Thank God we never got a part 3.
7. The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto (2009)
I knew Rob Zombie should pursue animation after that aforementioned scene in Beavis and Butthead Do America. That said, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto really doesn’t do it for me. It’s about a Luchador (voiced by Tom Papa) and his sister sidekick (voiced by Sheri Moon Zombie) who have to stop a devil named Dr. Satan (voiced by Paul Giamatti) from marrying a demonic stripper (voiced by Rosario Dawson). Vulgarity ensues.
To be honest, this is probably more me than the film, as it had cult status written all over it as soon as it released back in 2009. As part of Zombie’s Firefly films (which also includes House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, and 3 From Hell), you would think that I would love this movie. But it’s very different from those films and feels much more like a more perverse version of Ren and Stimpy, but not nearly as funny. Which is a shame, too, since again, I think Rob Zombie’s unique mind is perfectly suited for animation.
6. 3 From Hell (2019)
A lot of people dislike Rob Zombie’s latest since it barely contains any of Sid Haig in it. But that’s because Sid Haig was seriously ill during filming, and this was his last movie. In his stead, we got Otis’s half-brother, Winslow (played by Richard Brake) who has to help Otis break Baby out of prison. The three of them eventually get embroiled in a vendetta concerning one of their victim’s sons.
But the whole film just feels unnecessary. There are some cool scenes and lots of violence, but Winslow Coltrane is not a great substitute for the irreplaceable Captain Spaulding, and the movie suffers for it. It’s an okay end to the trilogy, but one that feels like it didn’t even need to be made.
5. The Lords Of Salem (2012)
I’ll never forget when I took my wife to see The Lords of Salem. She fell asleep and was awoken by a loud noise. Groggily, she turned to me and said, “This is the last time you’re picking our movies.” And it was. The movie is about a disc jockey (played by Sheri Moon Zombie) who goes into a trance whenever a bizarre record plays, and she has visions of a coven.
The rest of the movie is atmospheric horror that succeeds to varying degrees. On one hand, the slow pacing works in its favor since it’s creepy throughout. But on the other hand, the eventual payoff isn’t worth the slog. Even so, it’s the most unique movie in Rob Zombie’s filmography, so at least it has that going for it.
4. 31 (2016)
31 is like if Salo and Saw 2 had a baby. It’s about 5 carnies who get kidnapped by these three old dudes donning make-up and wigs. The carnies are forced to endure 12 hours of being hunted by killer clowns.
It might sound ridiculous, but it’s seriously balls to the wall! It’s super violent, but in a fun way. Sherri Moon Zombie (who else?) stars, but the other carnies are fun, too, and Malcolm McDowell is great as Father Napoleon-Horatio-Silas-Murder. An enjoyable film, through and through that all’s killer and very little filler.
3. Halloween (2007)
Who knew we needed a Michael Myers origin story? Granted, the first half of the movie is much better than the second half when Michael Myers is fully grown up and killing people, but even that part is leagues better than its horrendous sequel.
There’s not really much to say about Rob Zombie’s first Halloween besides that it’s really good. The first half is unlike anything else in the Halloween franchise, and it stands out for that. Plus, the kills in the second half are visceral and satisfying. But what happened with that sequel? Jeez!
2. House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
In Rob Zombie’s first film, four college kids travel to Texas to see a murder tour and end up being a part of it. This is where we get introduced to the Firefly family which includes Otis (Bill Moseley), Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie), and Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig).
This is my favorite Rob Zombie movie since it’s more of a comedy than a horror movie. It’s pretty much a rip-off of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but it’s somehow really unique. The characters are Zombie’s most interesting (My favorite is Grandpa Hugo), and it’s just so damn entertaining. That said…
1. The Devil's Rejects
I’m well aware that more people prefer The Devil’s Rejects. It’s the sequel to House of 1000 Corpses, and it’s about the Firefly family terrorizing people, but also on the run from a brutal police officer played by William Forsythe.
The Devil’s Rejects is a pitch-black film devoid of humor besides a couple of scenes. Bill Moseley is terrifying as Otis, and it’s a movie that goes into such dark places that you feel icky at times for watching it. While I prefer House of 1000 Corpses for its personality, I greatly respect The Devil’s Rejects for its ugliness. No other film feels like it.
Rob Zombie is legendary in the director’s seat and on the stage. But what are your favorite Rob Zombie movies? Sound off in the comments.