One Fan’s Perspective: Rob Zombie… Mainstream Horror’s Salvation?
Join guest contributor Jeremy Tidwell as he explores the possibility that Rob Zombie can save the horror genre.
Over the past few years many of us horror lovers have seen a decline in what we would call “good” horror movies in the multiplexes. It seems the studio big wigs have lost their ability to see good product for what it is. So many of the great horror movies have found that they are only able to have the “independent” label and get release in a few scant theaters across the nation before making their way to the DVD shelves. Shelves that are already overcrowded with heinous “D” horror movies and low budget atrocities.
So where is the good horror that will find a wide release? Where are the original ideas that can haunt the screens across the nation? And I don’t mean the reprehensible Saw films and the now over-played Paranormal Activity films. And I won’t even get into the dreaded and loathed remakes, I mentioned originality, which those are lacking. Where is the mainstream horror I so crave? Well it seems that the answer to that question may lie in the mind and hands of one filmmaker, Rob Zombie. Yes, Rob Zombie.
I know he is one of the most polarizing filmmakers for horror fans. It seems you either love him or hate him and many have said he will bring down the horror genre with his films. However, in Zombie, we have a filmmaker who pushes the boundaries, censors, and Hollywood executives; can you think of any other horror director who has had the success he has had over the past few years?
Over the past 9 years he is the one filmmaker who has consistently had his films released on a wide platform. His films have managed to make money also, which can be a hard thing to come by with the horror genre. His first film, for example, House of a 1000 Corpses was released in 2003 on only 600 screens yet it managed to make over 16 million worldwide on a 7 million dollar budget and also became a cult classic in the process! This film started the talk of Zombie being a filmmaker that could take horror in a new direction, but with the same breathe he could be man who could harm it.
Nevertheless the success of Corpses paved the way for the sequel, The Devil’s Rejects, which managed an even higher box office gross with 19 million on close to the same budget. His theater count was also increased to around a 1700 screens. These films were showing the beginning of Zombie being able to get his films to a wider audience and have some success. This all came to fruition with his largest project and release to date… Halloween.
Halloween, released in August 2007 grossed over 80 million worldwide on over 3000 screens. Zombie was able to prove with this film that he could take his style of horror and translate it to a mainstream audience. He has proven that he is one of the few filmmakers able to get a decent budget and a wide platform for his visions. He will further test this ability with his next offering the enigmatic Lords of Salem, a film that has some horror fans excited.
Now, many people may read this article and say that Zombie’s films don’t have much merit and only involve coarse language and unlikable characters (which I would agree with when it comes to the horrendous Halloween 2), but what we as horror lovers have to look at is that we have a director
who is striving to keep the horror movie in the collective conscious of the broad movie going public. We as horror aficionados should try to embrace this tactic as it seems our beloved genre has fallen in a rut of sorts as far as box office clout. Sure the Paranormal Activity films make enormous amounts of money but is that what we really want to see repeated for the next ten years?
Zombie has proven he is a ferocious proponent of all things horror related. Like like many of us, Zombie has been an avid horror fan his whole life. If we want to be able to bring the horror genre back in full force we should support what could be an original voice and possibly one of our few hopes for true horror to survive in the world of Hollywood.