Rob Zombie, the founder and lead savage of White Zombie, isn’t the first rock star to direct a horror movie (let us all pause for a moment to forget Dee Snider’s Strangeland), but he’s the first to put his pierced-punk death-metal demon credo right up on screen, turning horror into a depraved rock & roll blood feast. In The Devil’s Rejects, Zombie’s second effort as a grade-Z-and-lovin’-it auteur (the first was 2003’s House of 1000 Corpses), he directs like someone who has spent far too much time soaking up the most psychotic images of violence he can find: Chainsaw (natch) and Cannibal Holocaust, Manson docs and Faces of Death videos, Natural Born Killers and I Spit on Your Grave.
The Devil’s Rejects, a wild-ass road movie of down-home slaughter, recalls many other tales of homicidal sadists in the rocky American Southwest. The difference is that Zombie doesn’t pretend to be on the side of the victims. He makes no bones about his identification with the sexy outlaw serial killers, a brother and sister played by the hippieish Bill Moseley and the Marilyn Chambers-like Sheri Moon Zombie (the director’s wife), who commit many squalid and hideous acts, terrorizing their victims with knives, axes, and shotguns, all in the name of sociopathic cool. They’re the movie’s ”rock stars” incarnate. Zombie’s characters are, to put it mildly, undeveloped (he features two kinds of women: sexy young sluts and beat-up old whores), but there’s no denying the leeringly grotesque egghead-devil charisma of Sid Haig, who returns from House of 1000 Corpses as Captain Spaulding, the clown so ugly you forgot to laugh.