When it comes to Rob Zombie and his film making career. It comes with a very nostalgic cut and chop artistry. With reflective styles of his circus raised childhood and late night movie ma-cab’s.
Zombie excels in creating twisted snuff date-centric pieces in the groovy settings of backwoods hilly billy hell America.
Making his mark on the horror movie grind with the eclectic and obscurely put together House of a 1000 corpses. Zombie re-branded the franchise of the backwoods killer flick. Filling a creative gap where films like The Hills Have Eyes and ghastly sequels of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre could not.
Rough deliverance and raw cutting of the film gave it a distinct sense of retro splendor and within it’s character developments pushed the creative brinks of torment and Insanity.
With no qualms on it’s brutal necrophilia and rape laden plot points. Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie), Otis Drift Wood (Bill Moseley) and the illustrious Captain Spaulding became the definitive embodiment of insanity in Zombies Double Horror movie feature.
Showing raw bouts of madness and Gore ferocity with the legend of Dr.Satan. In a House of 1000 Corpses. Then the core aspects of humanity in the The Devil’s rejects. Displaying that even despite the Fire Fly Clan being pure sadism in a Cracker Jack Box. At their deepest depths they can still stop for ice cream and be a family.
Zombie has always tried to instill humanity into his monsters carrying that unto. Halloween which was John Carpenters major bone to pick with the film stating.
“I thought that he took away the mystique of the story by explaining too much about [Michael Myers]. I don’t care about that. He’s supposed to be a force of nature. He’s supposed to be almost supernatural. And he was too big. It wasn’t normal.”
Carpenter’s harsh words aside. A Micheal Myers with an origin of prepubescent neglect and abuse that led to serial killer tendencies gave a less tacky mythos to the character that the later Halloween continuations pre-Zombie. Muddled with campy predictable story twists that even Donald Pleasence couldn’t save us from.
The humanitarian aspect of any story is what enthralls us especially in horror. Making us question how could someone do that ? why Would someone do that ? Could I do that ? And that in it’s self has been one of Zombie’s calling cards giving his films essence on top of the skinned bodies and fire hydrants of blood and intestine.
Falling short with that aspect in the fiery shit bomb that was the Lords of Salem. Zombie pulled himself back up and rose to the occasion with 31.
Facing delay after delay from kick-starter financing to distribution squabbles and rating disagreements. The film finally received it’s theatrical and straight to home release.
The film is literally no bars held back with little introductions. Essentially throwing you into a violent situation of the 5 protagonists being rushed off to an unknown industrial facility to play a vague game of cat and mouse called 31.
Having to survive for 12 hours against 6 assailants (The six heads) with a penchant for murder. Unfortunately with the short introduction it lends you very little time to get to know. Let alone care very fondly for any of the main characters.
Giving you little to no knowledge on the main hierarchy of antagonists controlling the six attackers. The main story driving the film is a yearly bet between shady millionaire figures on Hallows eve. In which categorical order their intended victims will die with statics given.
The plot in it’s self has been very recycled. But Zombies touch makes it memorable to say the least.
31 runs smooth with little grind for a two hour and fifteen minute run time. Non surprisingly gnawing away at each of the kidnapees until one survivor is left on each opposing side.
For a Zombie film it gives you very little external atmosphere centralizing to his small cast and the bland foundry compound in which they are trying to escape.
All in all the most interesting character was Richard Brake’s masochistic (Doom Head) which started the film off with one hell of an introductory epilogue and gave 31 it’s starting momentum.
Then he sadly fell off twords only the last 10 to 15 minutes of the movie. Giving a bitter questionable climax that felt rather incomplete.
A day in the life Grind house delight is what sums up 31. A little more story narrative and character development would have put the film over the top. But despite it’s minor plot short comings. The movies direction shines through with a psychedelic fortitude.
On a scale of 1 to 10 I give it a satisfied 7. Finally getting my Zombie horror picture show fix. Which was sadly not given with the Lords of Salem. I eagerly await his forth coming projects. Especially with his recent strides to return to his roots.
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