Big yet somewhat expected news in the world of horror dropped last week, as Rock-Star-turned-Director Rob Zombie announced on The Nerdist Podcast that his most recent release, The Lords of Salem, will be his last horror film of his career.
“I think The Lords of Salem is going to be the last movie I make that’s considered a horror movie,” said Zombie. He continued: “I have several things lined up. None of them are even remotely in that world because I think that I’ve did that. I’ve gone as far with that as I want to go, so I’m going to do the opposite.”
While some are shocked by the news of the exploitation director walking away from the genre that largely defined his cinematic voice, many industry insiders are hardly surprised, following his nasty behind-the-scenes battles on Halloween II and his abandonment of previously attached horror projects including the remake of The Blob and his Biker vs. Demons film Tyrannosaurus Rex. Aside from his horror resume that includes House of 1,000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, Halloween and Halloween II, Zombie has explored outside of horror with his fake trailer, Werewolf Women of the S.S. in the theatrical version of Grindhouse (featuring a hilarious cameo from Nicolas Cage); an episode of C.S.I.: Miami; the animated film The Haunted World of El Superbeasto; a series of Levi’s Jeans commercials; and the stand-up special Tom Papa: Live in New York City.
Zombie has always been a divisive figure in the horror community since making his debut with Corpses in 2003, following a long, documented battle with Universal to release the film post-9/11 before eventually buying it himself, selling it to Lionsgate for a limited release. While many have praised his work as a commercially accessible brand of hicksploitation horror, others have shunned his work as lowest-common-denominator Z-movies, rampant with misogyny and valueless violence. Most horror fans can at least agree in Zombie’s masterful use of music and sound design in his films, whether it’s the intense massacre scene set to Slim Whitman in Corpses, a do-or-die last stand to the back drop of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird,” or the magnificent score from John 5 in Lords.
The Lords of Salem has been Zombie’s most personal and polarizing film yet, with many embracing the absolute insanity and surrealist nature of the film, and just as many decrying it as self-indulgent, frustrating and convoluted. The returns definitely are evidence of the divide; the film, released by Anchor Bay, has yet to make back its $1.5 million budget under a dwindling theater count, despite its gonzo ending more-or-less assuring a cult audience.
To hear it straight from the director’s mouth, and to hear more about his next film, a true-story hockey comedy entitled The Broad Street Bullies, check out the video below. Let us know how you feel about Rob’s departure from horror filmmaking in the comments section, on Twitter (@DiaboliqueMag), and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/diaboliquemagazine).