THE DUKE WATCHES
THE DEVIL'S REJECTS
OTIS - "A RIGHT CUNT"
Sleazy malignant fuck-soaked horror, sometimes that’s all a man
wants. Somethin makes the hairs on the eyes squeal for a fortnight,
somethin makes the teeth crawl back into the damn gums, somethin so
unwatchably unspeakably nasty ain’t nothing in the world for it but
a change of address and a new nose, on account of you don’t ever
wanna be associated with that fucker ever again, that hellhound sat
front row centre back in the day with a blade in each hand,
chuckling to himself, the most depraved barbarity he ever saw
unfolding up yonder in the 2:35.
Listen to the whispers at the cineplex doors, aye, folks shakin
with the weight of The Passion Of The Christ still straddling the
“I dare say I’ll never sleep again, least without the assistance of
a concrete block and six dozen sleepers. Did you see when the thing
caught the face? Did you see? Did you open your eyes and just
fuckin look at that maniacal shit right there?”
Cause fuck forbid you might admit that you enjoyed it.
Folks look all strange at a fella comes out a screening of Cannibal
Holocaust with a grin from here till March on the mug.
So we say bout how it was devastating, a molestation of the very
fabric of a man’s humanity, all these sortsa things, even though,
really, we were darin the rotten bastard to show us the unshowable,
to make us feel the unfeelable.
So what’s it gonna be, Rob Zombie, this is what I’m saying, waiting
for The Devil’s Rejects to fumble its way cross the auditorium and
spray its foul wank-sauce cross the far wall.
What the hell’s it gonna be?
Is this motion-film, the sorta sequel to 2003’s House Of 1000
Corpses, is it gonna grab me by my great-granddaddy’s knackers and
bugger the pores out my skin, or is it gonna be just another over-
hyped pseudo-grindhouse disappointment?
Is it gonna be House Of 1000 Corpses 2?
In the dark, Zombie croaks somethin obscene into my earhole,
something sounds a bit like the riff a Thunderkiss 65, and what it
does, what Zombie knows it does, is it grants that hoary ol’ Carny
access to a man’s pineal. That riff dundadun’s long the crest a the
brain-gunk like few riffs before or since would ever dare
contemplate, never mind attempt, by god.
A foolhardy behemoth soaked in Mamma’s rabies, and The Duke hyped
on the battered E, as in the chord, see, as in the musicological
concern, not the smiley-face-on-white gets the hoodies all euphoric
of a weekend.
And I’m sayin that was a cheap trick, Zombie, just like the time I
started a conversation with a lass in a Nirvana shirt by hummin the
first few bars a Lithium from the seat across the way.
A cheap trick, that was. A rape of my affections, but alright,
fucker, make your move.
And from the dark, a fella appears onscreen, fella with a face like
a crack in the walls a Hell, he’s draggin a body across the grass,
the body of a woman been murderised in the most despicable manner a
mind can contemplate in today’s CGI enhanced uniEarth.
Far more despicable that what Rob Zombie came up with, most likely,
which is why we don’t see it, since it’s that old thing about It’s
Always Worse In The Mind, a fine theory till Marlon Brando shoved a
handful a butter up Maria Schneider’s arse back in the day. All a
sudden the mind seemed a fairly civilised environment, all being
Regardless, next thing anyone knows the cops are piling up outside
the farm-house abode of The Firefly Family, a buncha rural
hillbilly slaughter-fiends, been careering cross the back roads
butcherin an pillagin an tormentin like no-one ain’t ever seen
since Wes Craven got fed up aping Snuff Flicks.
It’s easy to understand the Law’s disgruntlement, t’is.
It’s easy to imagine a cop sat in Law HQ a couple years back wi
Dragula on the headphones and the station all done up blood-red,
plaster casts of Richard Ramirez’ fist hung from the light-bulb,
tiny Charles Manson dolls dotted round the CCTV monitors, classic
movie posters on the walls, one-sheets promising the sorta filth
and degradation woulda sent St Augustine runnin to the hills with
his teeth on fire.
The cop an his blue-shirt buddies all gather round the television,
declared martial law for an evening on account of fuck y’all, we
just got House Of 1’000 Corpses, straight off the damn Torrent
circuit, been waitin for this since as far back as I could remember
thout the aid of a soft-focus flashback and half a dozen Culkin’s.
Twenty minutes in the cops start getting fidgety. Eyes start dartin
round the room, no-one wants to go ahead and say it, but they all
think it, they all know it deep in the sickest corners of the sick-
pouch, they all think the same thing;
Holler O’Fuck, say, this House business, god darn it, Sergeant,
it's kinda... Well it’s kinda wanky.
Sergeant don’t hear. His eyes stare on past the screen into some
unfathomable Bosch netherworld wi ghouls on horseback climbin in
and outta each other’s ears playing Metal Machine Music on the
spines a the damned.
When the papers hit the newsstands the next morning, no-one’s
Twenty-three of the nation’s finest law enforcers found mutilated
beyond all sense, faces peering out stretched stomach lining,
intestines dangling from elbows, the damn place reekin with sulphur
And The Duke walkin past, says Fuck it, I kinda dug it, truth be
But still, ain’t no doubt it was a fairly flawed affair, and I
sympathised with a friend called one night in a rage;
“I’m fuckin sick as fuck of these bastards spending ninety minutes
telling me how many films they saw.”
All these folks hollerin bout how they been set for to drag us all
bruised and menstruating out the feet in the direction of The Glory
Days, the days when a man couldn’t walk from here to there thout
bein subjected to some low-budget half-coherent barrage of death
and decay and busted knuckles.
What happened was these folks ended up stood naked in the foyer,
and what a man noticed was that they had nothing to offer other
The great American horror flicks of the day, they just remind us
how much better the seventies offerings really were.
So Cabin Fever turned out to be a lotta fun, for example, but a
reflection nonetheless, a couple strands a dyin sunlight spat cross
the lake, and in the calm tween the ripples, what you see is Evil
Dead starin back at you, a fuck of a more pleasant sight than
anyone has any right to expect, most likely it would’ve driven
Narcissus mad a hella lot sooner than his own mug did way back
when, but still, a reflection is all it is.
Because no one will bother referencing Cabin Fever, because it
itself is a 90-minute reference, and House Of 1’000 Corpses even
more so, a tapestry of Tobe Hooper echos louder even than the
brilliantly unhinged soundtrack.
So what it all boils down to is that these cops outside the Firefly
homestead, they don’t say as much, they never mention Zombie’s
debut, all they wanna talk about is how much murderising these
barbarians been up to, but still, at least 73% of that bile got
House potted all over.
It’d be wrong to assume a hellbroth a bullets an guts doesn’t
emerge, and for sure, it does, and next thing anyone knows the
Firefly’s are on the run, all except the mamma, the ever wonderful
Leslie Easterbrook, she gets taken to the jailhouse and flung at
the mercy of sadistic Elvis-crazed Sheriff Wydell, a gloriously
mental performance by William Forsyth, his sixth acting gig of
2005, nestled longside the likes of Hammerhead – Shark Frenzy and
The L.A Riot Spectacular on the filmography.
No-one called Rob Zombie was ever gonna be overly concerned with
the light and the shade, there weren’t ever gonna be any good guys
for to root for, so on the one hand we got the killin rapin
kidnappin Firefly clan, and on the other we got this Wydell fucker,
mean a cop as I ever did see, mean even as the one I got on the
wrong side of in the station one day in the midst of a cider binge,
don’t recall a damn thing except a girl telling me the next day
that whilst I was on the phone to her, she could hear a hella lot
anguished shouts comin from a fella’s yap.
And the bruises on the back, they didn’t get there through osmosis,
this much is obvious.
Zombie doesn’t mention The Duke’s Drunk & Disorderly tribulations,
although early on there’s a fella walks past muttering in a manner
could only be a direct homage to The Duke On Mona Lisa Smile, but I
dunno, I’m hopin he points it out on the commentary.
(“Don’t mention the fuckin commentary, bastard.”
A voice in my ear, the voice of The Duke from a few months back,
sat down all the excited in the world with the prospect of a Zombie
commentary on House Of 1’000 Corpses, ended up in a foetal position
screamin at the walls with every “And here we see Jerry walk cross
the road” or “And this is the part where Otis sits down”, because
we all know that when the great Cultural Fatwa is declared, those
kindsa commentaries will be right up top, nestled longside hip-hop
records made by folks too rich to remember what the wrong shoes
Fuck my eyes!
The Devil’s Rejects quickly plunges in the direction of sheer pus-
Hollin’ up in a motel room with two married couples, the Fireflies,
Otis in particular keeping the whole affair the right side a wrong
Otis, he’s one to remember. As nasty a fleck a grizzled fuck as
ever crawled cross the plains of the lens, a remarkably repellent
performance by Bill Moseley, almost as memorable as his Chop Top in
Texas Chain Saw Massacre 2, itself as brilliant a satire of Sexual
Politics in the Slasher Flicks as anyone’ll ever see and pretend
they didn’t like.
Zombie’s got a whole rogue state fulla horror demigods flung cross
the cast list, in fact. In addition to Moseley you got Ken Foree, a
better Samuel L Jackson than even Samuel L Jackson can muster, a
man once blasted the fuck outta zombies with the same glint in the
eyes you maybe woulda caught in the tips a Dali’s moustache when he
was busy turnin Jesus into a series of cubes and rhinoceros horns.
You got Michael Berryman looking not an inch less depraved than he
did back when he was runnin wild tearing the guts out Alsatians in
You got P.J Soles, the beautiful terrors of Carrie and Halloween
still shuffling cross her retinas.
And you got Sid Haig as Captain Spalding, Zombie’s surest shot at
minting the kinda iconic devil he spends his days arranging cross
the mantelpiece by way of the McFarland action figures. Spalding
has every chance of poppin up there longside Leatherface and Freddy
and George W Bush in some future assortment of 12” plastic
And what got The Duke smiling for a time was that The Devil’s
Rejects is good enough for Spalding to deserve that accolade.
At times I figured it was heading in some horrible direction that I
wasn’t gonna be fit to get behind, particularly during a scene
involving a gun and the pubic area that got dangerously close to
that disgusting “Say ‘fuck me’” bullshit in Wild At Heart.
For a second there I had a fear in the eyes, I was looking at the
screen an seein’ Lynch’s horrible withered soul gazin back, felt
the fist clench a little tighter, heard the thoughts ploughing
through the mind, thoughts along the lines of “I’ve defended House,
Zombie, I’ve said fuck it, it was a lotta fun and fairly inventive
with regards the barbarity, but you go getting all Lynch on me and
we’re done, fucker, I’ll have the photographs burned on a pyre fore
the night’s out.”
But there’s a difference in how Zombie approaches it all and how
Lynch approaches it all.
Lynch assumed that eventually, touch the right areas and the
prettiest girls will still want the vilest wank bubbles to fuck
Zombie knows different, and so alright then, move along, fucker,
the guts a two thousand words already staggered cross the white, I
don’t got no more time to waste on this Almost Lynch moment a
Wanderin round the caverns of the Web Net in the wake of The
Devil's Rejects, a man finds all sortsa absurd proclamations.
“I could barely watch it with my eyelids stapled to my jaw, fuck, I
can’t breathe, wretched, dear god, what manner of voodoo done cast
this plague pon my vision?”
All sortsa maniacal jabberin, all about how The Devil’s Rejects is
unwatchably violent and sadistic and horrible as finding a shit-
stain on the quilt just as the lady takes the shoes off.
(Most of the critics seem to dig it, mind, just that they gotta say
how horrible it all is, lest you think they enjoyed the brain-bent
Maybe it’s on account of how The Duke’s long been fucked in the
mentals, but truth be told I figured it was all fairly tame in
comparison to the flicks it worships.
Leatherface – Texas Chain Saw Massacre 3, in fact, is easily as
sadistic, and probably more disturbing into the bargain.
What TCSM 3 doesn’t have, though, is gorgeous cinematography and
funny as fuck dialogue and the kinda direction Ken Foree’s been
waiting since Romero left the mall for to get back in the hold of.
The Devil’s Rejects has all this, got bags of it, could put 87% up
on eBay and still be the best film about a satanic clown since Ace
Ventura – When Nature Calls.
House Of 1’000 Corpses felt like an MTV spoof of the kinda pitch-
black gap-toothed blank eyed combed-over nightmare The Devil’s
Rejects nails to the damn floor.
It feels authentic, and even though it’s less violent, sadistic and
gleefully tormenting than The Passion Of The Christ, still the best
horror / exploitation film of the decade, it does have 92% more
slow motion than even Gibson managed to shove in midst all the
whipping, flailing, falling over, bits getting caught and such.
Look Ma, says Rob, looky looky yonder, all grown up I gone and got
Mama Zombie be plenty proud, I’ma guessin, yessir.
And Eli Roth, scuttling tween the pages of Fangoria, working with
Takashi Miike, no less, all signs pointing to the kinda East Meets
West horrorshow we ain’t seen since back when Queen played Budokan.
Will Mama Roth be proud? Who knows?
Zombie and Roth both got in on the backs of nostalgia, with help
from a fucking glorious musical career and David Bastard Lynch,
Zombie’s just gone ahead and proved we were right to open that
door, both Roth’s only got one foot in far as I can see, and what
it says on the sneakers is Yeah, It Was Fun, But Show Me Something
That Ain’t Fuckin Funny.
Cause everyone knows the “comedy” bits in Last House In The Left
were the scariest chunks a the whole damn thing.
A girl in a Night Of The Living Dead t-shirt pullin my arm, “Come
the fuck on, The Duke, Emmanuel And The Last Cannibals just washed
up on the shore, folks are screamin and yellin, looks like The Raft
Of The Medusa out on those cinematic tides, I wanna get me some
fine scurvy fore the dawn.”
So heading in the direction of the cannibal soft-porn and one last
look in the direction of The Devil’s Rejects, I’m saying you did
good, Rob, and if I ever catch you round my porch I’ll blow the
back a your teeth half-way cross the globe, you wonderful perverted
All a sudden the cold steel gainst the base a the spine, kinda
steel found only on the tips a flick-knives a man might pick up on
Sunday morning on certain market stalls in West Belfast.
“The fuck is this bullshit?”
Sir Fleming, Delegate Of Mondo Irlando, stood behind me reekin a
terror, a curious sorta terror, granted, kinda terror Fatty
Arbuckle musta felt when he held that Coke bottle in his hand back
in the day, except we all know he didn’t, as foul a stitch-up as
ever went on in the fuck-soaked backlots of Olde Hollywood.
Calm down, man, is what I’m saying.
I’m well aware we got dangerously opposing views on Grave Of The
Fireflies, there ain’t no need for steel in the hole over it all.
Is it what I said about Bambi being better than Ghost In The Shell?
Cause I stand by it, yessir, but I think, when it all boils down,
what we should do is we should discuss the matter at length over
some nuclear beverage of some kind in the shadow of Old Man
McKeegan’s used book emporium, least before this all degenerates
into unseemly limb-loppin mania.
“Fuck your Bambi!”, he’s saying. “The hell is this shit?”
A quote from the article concerning The Devil’s Rejects;
“What TCSM 3 doesn’t have, though, is gorgeous cinematography and
funny as fuck dialogue and the kinda direction Ken Foree’s been
waiting since Romero left the mall for to get back in the hold of.”
There’s a long pause, long enough for the sun to set and rise anew,
and what the dawn uncovers, what it reveals hiding behind The
Duke's eyes is a deep shame, kinda shame we all know Fatty Arbuckle
didn’t have to feel for even a second.
“I’m a fuckin sack a pulsing wank”, is what I say, and Sir Fleming
sighs, sits down, deflicks the knife.
“No no, no need to get all melodramatic, fuck sakes, just make it
Because what I should’ve remembered is that Foree did step before
the lens of a genius between Dawn Of The Dead and The Devil’s
Rejects, back in 1986 in fact, a full 8 years after Romero got all
gore-streaked in pursuit of the balls of consumerism.
From Beyond, Stuart Gordon’s gloriously gloppy H.P Lovecraft
adaptation is a fucking masterpiece, and a man should be hung,
drawn and nostril-fucked for forgetting it.
I can only assume that this temporary amnesia regarding the old-
school gore and the pineal terrors was brought on in some way by
the fact that every time a man goes to the Internet Movie Database
the last couple days he’s greeted with the poster for
Elizabethtown, aye, the new Cameron Crowe, Kirsten sat on the couch
with the beautiful eyes gazin out and through a man’s soul, curious
metamorphosis goin on to the north a the navel, curious
transmogrifications to the west of the throat.
How can a man focus on Jeffrey Combs runnin round all bald headed
and skull-deformed when there’s Kirsten’s hand, right there, and a
man feels like that mad bastard in The Atrocity Exhibition,
wandering round rooms the shape of Elizabeth Taylor, touchin the
walls raised according to the curve of her spine, and yet no,
you're foolin yourself, fucker.
“Incidentally, hurry up and be done wi that damn book, the shelf’s
screechin with the lack a Ballard.”
I will do. I will do, Sir Fleming, but come now, what say we take
these hot beverages and go mock some folks pretending to be reading
Nietzsche in order to impress the goth girls sat by the bus-stop.
Thanks Kirsten, to whom every word is dedicated, though lowly
unworthy slack-jawed bastards those words may be.
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