Rob Zombie’s The Devil's Rejects is one of the finest gritty, American-made horror movie sequels of the last 50 years. The film reunites the original cast of House of 1000 Corpses and barrels straight ahead towards a path of destruction that leaves nothing but carnage in its wake. Out of all the Rob Zombie movies out there, this is the one that put the cast through the most torment and almost ran Zombie himself into the ground.
The heat and intensity that bore down on the cast and crew of The Devil’s Rejects are clear in every frame of the film, and according to Zombie and his band of misfits, the behind-the-scenes stress made the final product a cinematic diamond. Much like the film, these behind-the-scenes stories from The Devil's Rejects are dirty and caked in blood, but that's what makes them so memorable.
Haig Drew On Personal Experiences To Play Captain Spaulding
Captain Spaulding is arguably the most stand-out presence in both House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects, and while sadistic clowns have haunted cinema for decades, Haig claimed he patched the character together from his own experiences.
In a 2005 interview, he explained that he believed he was Spaulding, which made the character feel real:
As an actor, you have to find Captain Spaulding... You have to find whoever it is, inside your own personality, make it real for yourself, and then it's going to be real for [the audience]... [If] I believe it, you're gonna believe it. And that's what I have to do. I have to make it real for me.
The Film Was Meant To Be Less Campy Than Its Predecessor
Zombie has discussed his disappointment with the outcome of House of 1000 Corpses, mostly due to its unintentional campiness. When he began making The Devil's Rejects, he wanted to make something more gritty and genuine than the film's predecessor. He said in 2005:
The first film turned out a little wackier and campier than I originally intended. But as we were shooting, that's the tone that it was turning out to be. Movies sometimes dictate their own course, so I just sort of went with it. And on Devil's Rejects, I really wanted to scale it back and try to make something a lot grittier and nastier when those moments dictated.
Zombie Didn't Care If His Actors Were Uncomfortable During Production
Every director has a vision for a film, and while some directors do their best to create a harmonious atmosphere on set, others take whatever actions necessary to drive their actors toward better performances. Zombie certainly seems to uphold the latter attitude.
When asked in 2005 if he works with actors who are sensitive to his graphic material, Zombie said:
You do and you don't. On the first film, I would have, but now I don't care. To me, it's all about the film. It's not about your feelings. It's not about your personal sense of right or wrong. It's about making this film great. If you're not here for that reason, you shouldn't be here.
Zombie Only Made A 'Corpses' Sequel Because The Studio Demanded It
When Rob Zombie finished directing House of 1000 Corpses, he thought he was done with the Firefly family. However, when the film made its budget back in the first weekend, a sequel was inevitable. Zombie has stated that while he's not keen on sequels, he knows it's not every day that someone offers you money to make a movie. He said in 2013:
If someone's willing to put up that money and make your film happen, you really can't look that gift horse in the mouth... I didn't want to make House of 1000 Corpses Part 2. I didn't want that title... and I didn't want to make another movie that looked like that. So I thought, what I'll do is take the characters that I really like and eliminate some of the others and continue the story on as a different movie more in the style of what I want to do.