Posted: September 2, 2016 in Reviews
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I’m going to put this out there first: I am a huge fan of Rob Zombie’s movies. Going to see HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES was like a huge event and appeared that way with the enthusiastic audience I saw it with. That movie’s troubled production sparked so many rumors as to why its release was delayed for so long, with theories of graphic rape scenes and a movie so fucked up that it was unmarketable. Those delays caused CORPSES to be a hit, leading to much beloved sequel and more film opportunities for the musician. His touch (love it or hate it) is recognized in everything he does, which I believe is a trademark of a unique filmmaker. My personal favorite thus far is LORDS OF SALEM, a psychedelic trip of a film where I feel Zombie really unleashes his personal artistry onto the screen without previous notions of what the audience should expect.

Recently, he crowd funded his latest project, 31, where every Halloween, a sadistic group of killers kidnap a new batch of victims who are forced to fight for their lives over the course of twelve hours in a controlled environment. As the hours pass, the danger gets more violent and the stabbings are more frequent. For every killer that’s defeated, an even more crazy psycho is sent out to dismember them in their own unique style.

Zombie not only crowd funded 31, but avoided the mainstream middle men like Kickstarter and utilized his own website to gather funding. Not going lie, he offered some pretty sweet rewards like exclusive hoodies and lifetime passes to his concerts. It isn’t clear how much was raised, but the response was positive and his rewards were claimed rather quickly. Fans were hungry for more of his big screen offerings and the results are kind of down the middle for me.

Sick Head, a Hitler worshipping Mexican dwarf, was my favorite thing about 31. His smart ass Spanish phrases and need to taunt to his victims was genuine fun, not to mention one of the best looks for a villain I’ve seen in a long time. Pure originality, something that quickly disintegrates in the film as the remaining killers feel too familiar and aren’t as engaging as Sick Head. Even the final baddie was a bit of a let down with too much resemblance to Jared Leto’s version of the Joker towards the end.

That being said, 31 is not as awful as the internet makes it out to be. Along with Sick Head, we get some inventive set ups including one involving a “fuck doll.” There’s some sick humor his fans are going to love, some involving brutal kills. One thing about the violence is that some scenes really feel restrained and carefully edited, possibly to maintain an R-rating. Crossing my fingers for an uncensored Blu-ray release that I can pop in every October. Yes, 31 can be an annual staple for Halloween themed marathons genre fans put together. Fans will cheer and lift their drinks up to the best parts.

The best way to describe 31 is to compare it to when you had the rent 2, get 1 free coupons for the video store. You really only wanted two to begin with so you picked up 31 for free. That free movie was something you kind of shrugged when you first watched it, but find yourself watching it every single time it ends up on your TV.


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