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Whether you love or hate his work as a filmmaker, there is no denying that since the release of House of 1000 Corpses a decade ago, Rob Zombie has provided horror fans with uncompromising and often sadistic movies that have refused to cater to the expectations of the mainstream.
Even when offering his own contributions to an established franchise, as he had done with his two Halloween flicks, he has refused to conform to any kind of formula.
Some consider his work juvenile and lacking focus, while others believe that Zombie is pushing boundaries at a time when horror is being diluted by 3D and unnecessary remakes. From his deranged road movie The Devil’s Rejects, to surreal animation The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, Zombie has refused to follow modern trends. His latest offering, The Lords of Salem, is his most mature and technically accomplished picture to date; a psychedelic and psychotic trip into a world of witches, heavy metal and possession.
Yet even a genre veteran as successful as Zombie often still deals with the bureaucracy and double-standards of Hollywood, and during an interview at SXSW Film 2013, the filmmaker spoke up about how the industry often looks down on the horror genre; ‘It’s really a drag, because even sometimes – I don’t want to name names – but I’ll be watching an actor on The Today Show or something promoting their film, and they act embarrassed – not a movie that I made, but other movies.
‘And I’m like, ‘Why would this person be on Good Morning America, kinda going like, ‘Oh yeah, I got this movie coming up but I’m doing this other…’ It’s like they always want to change the topic. Unless you call it ‘psychological thriller’ and it becomes Silence of the Lambs. For the most part everyone’s like, ‘Take it off my résumé.’’Zombie continues; “The great thing and the bad thing about a movie like Paranormal Activity is it wasn’t made for much…So now that was made for whatever dollar amount and it made a lot of money, that is now, in their minds, ‘This is how much every horror movie costs.’
‘Two million bucks – well, now it’s probably dropped to one million – but that’s it. It doesn’t matter what story you’re telling or what it is, it’s the same amount. And that’s the problem, y’know. It’s like once they know you’ll work for this amount they don’t want to pay you more. They’re like, ‘Oh, you’re going to work for that forever.’
‘And that’s the tricky part. And that’s happened across the board with horror movies.’