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For over a decade rock star-turned-filmmaker Rob Zombie has been shocking and disgusting audiences with an array of gruesome and sleazy horror pictures from his 2005 road movie The Devil’s Rejects to his last offering, the supernatural splatter flick The Lords of Salem. While he had tried to avoid stereotyping by unsuccessfully breaking away from the genre with the now-abandoned sports movie Broadstreet Bullies, in 2014 the writer-director launched a crowdfunding campaign on FanBacked for his latest project, 31.
‘I was reading this statistic: Halloween is the Number One day of the year when people go missing for some reason,’ he told Rolling Stone following the announcement. ‘I thought, ‘What an interesting premise for a film.’ This is five people that go missing on each day leading up to Halloween and what happens to them on the 31st.’
Zombie has spent the last eighteen months generating hype around the project, following the poor reception of his late two films, Halloween 2 and The Lords of Salem. ‘I screened the whole thing, just me and the editor, and I was really happy with it,’ he told Louder Noise TV during post-production. ‘You know, you work in this weird vacuum, you don’t know where it’s going, and at that moment in time anyway it was my favourite of all the films I had made.’
With the exception of a psychedelic sequence in the 1996 animated movie Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, Zombie was initially to make his feature debut with the unproduced sequel The Crow: 2037, although following a dispute with Universal Pictures his first film as director, The House of 1000 Corpses, was released in 2003, taking the horror community by storm. Following a loose sequel, The Devil’s Rejects, two years later, Zombie divided the opinions of his fans with his graphic remake of John Carpenter’s seminal classic Halloween.
‘I always wanted to do different stuff, I never wanted to do just one type of movie, and even within what I was doing I would want to make it different,’ he told Albany station Q103. ‘But it’s so hard to get the financing and the money; it just takes so many millions of dollars, even if you make a cheap movie, that I never want to turn anything down because the opportunities are hard to come by.’While Zombie’s previous pictures have never shied away from sex or gore, when 31 was recently submitted to the MPAA it received the dreaded NC-17 rating, which would limit its theatrical distribution and this affect its overall box office gross. Following satisfactory cuts, the film was finally granted an R-rating, which would allow it to be screened in most cinemas, despite contianing strong bloody violence.
Despite this, however, Zombie revealed on his Facebook page that an uncut version of 31 will be released on DVD. This is not uncommon in the United States, as home video is not strictly regulated as it is in such regions as the United Kingdom. Many horror movies that are cut for theatrical release are later unleashed on home video in all their uncut glory. After all, it is on this format and not the big screen that Zombie first established his fan base.
‘A lot of movies like this, say The Devils Rejects, for instance; those movies may not have done insane box office, but they did insane DVD sales,’ he told Loudwire. ‘So that’s why those movies will get made, because the companies knew, well if it doesn’t blow up at the box office it’s going to blow up on home video. But now home video is going through the same thing that CDs went through.’