Enjoy this Monday with Mildred!
The Devil’s Rejects
It was with great trepidation that I started this movie despite some recommendations from people I trust. As it turns out, I’ve very much enjoyed watching a film that I thought was going to scare me silly.
Not that I’ll ever watch it again, mind you. The Devil’s Rejects is very disturbing and several times I was tempted to look away. The problem is that looking away wouldn’t have saved me from the depravity on the screen. The pain in this film comes almost entirely from emotional torture, not fantastic and imaginative ways to die.
What you have here is the family and farmhouse from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, down to the animal trophies, stairway right inside the house and head-sack covered gargantuan. This family, though, is swift of foot and has their wits. Even though they’re too pretty, it’s still effectively scary. I think it must be Rob Zombie’s fantasy about what might happen if the TCM family was brightened up and stirred like a next of hornets to be sent into the world.
Even though the family was too pretty and their clothes too perfectly ruined, I still got a fairly powerful flashback to the late sixties, early seventies and the chill sent over the nation by the Manson Family. If you weren’t around then, there’s no way you could understand how one run down hippie family could damage the psyche of an entire nation – even one without cable tv news or cell phones. But they did, and this movie reminded me of it. Maybe it was the songs included in the fabulous sound track (the music in every way was a great plus), or the straightforwardly violent murder to grab a getaway car – by a knife-wielding, sexed up longhair – or maybe it was the naiveté of all the victims. Today most people are at least somewhat aware of serial killers and the futility of going along with the demands of a violent person. This movie really sends you back to a more simple time.
There were amazing sexual scenes throughout the film. Beginning with necrophilia, it moves next to a close shot of the aged testicles of an evil clown being ridden by a woman in a blood red corset. I believe that’s a first for me, outside of porn, where they don’t always bother with the pretty corset. For some reason I thought of Stephen King, likely because of all the nudity and the viewers’ gaze being actively focused on shots of female genitalia, not simply breasts and frontal shots of nude women.
I was confused at one point, though, when I suddenly realized we were actually getting to know characters who were shortly going to be victims. What in the world? A film maker who wants us to really feel it when bad things happen to characters? And bad things do happen to the victims, because this evil family of killers is WAY more into the torture than the actual killing. Finally, I thought, a film maker who understands which is worse.
Give this film a look if you can handle graphic sex, graphic violence, graphic evil. It’s a well-made movie, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
spoiler for the end of the film
At the end of the film, the son imagines his family in a weird 8MM-like home video montage of love and happiness. But his real-life vision isn’t entirely clouded. He understands they are unconnected from (what they perceive as) the background world (iow, us). His inner film doesn’t imagine them as any more clean cut or normal looking than they really are, which makes them stand out from the beautiful and pastoral background in which they’re lovingly cavorting (in his dream). Pretty interesting sequence. Very soon thereafter they’re shot to pieces in yet another nod to a classic movie, this time Bonnie and Clyde. This film was unconventional enough that I seriously wasn’t sure they were going to die in the fusillade of lead.
END spoiler for the end of the film
CFR In Addition: Sorry. CFR does NOT do slahery, desecrate the human body movies. So if you want to see the trailer, go look on YouTube.