Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Cast: Sid Haig, Sheri Moon, Bill Moseley
Extras: Documentary, Commentary Track
After throwing a bag of mixed tricks at us with "House Of 1000 Corpses", writer/director Rob Zombie decided to change the pace with his follow up "The Devil's Rejects". The characters Otis, Baby, and Captain Spaulding (labeled The Devil's Rejects by the media) pick up where they left off, but seem to have a more serious tone to their mayhem in this installment. It appears that they have killed Officer Wydell's brother George and revenge is in the air. The film is basically Wydell's pursuit of the murderous trio. What sets "The Devil's Rejects" apart from other movies is the artistic direction and brutal carnage that is on display throughout the film. With Lion's Gate releasing an uncut two disc DVD set, it is time to see just how deadly this trio is.
"The Devil's Rejects" is a modern day exploitation flick. From its 16MM roots to the 70's stamp of approval throughout the movie, Rob Zombie totally changed the tone for his second flick. As you will find throughout the special features, even some of the cast had a hard time acting out some of the more intense scenes. The horror isn't in the kills, it is in the setup. Victims are tortured and mentally abused before losing their pulse. These scenes help define "The Devil's Rejects" and personalize the horror more than "House Of 1000 Corpses" wanted to. Both of Zombie's movies are like roller coasters. "House Of 1000 Corpses" is the steel roller coaster. It is smooth, has some thrills, and will give you a good ride. "The Devil's Rejects" is the old rickety wooden roller coaster that many will shy away from. It also has some thrills, but it will rough you up throughout the ride. Some of the turns will leave you with bumps and bruises and will certainly stick with anyone who decides to ride.
For the fans who have grown up watching horror movies, be prepared to see some friendly faces. Rob Zombie obviously grew up with the genre and gave numerous parts to actors and actresses from horror movies past. Sid Haig alone is a prime example of homage being paid to the genre. From horror flicks like "Spider Baby" and "Blood Bath" to exploitation movies like "The Big Doll House" and "Foxy Brown", Haig is the king of this trip down memory lane. He has been a staple within the underground film community for decades, so it is nice to see him up front and center. Ken Foree, P.J. Soles, and Michael Berryman are some of the surprises throughout the movie and Kane Hodder is involved as the film's stunt coordinator. Outside of the genre we see Priscilla Barnes and Elizabeth Daily again, giving the movie a retro feel and I may have been initially upset that Karen Black couldn't reprise her role as Mother Firefly; Leslie Easterbrook was superb in the role. She has come a long way since "Police Academy".
Given an anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, "The Devil's Rejects" looks excellent. With the 70's vibe that Zombie was going for, the grain and rough look are expected. Set in essentially the middle of nowhere, the color palette is somewhat limited. The earthy colors are complimented by a solid black level and clean transfer to DVD. The red blood is accented by the simple backdrop, bringing the color to life. Detail within the movie is amazing. The DVD certainly allows all of the intricacies of the numerous sets to be showcased as the camera pans around the area. Lion's Gate has a great looking release with this film.
Given the option of 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround EX or 6.1 DTS ES audio, you can't really go wrong. Since there are a limited number of discs with DTS ES tracks, I instantly fell in love with the inclusion of the extra channel of sound. The track is very aggressive with great dynamic range and clear dialogue. The soundstage will develop an eerie atmosphere as it blankets your ears in sound, providing depth with its deep bass. The rear center channel certainly adds an element of detail missing from its 5.1 counterpart. The Dolby Digital track is very nice as well. With a somewhat limited bitrate, the Dolby Digital track is not as inclusive, but it only suffers when compared to the DTS track. If you don't have a 6.1 setup, you will find the 5.1 EX track to be an excellent option.
Disc one has quite a few extra features to dig your teeth into. First is an audio commentary with the man himself, writer/director Rob Zombie. Overall the commentary is informative, never really dragging too much on technical information. Zombie is still enthusiastic about "The Devil's Rejects", explaining the differences and challenges faced when following up "House Of 1000 Corpses". The other feature length commentary is by the rejects themselves, Sid Haig, Sheri Moon, and Bill Moseley. It started out a little slower than I thought it would, but the trio seems to find their chemistry as the movie progresses. This track is a little more fun spirited than Rob Zombie's commentary, mostly from the multiple perspectives from the participants. For anyone who noticed, anything that was shown on a television during "The Devil's Rejects" is shown in its entirety within the special features. "The Morris Green Show: Ruggsville #1 Talk Show", two Captain Spalding commercials, and Buck Owens "Satan's Got To Get Along Without Me" video are all given the respect of being seen outside of the movie. The 12 deleted scenes have everything from the lost Dr. Satan scene to extended brothel shots and dialogue. All in all it is obvious the scenes were trimmed to help keep a steady flow within the movie. There is also a blooper reel that is over five minutes and make up tests, which cover the process for the main trio of characters from the film. Rounding out the disc is still gallery, theatrical trailer and TV spots, and a tribute to the late Matthew McGrory. The features manage to give depth to a fanatical movie and personalize the participants in the process.
The highlight of the extra features is easily found on disc two. "30 Days In Hell: The Making Of The Devil's Rejects" is a 144 minute documentary that covers all aspects in making the movie. Fans of filmmaking will absolutely love this in depth look at how a director transforms a vision into reality. Fans of "The Devil's Rejects" will find behind the scenes of a deleted scene deep within the documentary that includes Dr. Satan and an appearance by Rosario Dawson. This documentary is very detailed and will give a wealth of information from nearly all participants of the film.
This was the DVD set I was hoping for after I saw "The Devil's Rejects" in the theater. Though the additional material found in the unrated cut of the film is minor, an aggressive DTS-ES 6.1 soundtrack brings the film to life, taunting those who dare to watch it. Coupled with the insanely detailed documentary found on disc two, "The Devil's Rejects" could easily be one of the top DVD's released in 2005.