Rob Zombie gets it. He understands the difference between producing and reproducing. He understands what it means to create a character and not a stereotype. He knows how to drag us into his imagination rather than just tell us a story. Rob Zombie knows how to make a horror movie.
Now before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk about what 31 is and isn’t. It is (another) Sheri Moon film, although she is looking better than ever. It is another homicidal slasher flick. It is made primarily for the fans and not for the mainstream viewer and it is more of the same. Is that a bad thing? No, not at all. It won’t win any Oscars and it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table.
What 31 does well is entertain. From start to finish it is a wild ride of kooky characters and gratuitous gore. Our vagabond band of hapless heroes doesn’t take their capture lying down either. What we get is more of a Battle Royale a la Rob Zombie, which is a pleasant change to the typical useless meatsack teens that permeate the slasher genre. What’s more is the fact that most of the characters are very likeable, including Zombie’s newest mob of murderers.
The game of 31 pits our crew of carnies against several deranged, homocidal clowns known as “The Heads.” First out the gate is the hilarious Sick-Head (Pancho Moler), a Spanish speaking Nazi little-person. Insanity. Others include the redneck-rapists, Schizo-Head and Psycho-Head(David Ury and Lew Temple); The loving couple, Death-Head and Sex-Head (Torsten Voges and Elizabeth Daily); and the show stealing Doom-Head (Richard Brake). Brake’s Doom-Head is brilliant, with a good couple of murderous monologues that I personally loved. There’s definitely a bit of The Joker in that persona, but with a much darker demeanour. I also really took a liking to Jeff Daniel Phillips’s Roscoe Pepper and the brilliant Malcolm McDowell’s Father Murder.
There hasn’t been much love for the movie since its digital release and although I can understand some of the criticisms aimed at the film, I really have to disagree with the critics. 31 is everything it promised to be. If you enjoyed House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects, then you are absolutely going to love this one. It’s a carnival of carnage; a battlefield of blood, gore, and greasepaint. Check out the trailer below and make sure to give it a watch.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.