One Busy Zombie

The musician/writer/director/producer leaves his ghoulish mark across the board


Rob Zombie has a lot going on. He had a hugely successful film (The Devil's Rejects, a follow-up to the also successful House of 1,000 Corpses) come out last year, a tour (with openers Godsmack) supporting his new album, Educated Horses, this year, and an animated film, El Superbeasto, scheduled for release next spring. It was within this frenetic schedule that he found a few minutes to talk on the phone with Boise Weekly.

BW: Mr. Zombie, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. When you come through town, why are you doing a solo show instead of having Godsmack open?

Rob Zombie: Technically, it's a day off so we're doing a one-off show. We get bored on our days off. We sit around the hotel going, "Man, we should be playing a show."

The new CD is great. Where did the title Educated Horses come from?

It's an old circus term for trained animals.

What made you think of that with this album?

Underneath the CD there's a picture. It's an old picture of two guys by a circus tent. One of those guys is my grandfather. It was a picture my mom gave me. It just made me think about those things.

Why did you choose an instrumental as a first track?

I thought it was a good way to set the tone of the record. It's the way we start the show. I don't really know; it just happened that way. I liked easing into the record as I like easing into a show.

It's really beautiful.

I love nice mellow melodic things like that.

Do you have a favorite Rob Zombie/White Zombie record?

No, not really. They kind of come and go. It changes. This one is my favorite at the moment. The next one will probably be my favorite then. It's such a clichéd answer, but maybe if I had more time away from them I'd feel different.

When you're done, do you just "shelve" them?

Yeah. I never listen to them. I hear them when I'm doing an interview at a radio station and they play [one of] my songs. The only time I would ever listen to them is when there's been a long break and I can't remember the songs.

(Laughs) You never pop in a White Zombie CD?

(Laughs) Never.

What do you listen to?

I'm always listening to old stuff and rediscovering music I loved as a kid, whether it's the Allman Brothers or Queen or the Kinks or things of that nature.

Moving into the film side of your career, are there any new horror movies out there that you've seen and loved or can't wait to see?

No, not really. I don't really rush out to see horror movies. They're usually crappy for the most part. I rushed out to see Little Miss Sunshine and World Trade Center, but as for horror movies, they are few and far between that I rush out to see. I know that sounds bad but it's true. There's nothing I hate more than sitting through a bad movie. I have a copy of The Descent which I haven't watched yet. I've heard it's good.

Going back a little bit, why did you decide to do a sequel to House of 1,000 Corpses? Were fans begging you for another film or did you just have more to say?

The reality of it is, I really liked those characters so I was happy to revisit them. And it's almost impossible to get movies made. For every movie that's made, there are 10,000 movies that people think are getting made that aren't. So when Lion's Gate came to me and said they wanted to do a sequel to House of 1,000 Corpses and they were ready to do it, I said, "Sure." I know so many people who have made a movie and someone comes to them and says, "Let's make a sequel," and they say, "I don't want to make a sequel; I want to make something new." And then the new thing never happens. Fifteen years go by and they still haven't made the new movie. So, I had an idea for it, I like the characters, so I was happy to do it.

Do you see yourself doing more films along that line?

Well, I'm doing a remake of Halloween. I'll start that in October when I finish the tour. After that, I don't know. I have another script I wrote that isn't a horror movie that I would like to make. As it goes, it's really hard to get movies made. I've been involved in a lot of movies that never got made. It's incredibly difficult.

Would you ever consider directing someone else's film?

If it's a great script that I liked, sure. It's just hard because I want to make movies I like. So many movies are so generic. I'm a particular type of person and I want to make those movies. Certain directors make movies that are very much them. When you see a Quentin Tarentino movie, it's very much him.

I read somewhere that doing Rejects was exhausting for you and that's why you started Educated Horses.

Well, making movies is always exhausting, but when I was done, I was just burnt. I couldn't jump directly to another film.

Do you see El Superbeasto as a series of films or maybe a television series?

No. It's rated R and everything that's cool and funny about it would be lost if you watered it down.

Lastly, back to Halloween. Are you going to try and recapture the original Halloween movie or are you going to a new place with it?My main goal is to take the essence of the story and make a completely different movie. I don't want it to look or feel or act like the original. That movie already exists so to do anything like that movie seems like a completely pointless venture. Which I think is the problem with remakes and where they get into trouble. I want to make something that in the first 10 seconds you think, "Wow. This is a whole different movie."

Rob Zombie plays the Big Easy on September 26 at 8 p.m. Tickets were a real bargain at $35 and sold out almost immediately.