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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Devil's Rejects
The Devil's Rejects
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // Unrated // November 8, 2005
List Price: $27.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted October 31, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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P R I N T
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The Movie:

Rob Zombie's second film picks up shortly after the events that finished up House Of 1,000 Corpses. The Firefly clan are holed up in a farmhouse, surrounded by cops and wanted for murdering seventy-five people. Needless to say, the police are pretty hot to get their hands on the clan, but they're not going down without a fight and soon enough, a bloody shoot out goes down. Otis (Bill Moseley) and Baby (Sheri Moon) make it out of the house before the law closes in, but Mother Firefly (Leslie Easterbrook picking up where Karen Black left off) isn't so lucky and the cops are only too happy to bring her into custody.

Captain Spaulding, as luck would have it, was out of the house when the shoot out occurred, so he too manages to avoid the police and it doesn't take him long to find out what's happened. Once he does, he figures he should head on out and look for Baby and Otis, who have spent some time hiding out in a remote hotel where they've been holding a country and western band (made up of Priscilla Barnes, Geoffrey Lewis, Kate Norby and Lew Temple) hostage. One thing leads to another and soon Baby and Otis, after making waste of the band, head out to meet up with Spaulding at a whorehouse run by Spaulding's 'brother from another mother,' Charlie Altamont (Ken Foree).

While the family is on the lam, Sheriff Wydell (William Forsyth) is becoming more and more obsessed with getting revenge on them for the murder of his brother in the first film. He rounds up a band of hired guns to help him out and heads into the desert to find the three Fireflies and give them what for.

Rob Zombie has crafted one mean little movie this time out. While a lot of the black humor that made the first movie as fun as it was is still here, there's a much stronger mean streak in The Devil's Rejects that gives it a certain air of uneasiness. Otis and Spaulding as sicker, more depraved and more psychotic here than in the last film (if that's possible) but the story allows us to get to know them better this time out, which makes for an interesting paradox. These are definitely not heroes or even anti heroes that we're following in this film, they're despicable human beings but their story is interesting and while we don't necessarily root for them, the movie sucks us in enough that we do want to find out how it all ends.

In addition to some brilliant casting choices, Zombie has also done an excellent job of recreating the dirty, sweaty atmosphere of so many of the seventies drive in horror and exploitation films that so obviously inspired him to make this movie. The film will leave you in need of a shower, it's been baked in the sun a little too long and as such it's got a strange funk to it that just makes an already fairly seedy movie even seedier.

With supporting roles from Michael Berryman, Rosario Dawson (well, in a deleted scene), the late Matthew McGrory, Danny Trejo and Diamond Dallas Page as the Sheriff's mercenary pals, P. J. Soles, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, Ginger Lynn Allen, Mary Woronov, and more, the film also makes for a fun game of 'spot the b-movie celebrity' you're your friends.

While the film played theatrically with an R-rating, this two-disc set is uncut. The main difference is the fact that the hotel room scene plays out a little longer than it did theatrically, the rest of the added content (to the best of this reviewer's memory – I don't have the R version to compare it to) is some restored trims to the nastier bits of violence in the movie.

The DVD

Video:

Lion's Gate presents The Devil's Rejects in a very nice 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. You'll notice as you watch the film that certain scenes are supposed to look dirtier and grittier than others and this DVD does a good job of replicating that without taking it too far. The footage that isn't intentionally degraded looks nearly pristine aside from a light coating of film grain in a few spots that is entirely appropriate and this transfer is very clear and very detailed.

The black levels are strong, there aren't any issues with mpeg compression artifacts, and aside from some mild line shimmering, there aren't any digital issues here. Color reproduction is top notch, with the reds really standing out against the dry and arid hues of the film. Both foreground and background detail is really revelatory and this is, for the most part, a very impressive and very film-like transfer that does a great job of replicating the visuals that the film makes such excellent use of.

Sound:

There are two primary audio tracks for the feature – an English language Dolby Digital EX 5.1 Surround Sound mix and an English language DTS ES 6.1 Surround Sound mix. There aren't any alternate language dubs or subtitles provided, but there is an English language closed captioning feature present for the feature only.

In terms of quality, the DTS 6.1 mix sounds excellent. The dialogue is crystal clear, the sound effects are powerful but not so much so that they drown anything out, and the music swells up behind the action just perfectly. The mix makes great use of the rear channels to build plenty of atmosphere and there are all manner of fun directional effects thrown at your from various parts of the soundstage throughout the feature. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix isn't quite as strong but it is very close. The bass response is tighter and more powerful on the DTS track and the added rear channel does flesh things out a little bit more but otherwise, the 5.1 mix sounds almost as good as the DTS track does. Lion's Gate has done a great job in the audio department for this release.

Extras:

This unrated director's cut spreads the supplements out across the two DVDs that are housed in the keepcase as follows:

DISC ONE:

The first of the two commentary tracks on this release features director Rob Zombie. This proves to be a pretty interesting track and Zombie is never at a loss for words when discussing his film. He talks about how he set out to make a film that was very different in tone than his first movie and how he wanted a specific look for the movie. He goes into detail about casting decisions, how certain performers came to be decided upon for specific roles, and he also covers some of the budgetary issues he ran up against in a few spots as well. He also makes note of some of the movies that inspired him to make this film, and where some of his ideas came from.

The second commentary features performers Sheri Moon, Sid Haig and Bill Moseley. This track, with three participants, proves to be a little more lively than Zombie's solo track and there's a lot more humor in it, but it doesn't prove to be as informative as the first one. This commentary is still a lot of fun, however, and you can really tell that the three actors had a great time working together and really get along well even when they're not working. There are a lot of fun anecdotes contained in here, and some interesting stories about their specific ordeals when it came to what they had to do on camera, and fans of the film should get a kick out of this discussion.

Up next is the blooper reel, which is, as you would expect, just raw footage of the performers screwing up their lines. Some of these flubs are obviously intentional, and there are some funny spots in here that demonstrate the friendship that the cast had on the set of this film. When it's all said and done, the blooper reel runs just over five minutes in length.

The Morris Green Show – Ruggsville's #1 Talk Show is a half hour 'full broadcast' of the talk show that is briefly seen in the background of one of the scenes in the film. The premise is that the topic of the day for Morris' show is the three lead characters of the film, and so he's going to give the viewing public his take on them. It's a pretty amusing and darkly funny bit that works well with the feature.

After that we find two commercials – the Mary The Monkey Girl spot and the Captain Spaulding Christmas commercial. These are just what they sound like, a pair of Spaulding hosted commercials with the character in full on sales mode, and like the Morris Green bit, they're amusing enough.

The nastiest of the supplements comes in the form of Cheerleader Missing – The Otis Home Movie. This is, essentially, a segment in which Otis takes his time torturing, raping, and killing the cheerleader that he kidnaps. Made to look like a home movie, this is pretty nasty stuff and it's interesting in the documentary on disc two to get Bill Moseley's take on how he feels about this part of the movie. It's pretty freaky stuff, even if it's only a minute or so in length..

Lion's Gate has also included a few deleted scenes on this disc, including the often talked about Dr. Satan scene. The first scene is called Swamp Escape and it's essentially just some footage of Otis and Baby coming out of the sewer and into the swamp, it's roughly forty-six seconds in length. Family Argument is a brief argument between Baby and Otis in the truck, and it runs all of twenty-four seconds. Keep Your Cool is a twenty three second clip of dialogue between two of the cops. Dr. Satan Attacks is a bit longer, at one minute and fifty seconds, and I'm not going to spoil this one for you – it's cool enough that you'll want to check it out on your own. Snake Bite is thirty-one seconds of more dialogue between cops, while French Tickler is a forty-second clip in which Michael Berryman explains a few things for us. Pork Rind is forty five seconds of Ken Foree hamming it up at the whorehouse. Marshmallow Ass is a sequence where the Fireflies come up on Berryman and want entrance to the brothel, it lasts a minute and thirty four seconds. Keep Your Mouth Shut is forty six seconds of dialogue between Berryman and Foree, while Otis And Candy Make Funky Music is three minutes and forty seconds of Otis trying to decide what position he'd like to bang Candy in off of the supplied menu. Personal Escort Into Hell is a minute and forty five seconds of dialogue between the Sheriff and the Fireflies who are locked in the back of his police truck.

Rounding out the extra features on disc one are some make up tests (provided for pretty much all of the main characters in the feature – thirteen minutes and eight seconds worth of material), a nice tribute to the late Matthew McGrory, an extensive still gallery, two trailers, and a pair of TV spots. Also included on this disc is a video for Buck Owens' Satan's Got To Get Along Without Me, which was a nice touch seeing as how well used the song is in the film. There's also a DVD credits section and an advertisement for the soundtrack CD.

DISC TWO:

The second disc contains only one supplement, but what a bonus feature it is! 30 Days In Hell: The Making Of The Devil's Rejects is an absolutely massive two hour and twenty-four minute long documentary on the making of the movie. This ridiculously comprehensive full length feature follows the genesis of the project from Zombie's early pre-production meetings all the way up to the final day of shooting on the set and does an excellent job of covering everything in between.

One of the more interesting aspects of this documentary is watching Zombie try and get his vision down on film as accurately as possible. It's very obvious right from the start that he knew what he wanted to do with The Devil's Rejects and that he didn't just want to make House Of 1,000 Corpses all over again. The documentary literally begins with Zombie sitting in a boardroom with a bunch of executives going over the pitch and the script details before it moves on to what happened during the film's thirty-day shooting schedule. It's also quite interesting to hear Zombie talk about the budget he had to work with on this film and how so much of the money for Corpses was, as he puts it, wasted.

Zombie gives the camera his take on things as the movie progresses, and he's not afraid to be honest about things that are happening throughout. We get to see a lot of behind the scenes footage here, plenty of candid clips of the actors and technicians, and some interesting effects footage as well. The feature captures Zombie directing, which is interesting to see, but also captures him during some more relaxed moments as well.

Pretty much everyone involved with the film is on camera at one point or another, and there are on set interviews here with Haig, Moseley, Moon, Foree, and Forsyth as well as plenty of stunt footage, shots of the sets as they were being worked on, and running commentary from all involved. Casting is also covered in a pretty hefty bit of detail, and there are plenty of cool audition tapes shown in the first part of this feature – interestingly enough, Zombie doesn't like to be in the room while the audition tapes are being recorded so that he can base his decisions on how an actor or actress appears on the screen, not in person.

Also included inside the case is an insert with chapter stops and a brief essay from Rob Zombie.

Final Thoughts:

Lion's Gate has burned genre fans in the past, no doubt, but a lot of work went into making this release the best presentation possible for The Devil's Rejects and you've got to respect that. Fantastic audio and video quality, copious extras that really bring you into the making of the film and then some, and a feature that holds up really, really well make this one highly recommended.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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