Going into THIRTY ONE I wanted to hate it. Hate it with a passion. After his last film THE LORDS OF SALEM, I was ready for Zombie to branch out as a filmmaker. I wanted him to do something different besides horror. For years he had been talking about wanting to do a hockey movie. Cool! Something different! Sadly, it sounds as if said movie will never happen.
I get the impression from a recent Q&A interview that Zombie cannot get the funding he needs for BACKSTREET BRAWLERS (I think that was the title). To me this is so lame. I hate how Hollywood and maybe even a fan base can pigeon hold an artist. In his frustration he made the comment how he could come up with a horror movie idea (THIRTY ONE) in five minutes and get the funding with a snap of the fingers. But a hockey movie? Forget it.
Hearing set backs like this makes me hate Hollywood and so called “fans”. It reminds of when the band Black Sabbath had a song on their most recent album called 'Is God Dead?'. Ozzy sang that he wasn't. Some fans flipped out! “How can a heavy metal band have a song about God and say he's not dead”? I found it both hilarious and lame.
So back to the movie, I went into THIRTY ONE thinking I was going to hate it. Quite the opposite happened, I loved it! And it wasn't because of my low expectations. With THIRTY ONE being a Rob Zombie film I knew exactly what to expect. I could play the film in my head without really seeing it. Characters getting into a situation with no hope of surviving.
I revisit his other films once in a blue moon, especially HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES and THE DEVIL'S REJECTS because of how uncomfortable they make me feel. The sense of dread. All these things are in THIRTY ONE, but the one thing different I liked was how some victims fought back. But as always, Zombie hits you in the gut at a visceral level. I consider him one of the truest exploitation filmmakers working today.
Nothing about his films feel trendy. Most of them if not all being set in the Seventies is about as retro as Zombie gets. Everything else feels authentic because that's his eye for cinema. The sleazy exploitation film.
A good example is filmmaker Robert Rodriguez (whom I'm a fan of) and his contribution to the film GRINDHOUSE, the 87 minute PLANET TERROR . I thought the movie was super cool, but ultimately it's just a feature length trailer and has retro written all over it.
If 42nd Street was still running today the way it was in the late seventies and early eighties, then THIRTY ONE would fit right in!
THIRTY ONE is about a group of carnies driving to the next Carnival. What state fair takes place in the fall? Especially on the 31st of October? Anyways, after a stop for some gas they get abducted by a strange group of folks. Demonic Hambulgers is what they look like.
The carnies are forced to play a murder game, think THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME with a dash of THE RUNNING MAN.
The object of the game is to stay alive for 12 hours. Each round the odds of surviving all depend on how well the victim, er...I mean contestant did the previous round. Each round the murderers get more nasty and inventive. They are all sadistic clowns with an appetite for killing. We got a little person that's dressed up as a Clown Hitler, hillbilly chain-saw wielding brothers, and a twisted clown couple who call themselves Death and Sex. But the one you gotta watch out for and who steals the show is Doom-head. This clown makes Heath Ledger's Joker shit his pants!
It turns out that THIRTY ONE is Rob Zombie's masterpiece!
Rob has taken all the good and all the bad and everything else he's learned from his previous films, and it's all come down to THIRTY ONE. The bonus is that fans are going to be thrilled to death (no pun intended). A perfect storm if you will.
In conclusion, if THIRTY ONE had become Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes then you would know that Rob Zombie had made a terrible exploitation film. I wonder if CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD or CANNIBAL FEROX has a Fresh percentage?
For gory horror and Rob Zombie fans only. I highly recommend 31!!