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Interview: 'Lords Of Salem' Director Rob Zombie Talks Making The Film, Studio Expectations, 'Broad Street Bullies' & More

Photo of Drew Taylor By Drew Taylor | The Playlist April 29, 2013 at 6:14PM

There are few genre filmmakers working today who are as exciting and unpredictable as Rob Zombie. The rock musician (he continues to make music – he just dropped a new album, Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor) has a singular love for all things horror, particularly the down-and-dirty chillers from the seventies and early eighties, augmenting these earlier films with bold stylistic experimentation and a kind of gleeful willingness to push the envelope when it comes to sex and violence. His latest film, "Lords of Salem," produced by Blumhouse Productions and distributed by Anchor Bay, was released last week. A bold stylistic departure for Zombie, it's a leisurely paced descent into madness more akin to Roman Polanski's apartment trilogy than anything involving Texas, chainsaws, or massacres.
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The Haunted World of El Superbeasto
Would you ever go back to animation? I loved “The Haunted World of El Superbeasto.”
I would love to. I was just with Tom Poppa last week shooting a comedy special for him and he’s dying to do another ‘Superbeasto,’ but I would love to. I would like to make more animation like that, that’s more like a dark weird thing cause animation now is so, not highbrow, but the expense level at which it’s made has to be so stiff and they do amazing stuff. But there’s something about that type of animation I like.

What happened with that? It would seem like it was much more low budget then sort of had a bigger budget.
That was a really weird one cause the way it started was I had done the comic and I had thought this would be a cool cartoon. I pitched it to Film Roman and they’re like, “Great, let’s do it.” And it was always conceived as a direct-to-video little movie. They thought, “Oh, we’ll spend a million bucks on this and it will go direct to video.” That would be cool, since I never saw this as a big thing. And then the project kept going and going. And then Film Roman got sold to another company. There was another company in between and they got sold to Starz. It kept changing hands and we just kept working. It’s almost literally like we were in a backroom working and no one knew we were there. So two years goes by and $7 million dollars go by and a hundred animators go by and it sort of just bloomed into this thing. By the time it ended up with the final company that owned it, they were sort of horrified by the content because they didn’t even know what it was and then they sort of seemed like they just wanted to hide it. They were like, “We can’t put up this superhero-sex romp.” So that’s what happened. It’s funny. I feel bad now because people seem to really love it and it’s really gathered a following after the fact. But that’s to be expected. I guess most things like that do.

Do you take solace in the fact that knowing that this audience is there?
Yeah. Especially more now than ever because the theatrical’s almost becoming irrelevant. I like having it because if you don’t have a theatrical release people always feel like, “Oh, the movie must not be good.” But the theatrical release is so quick even if you have a blockbuster. I remember when I was a kid, like when “Raiders of the Lost Ark” came out, it would sit in the theater for like nine months. Now even with "The Dark Knight Rises," six weeks it’s gone. And for most movies it’s like one week. Even if it’s the number one movie, it’s like, “Boom! Gone.” So it’s almost like it doesn’t matter. 99% of the people that watch this stuff will discover it later on DVD and home video. I don’t even really hear about the movies until they hit HBO. It seems like that's when everyone starts talking about them.

Rob Zombie Broad Street Bullies
Is "Broad Street Bullies" the next thing? When might it shoot? 
Yeah, "Broad Street Bullies," as far as I know, is the next thing. But every time I thought I knew what was the next thing, it always becomes another thing. So all signs on that are looking great to be the next thing. Ideally, I would start shooting it next fall. That would be the plan because I have a record coming out so I have touring plans all through the summer so I’m already booked up for a while, but that would be the plan.

The story’s crazy, but it’s a true-life sports story of the Philadelphia Flyers and how they literally sat down one day and had a plan to, “Let’s build a team that’s so tough that other teams would literally be afraid to play us.” I’ve been researching the script for over a year and when you read the script, there’s no way this is true. It sounds like such a bunch of bullshit, but it’s all true. It’s just the craziest fucking stories.

Do you see yourself going back to more genre-oriented stuff?
I don’t know. I love all kinds of movies, obviously, and I like breaking away because I don’t like getting pigeonholed about things and I feel it gets limited, but I’m not changing because I dislike what I’ve done. It’s just good to do something different.

"Lords of Salem" is in theaters now.

This article is related to: Rob Zombie, Lords Of Salem, Broad Street Bullies, Interviews, Interviews