rex_n_rob

With four horror pictures under his belt, Rob Zombie is starting to feel that audiences may be pigeonholing him somewhat. Though he’s currently on tour and has a new album out at the beginning of February, he’s obviously already at work on his potential next projects and is hoping to mount something to break our preconceptions of him a little.

So, to that end, he’s said once again that he’s hopeful his underground fighter  film Tyrannosaurus Rex will be the next Rob Zombie joint out of the pipe and not the Blob remake he’s also already attached to. Seeing as the Blob picture has yet to be greenlit, and as far as we know might never be, he could well get his wish.

Zombie was telling The Chicago Tribune that he doesn’t want to paddle in the horror pool too much right now, saying:

If you go down that road too far, it’s hard to break out of it. I don’t want to get stuck with anything. I want the freedom to do what I want to do.

The last time he exercised this freedom, he did so quite boldly with the animated feature The Haunted World of El Superbeasto. It didn’t bring anything like the commercial success of his Halloween films, of course, but it’s quite comfortably the one Rob Zombie film furthest away from his oeuvre’s overall pattern. Not to say it doesn’t contain some typical Zombie touches, of course, and we should not forget that while Superbeasto was about a Luchador, Tyrannosaurus Rex would be about a prize fighter who goes to prison for a decade and a half, comes out rather hardened and becomes a skull crusher on the underground fight circuit – a new pattern may be emerging.

I’m not expecting Zombie to suddenly become a Soderbergh or Coen Bros. style genre-hopper, but I think it’s safe to say his films do all fall within a certain remit, horror or maybe ‘horror-adjacent’. What’s more, I think the audience’s collective ability to stereotype is such that he’s still going to be seen as something of a one-trick pony (or, if you prefer auteur) until he’s sending men to the moon or sequelising Kit Kittredge: An American Girl.

Do we want to encourage Mr. Zombie to step more fully outside of his comfort zone? I think so. Apart from Superbeasto perhaps, every project he’s so far delivered has had such ready points of comparison that it’s been hard for audiences to judge them on their own terms. I’m itching to see what the world would make of a Rob Zombie picture that is neither a remake, a sequel (to a remake) or a clear and obvious homage.

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