Five travelling carny workers - Charly (Sheri Moon Zombie), Panda (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs), Venus (Meg Foster), Levon (Kevin Jackson), and Roscoe (Jeff Daniel Phillips) - are abducted by a sick bunch of freaks and made to play a sadistic game of survival. The proceedings are run by macabre Masters of Ceremony - Father Murder (Malcolm McDowell), Sister Serpent (Jane Carr), and Sister Dragon (Judy Geeson) - and the mean s.o.b.s who torture, taunt, and kill them have names like "Sick-Head" (Pancho Moler), "Death-Head" (Torsten Voges), and "Psycho-Head" (Lew Temple). The absolute worst of the bunch is a monster named "Doom-Head" (Richard Brake), who revels in his job.
Rob Zombies' crowd-funded movie was a return to the sort of blood-soaked depravity with which he made his name, after too much disappointment was expressed over "The Lords of Salem", his attempt to step outside his usual wheelhouse. Once again, he shows that his way with dialogue tends to be hit-and-miss; sometimes he comes up with something quotable, but most of the time it's just insipid. The opening scenes that establish our protagonists are rough going, and don't exactly endear the characters to this viewer. Therefore, it's hard to care much about what happens to most of them. Zombies' inane script, which lacks imagination and wit, makes a waste of some good atmosphere, production design, and cinematography.
All of that said, the casts in his films are usually pretty eclectic. Tracey Walter, Daniel Roebuck, and Elizabeth Daily also put in appearances. The standouts include old pro Foster, who gets to be pretty badass, and character actor Brake, who's definitely relishing this moment in the spotlight. His is a villain who obviously enjoys what he does.
One more good thing about Zombies' efforts are the soundtracks, and this one is no exception. The music that plays over the closing credits is especially groovy.
Fans of hardcore horror and Zombies' loyal fan base are certain to be amused, but this will likely be a struggle to get through for most folks. Brake and Foster raised the rating a bit for this viewer.
Six out of 10.
Horror / Thriller
Horror / Thriller
The day before Halloween, five carnival employees are kidnapped & held hostage in an isolated compound known as "Murderworld". On Halloween, they are thrown into a sadistic game called "31" where they must survive 12 hours against a gang of maniacs dressed like clowns. It's time to play 31.
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December 20, 2016 at 10:43 PM