Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Dark Suites Feature Artist: Rob Zombie- Music For Horror Lovers
Written by Nickolas Cook
Rob Zombie makes us horror geeks proud. He turned his love for the genre into a new style of hard rocking metal horror music, went on to become a highly respected genre director, and has even managed to make horror cool again.
Born January 12th, 1965, Robert Bartleh Cummings, like many of us aging horror geeks, he was raised on a steady diet of trashy Euro horror in the theaters and the resurgence of 50s and 60s sci-fi/horror movies of his parents’ day. Alongside the musical scares of bands like KISS and Alice Copper, he coupled that with his love for the cheap, DYI horror aesthetic, and brought those loves into his first outings in the music world. Named for Bela Lugosi’s famous 1932 movie, “White Zombie”, he and fellow band mates, Jay Noel Yuenger, Sean Yseult, John Tempesta, Ivan de Prume, Tom Guay and Ena Kostabi, they used that love for horror to create a music that was part Alice Cooper and part Black Sabbath, but with a grinding groove pace that metal had not heard before.
Their success in the late 90s made room for other like sounding musicians existing on the fringe of industrial and darkwave music movements.
Production values continued to grow in the studio, but eventually Zombie took complete control of the boards and the music, and became almost the solo player on the last of the ‘White Zombie’ albums, ‘Astro Creep: 2000’, their biggest success to date.
Zombie struck out on his own, following a brief hiatus from 1996 to 1997, and hit it even bigger with his first solo release, ‘Hellbilly Deluxe’. This album exemplified all that Zombie loved about metal and horror, blending the two with apt soundtrack snatches from obscure low budget horror films, while lyrically playing the devil for the world to see and fear.
Zombie had learned valuable lessons fellow musicians KISS, Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson: there’s no such thing as bad promotion. In the late 90s, he became the subject of several Christian Right Wing nut groups that wanted to stop his shows across the country. All they did was make his show the MUST see show of the year.
But music wasn’t enough. Zombie wanted to direct horror film.
And in 2003, he finally saw the release of his long delayed ‘House of 1000 Corpses’. The film’s surreal and gory quality made it an instant cut favorite. Zombie had managed to convey the funhouse atmosphere of his music and art, while still staying true to horror’s antiestablishment subtext.
More films followed, such as the sequel to H1KC, 2005’s ‘The Devil’s Rejects’. And it was with this film that Zombie proved he had the emotional sophistication to make not only a good horror film, but a memorable film.
Later that year he was asked to helm the proposed ‘Halloween’ remake, much to many fans’ dismay.
Love it or hate it, Zombie did manage to turn out a decent remake, albeit one that diverged quite a bit from the original classic movie.
Since then, Zombie has tackled more film projects, making the next movie better than the last, in terms of story and style.
But he hasn’t forgotten the music fans.
His albums have continued the tradition of funhouse horror metal music. ‘The Sinister Urge’, a best of from his White Zombie and solo albums, ‘Educated Horses’. And now with the imminent release and touring schedule for the long awaited sequel to his original solo hit album, ‘Hellbilly Deluxe 2’ Zombie fans can rejoice.
With all of the projects Zombie has on the burners these days, one has to wonder what’s next?
Here’s to hoping Zombie can once again make horror a genre that speaks loudest to the human condition.
2003: House Of 1000 Corpses
2005: The Devil's Rejects
2009: Halloween II
2009: The Haunted World of El Superbeasto
2010: Tyrannosaurus Rex (pre-production status)
2011: The Blob (pre-production status)
2013: El Superbeasto sequel (The Man with Golden Thunderballs) (pre-production status)
Discography with White Zombie
1989: Make Them Die Slowly
1992: La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1
1995: Astro Creep: 2000 - Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head
1998: Hellbilly Deluxe
2001: The Sinister Urge
2003: Past, Present & Future
2006: Educated Horses
2010: Hellbilly Deluxe 2