LOS ANGELES — Rob Zombie is midway through shooting his "House of a 1000 Corpses" sequel, "The Devil's Rejects," and he's still adding to his motley crew of actors.
Ginger Lynn, a legend in adult films, is the latest to join a cast featuring Natasha Lyonne ("American Pie"), Danny Trejo ("Spy Kids"), Tyler Mane ("Troy") and William Forsythe ("The Rock"), among others.
"It's funny because our budget is moderate to say the least, but our casting has gotten out of control," Zombie said. "It's great. We have a fortune in casting ... and a lot of people that we pulled from the past."
By the past, Zombie means icons from classic horror films, such as P.J. Soles ("Halloween," "Carrie"), Ken Foree ("Dawn of the Dead), Steve Railsback ("Helter Skelter") and Mary Woronov ("Death Race 2000").
The cast should be seen as a sign of where Zombie is heading with the sequel. "Everything from the script to the way it's cast, it's very different than the first film," Zombie said. "It's much more real, much more gritty. The first film was very ... I mean it's bloody and it's nasty, but there's sort of a surreal element to the first one. I hate the word 'campy,' because that's not what is, but there's almost like a bloody 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' [quality] to the first one, and this one is a very bleak, stark, very real film.
"The thing I hate about sequels is they just sort of do the same thing again and that's always a drag," he continued. "So this one is very different. It's the same characters continuing on in the story, but with a very different feel."
"The Devil's Rejects," a title taken from the media's nickname for the Firefly family that dwells in the "House of 1000 Corpses," picks up seven months later with the focus on Sheriff John Wydell (Forsythe), whose brother, Lieutenant George Wydell, was killed by the Fireflys.
"He's avenging his death, so it's sort of like the tables are turned in this one," Zombie explained. "All the bad people are more on the defensive. That was always the trick in this one because all my leads are evil so somehow now you have to feel sympathy for all the horrible, disgusting characters.
"There won't be a dry eye in the house, trust me," he joked.
That's not to say Mother, Baby and the others have been toned down. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
"If you look at any series of horror-movie sequels, say 'A Nightmare on Elm Street,' Freddy Krueger is this terrifying character in the first, but as time goes on he becomes this fun-loving character that little kids want to dress up as for Halloween," Zombie said. "Same with Michael Myers [from 'Halloween']. And I didn't want that to happen, so I took the humor away so the characters kind of go in the exact opposite direction. They become meaner and more horrible, rather than familiar and fun-loving."
Zombie, who has scratched recording plans (see "Rob Zombie's 'Corpses' Sequel To Be Followed By Solo Album") to focus on "The Devil's Rejects," said the tone of his first movie got away from him, but in the process he learned how to keep it darker for the second.
However, while the sequel has been another learning experience, the director's third project will not be another "Corpses" movie.
"When I wrote the first movie I had the second one in mind because I thought, 'OK, if it's successful, they'll want a sequel,' so at least I would like to see that through," Zombie said. "But no, two is enough. Two seems to work, three never works."
Zombie's not sure where his film career will take him next, but the avid comic collector has no interest in adapting a comic for the big screen.
"I'm already sick of comic-book movies, truthfully," he said. "They've remade everything."
For a full-length feature about the rebirth of horror flicks, check out "It's Alive! Horror Is Reborn (Again)."
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