Here are a couple of things that must have gone through Rob Zombie's mind whilst shooting 31: "Who needs a plot when you got a psychopathic Nazi-midget?", "Who gives a damn about plausibility when you have Malcolm McDowell himself dressed up like a French Aristocrat and depicting a character that is named Father Murder?" and "Why would I make ambitious when the crowd simply wants sadistic & graphic violence?" And you know what? If Rob Zombie really was thinking these things, he was damn right! Personally, I'm an enormous fan of Zombie's "House of 1,000 Corpses" and "The Devil's Rejects" and I remotely enjoyed his remake of "Halloween", even though the critics were quite harsh about it. But then he suddenly went psychedelic and experimental with "Halloween II" and "The Lords of Salem" and many fans ? yours truly included ? were disappointed. I, for one, was extremely happy to read that, with "31", Rob Zombie would return to the basics of crude and repulsive horror/shlock cinema! Because, after all, the revival of 70s grindhouse/drive-in exploitation cinema was largely the deed of Rob Zombie and not of Quentin Tarantino! So, "31" actually doesn't a have a real plot but is a mixture of homages to genre classics (for example "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre") and borrowed ideas of cult classics ("The Most Dangerous Game", "The Running Man"?) A ramshackle old RV full of traveling circus artists/carnies is driving through the middle of redneck nowhere on Halloween's day 1976, and pretty much all they ever do is foul-mouthing and fornicating. When night falls, however, they notice the road is blocked with immense scarecrows. Before they properly realize what's going on, the RV and all its passengers are brutally attacked by mysterious creeps and three people are killed instantly. The remaining five survivors, two women and three men, awake tied up and chained in an abandoned factory where three elderly lunatics dressed up as French Aristocrats joyfully inform them that they are the players in this year's traditional game of 31. They are released in a dark and creepy labyrinth and have to survive for twelve hours while being chased by some of the most demented sickos ever caught on film, including a Spanish babbling Nazi-midget, clown siblings with chainsaws and deranged German sex deviants. The group defend themselves quite well, though, and thus the crazy tormentors bring in their ultimate secret weapon, the unbeatable master-psycho Doom-Head! There isn't really too much to write about Rob Zombie's latest film, in fact. Either you're a fan of extreme and relentless violence and "31" is a must-see for you, or you'll completely detest the film for its lack of plot, character background, style or overall lack of taste. If even writer/director Zombie himself repeatedly stated that this is his most brutal movie to date, there isn't any reason to not believe him. "31" features numerous scenes in which people's heads are smashed in with a bludgeon, torsos are cut in half by chainsaws and throats are slit with rusty knives. Still, I can't help mentioning that most of this gruesome stuff also featured in "House of 1,000 Corpses" and "The Devil's Rejects", but those two were suspenseful and haunting on top! "31" is sheer mindless horror entertainment but it won't leave a long-lasting impression. As usual, Rob Zombie surrounds himself with a cast that he worked well with before, including his own wife Sheri Moon, Meg Foster, Jeff Daniel Philips and many other familiar faces. The soundtrack is terrific as well, which is another Rob Zombie trademark, and features for example the beautiful song "California Dreaming" during a rare quiet and peaceful scene.
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 11:00 pm