6/17/08

Hey, was Rob Zombie cribbing from John Waters?

NOTE: I originally posted this on my other blog on 08/04/07: but I thought it would fit in nice on this blog...
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The other night I re-watched, Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects on cable television. Rejects is the tale of a majorly dysfunctional family on the run from the law who cut a swath of mayhem along their way. The three main players are Otis (the psychotic hillbilly half son), Baby (the psychotic blond nymphomaniac half sister of Otis) and Captain Spaulding( the psychotic father figure to Baby and Otis, who wears a clown face for most of the film).

As I was watching this movie, it suddenly dawned on me where I'd seen three similar characters, in a similarly disturbing film; John Water's Pink Flamingos (which tells the tale of a majorly dysfunctional family who cut a swath of mayhem along the way). The three main players are Crackers (the chicken loving, psychotic hillbilly), Cotton (the psychotic blond nymphomaniac) and Babs Johnson (the psychotic mother figure to Crackers and Cotton, who wears clown-like make up for all of the film).



Divine as Babs Johnson - Sid Haig as Captain Spaulding: crazed parental figures with a penchant for blue eye-shadow, murder, and scenery chewing.




Danny Mills as Crackers - Bill Moseley as Otis: two wacko hillbillies with a thing for murder, mutilation and chicken.



Mary Vivian Pearce as Cotton - Sheri Moon as Baby: a couple of blond bimbos with odd sexual urges, a love of gun play and grating speaking voices.




The more I watched The Devil's Rejects, the more I kept thinking of Pink Flamingos. Both movies are presented in the most grotesque fashion and seemingly celebrate the fucked-up-protagonists as heroes. Both films make light of murder and celebrate heinous activities. Both movies have allusions to the Manson murders... and, most importantly, both are oddly compelling stories about family bonds (no matter how sleazy those bonds might be).

Of course, I doubt that Rob Zombie would ever admit that he borrowed from Waters; his film is much more bloody and plays like a 70's drive-in exploitation work, while Pink Flamingos is a low budget black comedy that was probably made for one reason only, to cause outrage! Still though, the similarities are there. I wonder if I'm the only one who has noticed this?




8 comments:

The Divine Ms. Jimmi said...

Unfortunately, without the original wit or camp.

ARBOGAST said...

And after you've finished watching The Devil's Rejects you feel like you've eaten shit.

Mrcanacorn said...

Wow...that's one hell of an observation! It's true, one is certainly head and shoulders above the other...but that's just too funny...

Tenebrous Kate said...

Good stuff, Mr. Romano! The Divine/Sid Haig photo comparison has me in stitches. Well-played.

Pax Romano said...

Thank you all for the kind comments!

Glad to hear from everyone.

Absinthe said...

I never made the connection before - but it is there - Zombie disappointed me with Devil's Rejects. He could have done so much better on that film but of course the legendary John Waters is always an amazing king of smut and shock - he never disappoints, I even enjoyed the one that had no dialogue in it in a perverse sense.

Kitty LeClaw said...

Wow. This is fantastic, my astute friend. Your blog is excellent, and I heartily enjoy reading your notes - such a fresh perspective!

BJ-C said...

oh. my. god.
how have i not picked up on this?!