[BATB 3] ‘The Devil’s Rejects’ Reunite In Virginia Beach
When The Devil’s Rejects reunited in Virginia Beach earlier this year over Mothers Day weekend at the third Blood at the Beach horror convention, OBXentertainment.com had front row seats for the lively and often candid panel featuring over 10 cast members exchanging memories of the landmark movie before a packed audience of rabid fans.
Eight years ago this week, heavy metal musician turned director Rob Zombie (White Zombie) unleashed his second film into unsuspecting theaters, a grim and unflinching follow up to the Halloween-centric House of 1,000 Corpses known quite directly The Devil’s Rejects.
The film stars Zombie’s wife, Sheri Moon Zombie (The Lords of Salem) as Baby, and Sid Haig (House of 1,000 Corpses), who was at the prior Blood at the Beach convention last year in Virginia Beach, as the sometimes clown-faced patriarch of the Firefly family Captain Spaulding, and while those two were not present, almost all of the other major Devil’s players were in attendance, including horror icon Bill Moseley (Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part II), who plays Otis Firefly.
Joining Moseley on the huge Q&A panel were Lew Temple (The Walking Dead), Priscilla Barnes (Three’s Company), Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes), Dave Sheridan (Scary Movie), Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead), Tyler Mane (Halloween, X-Men), Tom Towles (House of 1,000 Corpses), P.J. Soles (Halloween, Carrie), William Forsythe (Dick Tracy), and Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th 7-10).
All 11 actors on the panel joked with each other throughout, displaying a relaxed affection for one another not unlike an actual family.
P.J. Soles playfully called Ken Foree “Tony Todd” (another former BATB guest) and joked that he was at the wrong panel.
“He (Todd) hates it and I hate it,” Foree said of the friendly ribbing. “This isn’t just for you guys either, they do this all the time.”
When Lew Temple was a few minutes late due to an overlapping Walking Dead panel just prior, Moseley joked, “He’s still trying to save face,” referencing Temple’s memorable demise in Rejects.
Michael Berryman, who recently worked again with Zombie in The Lords of Salem, said of the director, “Rob Zombie deserves to have a studio stay out of his art.”
Kane Hodder joked that “Forsythe and I are doing porn movies now,” to which Foree replied, “What a beautiful couple they are.”
Hodder then recalled his first time working with Forsythe in the Steven Segal film Out for Justice, which Forsythe called “Out for Ego,” adding, “There is a level of insanity there that few will ever comprehend, and that’s not an exaggeration or a joke.”
Moseley recalled previously working with Priscilla Barnes on a low budget thriller where the actress was bound by chains and accidentally left in a closet during a lunch break on set.
“She was literally chained, locked, and gagged,” said Moseley, “and they called lunch. So this Polish crew stampeded for the kielbasa and literally left Priscilla bound and gagged in a closet.
“So I came in there and walked in on her by accident, and we ended up going to lunch. We were at the end of the line and by the time we got to the food it was all gone. That shows you there’s no f*#!ing glamour in this.”
In response to a fan question about working with comedian Brian Posehn in Rejects, Lew Temple remembered, “Brian’s amazing, but my favorite thing about Brian is that he has that phobia that he doesn’t like to be touched, so I spent the whole time on set just touching him, putting my arms around him.
“Every time we’d walk to the set we’d walk and talk and I’d have my arm around him and he’d be like ‘I really don’t like being touched.’
“Oddly though, when I did that to Bill Forsythe, I got a black eye.”
When asked about memorable experiences on set, Forsythe later joked, “All in all it was all about luxury out there in the desert.”
“When I took Banjo and Sullivan on their final ride,” recalls Moseley, “we were shooting at an old abandoned chicken farm in Lancaster, California and I guess the people that had owned the farm literally just packed up and left one day, and they’d left the chickens behind and they died.
“Then they shriveled in the hot sun and turned into dust, so as we were rolling around we inhaled a lot of old f*#!ed up chicken guts.”
A highlight for fans of The Devil’s Rejects had to be Moseley and Barnes discussing the intimate details of what is the film’s most uncomfortable scene to watch for many viewers.
“We did an awful lot of takes,” said Moseley, “but moviemaking starts out with what’s called a master shot, which is the room. Then you take a two shot, which is just the two of us. Then you take over my shoulder looking at her, over her shoulder looking at me, so by the time we had finished covering that shot, we probably did it a good eight to ten times.”
Barnes added, “People always say, ‘Oh Rob (Zombie), you’re such a sick f*@!, but actually I wanted the gun down my underwear. I needed to go the places I needed to go.
“I have said this many times, but I could not have played that scene the way I played it had I not worked with a caliber of actor as Bill, because he let me lead that scene. He let me let him know how far he could go, so I trusted him and that’s why we went to those very, very deep places.”
Adds Moseley, “Without Priscilla going to those places, that scene probably wouldn’t have worked, but the fact that it made people uncomfortable, even hardcore horror fans, says we really went to some very heavy places.
“If we did eight or ten takes, every one of them was different, and that was pretty amazing. I always give Priscilla all the credit in the world.”
Asked how much of Zombie’s filming process allows for improvisation when the cast has as much obvious chemistry as this one, Moseley answered, “When we did House of 1,000 Corpses, it was Rob’s directorial debut, so he was a little bit tighter in terms of controlling, like stick to the script. By the time we got around to Devil’s Rejects, he was lot more comfortable and I think a lot more improve was happening.”
Adds Berryman, “The whole Chicken F*#!er thing was not scripted the way it played out. Sometimes you don’t know what’s going to be happening in the moment.
“It’s nice to have that freedom and that space, and you’re just free in the moment and you have talented people working with you, especially if you’ve been working with them for many years, there is an honesty and an acceptance. Then shit happens and you look at the take you go ‘Wow, that was really how it goes.’ It’s what we live for, but what we really live for is being here with you guys.”
“Every take with Rob is a different story,” says Forsythe. “You want to get something as close to what the script demands and then with Rob and any other director that really knows what he’s doing you let your people do their thing, and then you can be surprised with what comes up.
“I don’t think I did any take in either The Devil’s Rejects or Halloween the same way. It was always different.”
On the subject of third film together – be it a sequel or prequel – most of the cast are ready to reprise their roles.
As spokesman and leader of the group, Moseley responds, “The rights are held by Lionsgate, so I have a feeling it’s not just if Rob (Zombie) wanted to it. There’s a mountain to climb, but I’m up for it.”
[photos by Artz Music & Photography]