31 Days of Horror! – Day 3

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Here we are at Day 3. I have another new movie to talk about. BRAND new, this one. I have to say I was very excited for it. And I uh… Well… I liked more than I didn’t like. But, you know, just right off the bat, it’s not as good as I wanted it to be.

So here we go!
31 (2016)
Directed by: Rob Zombie
Written by: Rob Zombie

The first thing I want to say is that Rob Zombie is divisive. Well, maybe that’s an understatement. Rob Zombie is an odd case, because I really like some of his movies (The Devil’s Rejects, Lords of Salem), and I don’t really like others (Halloween), and I’m pretty solidly meh on the rest (Which I guess is pretty much exclusively this and House of 1,000 Corpses, since I haven’t seen his Superbeasto or Halloween II yet, but stay tuned…).

That being said, I actually really like The Devils Rejects and Lords of Salem is solid as well. I think The Devil’s Rejects succeeds because Rob Zombie managed an OK storyline and pretty much let the actors go nuts. The Lords of Salem is good because Zombie used his penchant for quality imagery to tell a somewhat basic story but make it look psychedelic horror. The thing is, though, that they’re both really fun to watch. House of 1,000 Corpses is also fun to watch, but it’s less visually interesting. So that brings us to 31.

31 is about a traveling group of Carnies who get kidnapped by weird guys and Malcolm McDowell dressed as Louis XVI and two old British ladies dressed as Marie Antoinette. They put them in a warehouse and tell them they have 12 hours to survive against the psycho killers they have amassed, who include Sick-Head (a little person dressed as Hitler), Schizo-Head and Psycho-Head (two chainsaw clowns), Death-Head and Sex-Head (a huge German man and a short redneck woman, respectively), and Doom-Head (played by Richard Brake, absolutely the best part of the movie). It opens with a great scene of Doom-Head talking to what appears to be some type of preacher about how he’s going to murder him and such. It’s such a great scene, it kind of makes you think Rob Zombie used up all of his writing skills for that scene and just kind of farted out the rest of the movie.

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Now, the plot is not bad. However, it’s not good because it’s literally The Running Man. The movie anyway, I haven’t read the book. But seriously, go re-read my plot summary and then think about The Running Man. The Schwarzenegger one. If you haven’t seen that, Google the plot. It’s fine I’ll wait.

RIGHT?! IT’S THE SAME.

Also the acting is just bad. Sheri Moon Zombie can act OK when she’s given solid material (Devils Rejects, Salem) but oh boy when she’s given even a subpar script she is just not great. Now, Meg Foster is good, she plays one of the Carnies. Malcolm McDowell doesn’t do much, but I will never have a problem with Malcolm McDowell. Richard Brake, however, steals the show. I mean he plays the intelligent psychopath phenomenally. He rises above his sometimes bad lines and just owns his character so much. He’s genuinely kind of scary, and his character is solid.

Another problem with the characters is that I only liked the bad guys. I had no sympathy for the heroes because they were either dicks, annoying, or boring. The only one I liked was Meg Foster’s character, and she didn’t really do much either. You’re pretty much only rooting for the villains in this movie, because they are at least VISUALLY compelling.

So I guess this movie was overall disappointing, but it was still fun to watch. It had Zombie’s usual fun imagery (satan stuff, clown stuff, lots of blood and gore, chainsaws), it was ultraviolent, and it was well-paced. And Doom-Head was great. If you like Zombie’s other stuff, or you’re just a fan of fun, messed-up imagery and hyperviolence, it’s worth a look. Otherwise, skip it.

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