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Rob Zombie Q&A: The ’31’ Director on America’s Clown Obsession, ‘Stranger Things,’ and John Carpenter’s Friendship

The director and heavy metal badass also reveals how crowdfunding helped him to make his seventh feature, his favorite scary movies of 2016 and his surprising Halloween plans.

Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie

Manuel Nauta/REX/Shutterstock

After you finish up [touring] in Europe and the dust has settled on the “31” screenings, what projects are you excited to work on next?

Well, I don’t know what’s next. The project that’s been percolating for a long time is the Groucho Marx project. And that script is finished. I didn’t write it, but the script is finished. I just got it last week, you know, I’m gonna start going out to actors and people, so that should be the next movie. Something else could pop up before then, but as of right now that is what’s gearing up to be the next movie.

That will be an interesting change of pace.

Yeah, totally different. Totally different type of movie. It’s a very small sort of drama that just takes place inside Groucho’s house in the last few years of his life. It’s a totally different thing.

Read More: Rob Zombie Directing Oren Moverman-Scripted Groucho Marx Biopic

So in preparation for our chat and the season in general, I revisited your “Halloween” films. Can you believe that it’s been 10 years since the first one?

That’s crazy.

John Carpenter

John Carpenter

Hell Gate Media/REX/Shutterstock

They’re still a really bold vision. As a horror nerd, I was a surprised to read about the recent friction with John Carpenter, but pleased when he tweeted out that everything has been smoothed out. Could you tell me a bit more about what happened from your vantage point?

I mean, it ended so quickly. Basically, I saw something online, that he was obviously upset about something I said. But I wasn’t sure what it was, because I love John, I’ve got nothing bad to say about him, I was like, “Oh my God, what could I have possibly said? How did it get misconstrued? What was it?” I didn’t know. So I immediately called him up, we talked for literally one minute, and by the end of it, it was all good. It was just some misunderstanding and I said, “No, no, no, that’s not it at all John, I don’t know how it came across that way, but this is how I feel about that,” and whatever, and he was like, “Okay, great, no problem, Rob, let’s just put it behind us,” and it was over in one second.

That’s good to hear. It kind of stopped my heart when I saw it.

Yeah, me too. It freaked me out because I’ve known John now for almost 20 years. I first met him when I went down to visit the set of “Escape From L.A.” and he’s always been super nice and I’ve always loved his work and loved him, and that’s why I said, “Oh my God, what happened?” So, that’s why I wanted to settle it as quick as possible, because I don’t want that to be the case at all.

We’re always talking about horror in the office, and the consensus is that it’s been such a solid year for a really diverse slate of creative indie films in the genre: “The Witch,” “Neon Demon,” “The Invitation,” and of course “31” were all bold visions that grabbed audiences, just to name a few. What are some of the movies that really spoke to you this year?

I really enjoyed “The Witch,” I thought that was really good. I like movies like that, that was cool. “Neon Demon” was cool, I always like that guy’s movies. I didn’t see “The Invitation.” I’ve been watching “Stranger Things,” you know, that’s pretty cool. Feels like, you know, such a throwback, the kids seem like, right out of “E.T.” or “The Goonies” or something, it’s great.

“Stranger Things” captivated horror fans this summer — everyone really, even my mom. Is there any current horror television that really speaks to you?

I talk about TV, doing TV, we’re sort of maybe gonna do something someday. I just … I like movies. I get bored with TV, even when it’s great, I’ll just lose interest. I like a story that starts and ends, and that’s what it is. And even when it’s a show I’m watching and that I’m loving, once it gets to the fourth, fifth season, I’m like, eh, I don’t care anymore. I don’t need to watch a hundred hours of this. [Laughs] I just move away from it after a while. I can’t think of any other horror shows that are on that I’m watching. I don’t usually watch horror shows.

I would be remiss to not ask how you’re going to spend your Halloween this year.

I don’t know, I’m just bouncing around. Heading to Europe to do some dates, going to Spain for the premiere of “31” and then bouncing back to California for the premiere of “31” and, so, who knows. Sometimes on Halloween, we’ll just sit and watch an old movie and just be perfect. [Laughs] Don’t need a big song and dance, my whole life is a song and dance.

“31” is now available on VOD, and will return to select theaters on October 20. Click here for tickets.

[Note: This interview has been edited and condensed.]


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