Shudder: five films to be thankful for this Thanksgiving

Photo: Haunt/ Brian Douglas.. Image Courtesy Shudder
Photo: Haunt/ Brian Douglas.. Image Courtesy Shudder /
3 of 6

4. The Devil’s Rejects

Nothing goes better with a turkey dinner than a sweet, heart-warming family film. Well, that’s not really this story, though the Firefly family members are tight.

And it’s true to say they would kill for each other; or for any reason at all, really. Several months after the events that took place in House of 1000 Corpses, the Firefly family members are just minding their own business in their home, when Sheriff Wydell and a passel of state troopers mount an attack. In the midst of the gun battle, one family member is killed, and Mama Firefly (Leslie Easterbrook) is apprehended, but Otis (Bill Moseley) and Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) escape.

They arrange to meet up with everyone’s favorite homicidal clown, Captain Spaulding (the incomparable Sid Haig), and soon a happy family reunion occurs at a cheap motel. Of course, there are innocent victims to be tortured along the way, and the Firefly family has to hit the road again.

Next stop: a brothel run by Spaulding’s old pal Charlie (Ken Foree). It seems like a pretty good place to hide out until Wydell shows up to threaten Charlie, and then the action kicks up into high gear.

Now, I am not personally a fan of Rob Zombie’s films. I enjoy horror, and gore doesn’t bother me, but I have trouble with scenes involving innocent people being graphically tortured. And I don’t find the Firefly family to be at all sympathetic, so I can’t root for them. That said, Haig and Moseley are fantastic in their roles, and I absolutely loved all of the secondary characters. Foree, E.G. Daily, Priscilla Barnes, Geoffrey Lewis and Lew Temple in particular were enjoyable to watch, and I did find them to be worth rooting for.

If you are looking for a brutal, bloody film that doesn’t take any personal investment on your part, The Devil’s Rejects will be just what you need before dealing with your own family at the dinner table.