The Devil's Rejects

The Devil's Rejects Information

The Devil's Rejects is a 2005 German-American horror film written and directed by Rob Zombie, and the sequel to his 2003 film House of 1000 Corpses. The film is centered on the run of three members of the psychopathic antagonist family from the previous film, now seen as antiheroic protagonists, with Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, and Zombie's wife Sheri Moon Zombie reprising their roles. At the time of its release and in the years since, the film has garnered a cult following. The film has many freeze-cam scenes over the characters.

This is the final film of Matthew McGrory before his death the same year; the film is dedicated to his "loving memory".


On May 18, 1978, Texas Sheriff John Quincey Wydell, and a large posse of State Troopers issue an S and D mission on the Firefly family for over seventy-five homicides and disappearances over the past several years. The next morning, Tiny notices the police arrive, and warns the rest of the family, who arm themselves and fire on the officers. Rufus is killed, and Mother Firefly (Leslie Easterbrook) is taken into custody, while Otis and Baby escape. They hijack a car, kill the driver, and escape to Kahiki Palms, a run-down motel.

While at the motel, Baby seduces Roy, part of the Banjo and Sullivan singing group. Otis and Baby then take the band hostage in their room, and Otis shoots the roadie when he returns. Meanwhile, Baby's father Captain Spaulding, decides to rendezvous with Baby and Otis. On route, his car runs out of gas and he assaults a woman before stealing her car. Back at the motel, Otis sexually assaults Roy's wife Gloria and demands Adam and Roy to come with him on an errand.

Otis drives his two prisoners to a place where he buried weapons. While walking to the location, the two prisoners attack Otis, but he bludgeons Roy and cuts Adam's face off. Back at the motel, Adam's wife Wendy tries to escape by going to the bathroom. Gloria attempts to rebel, and Baby kills her. Wendy runs out of the motel, but is caught by Captain Spaulding, who knocks her unconscious. Otis returns, and all three leave the motel together in the band's van.

The motel maid comes to clean the room, and discovers the murder scene. The maid is scared by the last member of the band, who is accidentally killed when she runs out to the highway to seek escape. "The Devil's Rejects" is written on the wall in blood. Wydell calls a pair of amoral bounty hunters - the "Unholy Two", Rondo and Billy Ray - to help him find the Fireflys. While investigating, they discover an associate, Spaulding's friend Charlie Altamont. Wydell calls a movie critic to learn about the Firefly family's names, and discovers them all to be characters from Groucho Marx's movies. He begins to lose sanity when Mother Firefly reveals that she murdered his brother. After having a dream in which his brother asks him for revenge, Wydell stabs Mother Firefly to death. The surviving Fireflys gather at a brothel owned by Charlie, where he offers them shelter from the police.

After leaving the brothel, Charlie is threatened by Wydell to give up the Fireflys. With the help of the "Unholy Two", the sheriff takes the family back to the Firefly house where he tortures them, using similar methods to their own. He nails Otis' hands to his chair and staples crime scene photographs to Otis's and Baby's stomach, then beats and shocks Captain Spaulding and Otis with a cattle bell and prod and taunts Baby about the death of her mother.

Wydell sets the house on fire and leaves Otis and Spaulding to burn, but lets Baby loose outside. Charlie returns to save the Firefly family, but is killed by Wydell. Baby gets shot in the ankle and brutally horse-whipped by Wydell. Tiny then arrives and intervenes, saving the Firefly family and killing Wydell. Otis, Baby, and Spaulding escape in Charlie's Cadillac, leaving Tiny behind. The trio drive, badly injured but alive, toward a police barricade. Otis wakes the sleeping Baby and Spaulding, who then arm themselves. Refusing to surrender, they charge the barricade and are shot by the police.


Main article: List of Rob Zombie characters
  • Sid Haig as James "Captain Spaulding" Cutter
  • Bill Moseley as Otis B. Driftwood
  • Sheri Moon Zombie as Vera-Ellen "Baby" Firefly
  • William Forsythe as Sheriff John Quincey Wydell
  • Ken Foree as Charlie Altamont
  • Matthew McGrory as Tiny Firefly
  • Leslie Easterbrook as Gloria "Mother" Firefly
  • Dave Sheridan as Officer Ray Dobson
  • E.G. Daily as Candy
  • Geoffrey Lewis as Roy Sullivan
  • Priscilla Barnes as Gloria Sullivan
  • Kate Norby as Wendy Banjo
  • Lew Temple as Adam Banjo
  • Danny Trejo as Rondo
  • Diamond Dallas Page as Billy Ray Snapper
  • Brian Posehn as Jimmy
  • Tom Towles as George Wydell
  • Michael Berryman as Clevon
  • P. J. Soles as Susan
  • Deborah Van Valkenburgh as Casey
  • Ginger Lynn Allen as Fanny
  • Jossara Jinaro as Maria
  • Chris Ellis as Coggs
  • Mary Woronov as Abbie
  • Daniel Roebuck as Morris Green
  • Duane Whitaker as Dr. Bankhead
  • Tyler Mane as Rufus "RJ" Firefly Jr


When Rob Zombie wrote House of 1000 Corpses, he had a "vague idea for a story" about the brother of the sheriff that the Firefly clan killed coming back for revenge. After Lions Gate Entertainment made back all of their money on the first day of Corpses theatrical release, they wanted Zombie to make another film and he started to seriously think about a new story. With Rejects, Zombie has said that he wanted to make it "more horrific" and the characters less cartoonish than in Corpses, and that he wanted "to make something that was almost like a violent western. Sort of like a road movie." The film was set in the mid-late 1970s. He has also cited films like The Wild Bunch, Bonnie and Clyde and Badlands as influences on Rejects. When he approached William Forsythe about doing the film, he told the actor that the inspiration for how to portray his character came from actors like Lee Marvin and Robert Shaw. Sheri Moon Zombie does not see the film as a sequel: "It's more like some of the characters from House of 1000 Corpses came on over, and now they're the Devil's Rejects."

Zombie hired Phil Parmet, who had shot the documentary Harlan County USA because he wanted to adopt a hand-held camera/documentary look. Principal photography was emotionally draining for some of the actors. Sheri Moon Zombie remembers a scene she had to do with Forsythe that required her to cry. The scene took two to three hours to film and affected her so much that she did not come into work for two days afterward.

Rejects went through the MPAA eight times earning an NC-17 rating every time until the last one. According to Zombie, the censors had a problem with the overall tone of the film. Specifically, censors did not like the motel scene between Bill Moseley and Priscilla Barnes, forcing Zombie to cut two minutes of it for the theatrical release. However, this footage was restored in the DVD version.


See The Devil's Rejects (soundtrack) for more information Rob Zombie himself is a musician, he decided to go with more southern rock to create the mood of the film. The soundtrack itself was notable as being one of the first to be released on DualDisc, with the DVD side featuring a making-of featurette for the film and a photo gallery.


Box office

The Devil's Rejects was released on July 22, 2005 in 1,757 theaters and grossed USD$7.1 million on its opening weekend, recouping its roughly $7 million budget. It grossed $17 million in North America and $2.3 million internationally for a total of $19.4 million.

Critical reception

The film had mixed reviews with a 53% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus "Zombie has improved as a filmmaker since 'House of 1000 Corpses' and will please fans of the genre, but beware -- the horror is nasty, relentless, and sadistic."; and a 53 metascore on Metacritic. Prominent critic Roger Ebert enjoyed the film and gave it three out of a possible four stars. He wrote, "There is actually some good writing and acting going on here, if you can step back from the [violent] material enough to see it". Later, in his review for The Hills Have Eyes, Ebert referenced The Devil's Rejects, writing, "I received some appalled feedback when I praised Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects, but I admired two things about it [that were absent from The Hills Have Eyes]: (1) It desired to entertain and not merely to sicken, and (2) its depraved killers were individuals with personalities, histories and motives". In his review for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers gave The Devil's Rejects three out of four stars and wrote, "Let's hear it for the Southern-fried soundtrack, from Buck Owens' "Satan's Got to Get Along Without Me" to Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird," playing over the blood-soaked finale, which manages to wed The Wild Bunch to Thelma and Louise".

In her review for the New York Times, Dana Stevens wrote that the film "is a trompe l'oeil experiment in deliberately retro film-making. It looks sensational, but there is a curious emptiness at its core". Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "C+" rating and wrote, "Zombie's characters are, to put it mildly, undeveloped". Robert K. Elder, of the Chicago Tribune, disliked the film, writing "[D]espite decades of soaking in bloody classics such as the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and I Spit On Your Grave, Zombie didn't absorb any of the underlying social tension or heart in those films. He's no collage artist of influences, like Quentin Tarantino, crafting his movie from childhood influences. Rejects plays more like a junkyard of homages, strewn together and lost among inept cops, gaping plot holes and buzzard-ready dialog".

Horror author Stephen King voted The Devil's Rejects the 9th best film of 2005 and wrote, "No redeeming social merit, perfect '70s C-grade picture cheesy glow; this must be what Quentin Tarantino meant when he did those silly Kill Bill pictures".


Award Category Nominee Result
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Wide-Release Film
Killer Movie (Scariest Film) Rob Zombie
Best Screenplay
Best Actor Sid Haig
Best Supporting Actor William Forsythe
Best Supporting Actress Leslie Easterbrook
Best Score Tyler Bates
Best Villain Sid Haig
Relationship from Hell Bill Moseley and Sheri Moon Zombie
Line That Killed (Best One-Liner) Bill Moseley
Satellite Awards Outstanding Classic DVD Unrated Widescreen Edition
Scream Awards The Ultimate Scream
Best Horror Movie
Most Vile Vilain Leslie Easterbrook, Sid Haig, Bill Moseley
and Sheri Moon Zombie as the Firefly family

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