Shock Interview: Rob Zombie on the World of 31 & Crowd Funding


Rob Zombie

The last day of Rob Zombie’s crowd funding campaign for 31 is closing in. Appropriately, it ends on Halloween day. With only eight days left (at the time of this writing), Zombie is making the press rounds to give the campaign one final push. (I’ll let the FanBacked page do the talking in terms of the incentives fans get for contributing to the film.) And when Shock was approached and asked to speak with the writer-director about 31 I wanted to get a bit more information about the film itself which seems to promise total mayhem on a level we haven’t seen in Zombie’s previous works like House of 1,000 CorpsesThe Devil’s Rejects and The Lords of Salem.

Over the last few weeks, Zombie has been offering glimpses at the violent world of 31 via conceptual art. The dynamic sketches by Alex Horley have introduced us to the many characters that populate the movie which concerns five people who are kidnapped on the five days leading up to Halloween. They’re subsequently held hostage in “Murder World,” a man-made Hell they must fight their way out of Most Dangerous Game-style.

Below, Zombie offers an update on on the campaign, sheds some more light on the characters we can expect to see in 31, offers a status report on the production and presents some other fun tidbits.

Death Head 31Ryan Turek: Has the crowd funding experience exceeding expectations, met expectations or have you been pretty cynical about the whole thing? 

Rob Zombie: I’m pretty cynical about everything, I guess. [laughs] It’s pretty much doing exactly what I thought it would. There were some other campaigns that were huge and, like, I’m not going to be on The Today Show talking about this like Spike Lee was. I had a certain expectation of how we would do and it’s doing pretty much what we thought. It’s all good. My biggest thing was trying to keep it from being…I don’t know, crowd funding is a weird thing to me so I wanted to keep it fan-friendly rather than gratuitous or disgusting.

Turek: I hear you. It’s interesting to see the evolution of crowd funding, especially with big names like Spike Lee and yourself jumping into the mix.

Zombie: Yeah, I don’t know if it’s going to last though. In a couple years, maybe no one will ever do it again. I usually get to make a movie every two years and every time I start a new film, the rules of the game have changed, so we’ll see what happens in two years.

Turek: I’ve read in a few interviews that you’re aiming to shoot in 2015. How far along are you in pre-production. We’ve seen some pretty great art already…

Zombie: I think this is all going to go according to plan. We’ll start shooting in the middle of February. What happens is the holidays hit so I had to bump the shooting until after Christmas. We’re in early pre-production with a small group, but we’ll go full pre-production after New Year’s.

Turek: We’re seeing a lot of the film’s killers via the production sketches, but can you shed some light on the protagonists at all? Or is this another film where we root for the villains?

Zombie: I don’t think you’ll root for the bad guys in this one, the bad guys are pretty bad and despicable. But the good guys are not nice either. [laughs] They’re not that bad. I just have this aversion to squeaky clean characters for some reason. I don’t know why. It’s the world I live in. [laughs] The “good people” are a little off but the bad people are really off. You’re definitely not rooting for the villain or maybe you are. The other day I was talking to someone and they were like “I saw that scene in Halloween II when Brad Dourif finds his daughter and I started crying” and I was like really? Because when we showed the movie to a preview audience, they all started laughing. I don’t know what the hell anyone thinks is funny or not these days. [laughs] So who you’ll root for? I don’t fucking know. It’s funny because one of the main reasons Universal dumped House of 1,000 Corpses was when Otis killed the cop. The audience cheered and [Universal] was like, this is wrong and I thought, oh my God, I’m doomed.

Turek: House of 1,000 Corpses has been spinning a lot of IFC this season and it’s funny to see Chris Hardwicke in there now…

Zombie: I know, he’s so different. I haven’t watched that film from start to finish since we actually finished it. I’ll catch pieces of it. It is what it is. I don’t know what I think of it, truthfully.

31 - rob zombieTurek: 31 is a contained film, you’ve said. Just how contained is it? Where does it take place?

Zombie: Right now, unless something changes, it’s contained within one giant structure. Every time I make a movie I always think if I had contained [the story] more it would be better until I get ambitious. Even with The Devil’s Rejects, if more of the movie was set in that hotel room, would it be more intense? Or more without an apartment building? I like claustrophobic, self-contained movies. I never make them but I like them, so with this one I want to try it out.

Turek: Have you quietly been talking to your usual team like Wayne Toth or any other major crew from your previous films? Who can we expect to see back?

Zombie: Wayne’s always on board, we’ve been talking. Everybody else, I don’t know. I’d love to get everybody back. But it’s hard because they’re all over the place. Who knows where they’ll be? I’d like to get my main people back, but I don’t know if I’ll get any of my old team back, actually.

Turek: What was the whole impetus behind doing this whole thing on a crowd funding level anyway? I mean, did you and Andy Gould try a traditional route to getting the project off of the ground?

Zombie: I think he had been approached. He had taken some meetings because, well, that’s what managers do. He had had conversations, I think, with some of the crowd funding companies. When this came up, I think he was approached. I don’t remember how it went down.

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