The Devil's Rejects

The Devil's Rejects
The Devil's Rejects

Teaser poster
Directed by Rob Zombie
Produced by Rob Zombie
Mike Elliott
Michael Ohoven
Andy Gould
Marco Mehlitz
Written by Rob Zombie
Based on Characters by
Rob Zombie
Starring Sid Haig
Bill Moseley
Sheri Moon Zombie
Ken Foree
Matthew McGrory
William Forsythe
Music by Tyler Bates
Cinematography Phil Parmet
Editing by Glenn W. Garland
Studio Cinelamda
Distributed by Liongate
Release date(s) July 22, 2005 (2005-07-22)
Running time 109 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $7 million
Box office $19,390,029

The Devil's Rejects is a 2005 American horror film written and directed by Rob Zombie, and the sequel to his 2003 film House of 1000 Corpses. The film is about the family of psychopathic killers from the previous film now on the run. At the time of its release and in the years since, the film has garnered a cult following.[1]



In 1978, Texas Sheriff John Quincey Wydell (William Forsythe), and a large posse of State Troopers issue a Search and Destroy on the Firefly family for over seventy-five homicides and disappearances over the past several years. They begin a full-scale attack when the Firefly family fires on them. During the firefight, Tiny (Matthew McGrory) goes missing, Rufus (Tyler Mane) is killed, and Mother Firefly (Leslie Easterbrook) is taken into custody while Otis (Bill Moseley) and Baby (Sheri Moon) escape. Once out of their property, Baby pretends to be hurt in the middle of the road. When a nurse in travel stops to see what is the matter, Otis comes from behind and kills her with a knife. The two escape in her car and drive towards their specified meeting spot if all hell broke loose with the law at their home.

They head to Kahiki Palms motel, a run down desert beaten place to seek refuge from the law and huge media coverage. While at the motel Baby seduces Roy, part of the Banjo and Sullivan singing group. While he is off guard due to Baby’s sexual innuendos, Otis sneaks up behind him, holds him at gun-point and demands he take them back to his room where the rest of the band is resting minus their roadie, who is at the gas station getting beef jerky. Here they torture and murder two of the five members of Banjo and Sullivan. Baby's father, Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), meets Baby at the motel. Otis arrives a few minutes later and sexually abuses Roy’s wife, then asks the remaining men to come with him on an errand he has to do. While they are on their errand, One of the female prisoners asks to use the motel room’s restroom and tries to escape. She is later caught by Baby, who also kills Roy’s wife with a knife to the heart in the process.

Otis drives his two prisoners to a place where he buried some guns. While walking to the location, the two prisoners put up a struggle and hit Otis in the head with a large tree branch. This knocks him down, but Otis soon regains control of the situation, shooting one of them and killing Roy while he's on the ground praying to God. Otis returns to the motel, and all three leave the motel together in the band's van. The last member of the band is accidentally killed when she runs out to the highway to seek help. She could not see too well, because she is wearing Banjo's face as a mask that Otis kept as a souvenir. The maid comes to clean the room, and opens the door of the bathroom to see the grisly murder scene, with blood smeared all over the wall in a Manson-like assault, where “The Devil’s Rejects” is written on the wall in blood.

Meanwhile, Wydell slowly begins to lose his sanity when Mother Firefly reveals that she murdered his brother. After having a dream in which his brother urges him to avenge him, Wydell stabs Mother Firefly to death. The surviving Fireflies gather at a brothel owned by Captain Spaulding's brother, Charlie Altamont (Ken Foree), where he offers them shelter from the police. After leaving the brothel to purchase some chickens, Charlie is threatened at gunpoint by Wydell to give up the Fireflies. With the help of a pair of amoral bounty hunters known as the "Unholy Two," the sheriff takes the family back to the Firefly house where he delights in torturing them with similar methods they had used on their own victims. He nails Otis' hands to his chair and staples crime scene photographs to Otis's and Baby's stomach, beats, and shocks Captain Spaulding and Otis with a cattle-prod, and taunts Baby about the death of her mother.

Wydell lights the house on fire and leaves Otis and Spaulding to burn while taking Baby outside to murder her. Charlie returns to save the Firefly family, but is brutally axed by Wydell. It is only the last minute intervention of Tiny that saves the Firefly family; Tiny returns and snaps Wydell's neck. The family shares a brief tearful reunion as Tiny walks into the blazing house. Otis, Baby, and Spaulding escape in Charlie's car, leaving Tiny behind. The film's final scene has the trio driving into the middle of a police barricade, with no sound heard except Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird." As the song climaxes, they grab their guns and go forward in a final blaze of glory, being shot to death by the police. The order of the deaths, as shown in freeze-frames, is Baby, then Otis, then Spaulding.



Unused poster featuring Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon and Sid Haig.

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.[2] 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.[2] With Rejects, Zombie has said that he wanted to make it "more horrific" and the characters less cartoonish than in Corpses,[2] and that he wanted "to make something that was almost like a violent western. Sort of like a road movie."[3] 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.[3] 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."[4]

Zombie hired Phil Parmet, who had shot the documentary Harlan County USA because he wanted to adopt a hand-held camera/documentary look.[3] 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.[3]

Rejects went through the MPAA eight times earning an NC-17 rating every time until the last one.[5] 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 cut two minutes of it for the theatrical release. However, this footage was restored in the DVD version.[5]


While 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 in the rest of the world for a total of $19.4 million.[6]

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."[7]; and a 53 metascore on Metacritic.[8] 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".[9] 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".[10] 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".[11]

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".[12] Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "C+" rating and wrote, "Zombie's characters are, to put it mildly, undeveloped".[13] Robert K. Elder, of the Chicago Tribune, disliked the movie, 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".[14]

Horror author Stephen King voted The Devil's Rejects the 9th best movie 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".[15]


  • Spike TV Scream Awards:
    • Won: Best Horror Film
    • Won: Most Vile Villain (for the Firefly Clan)
    • Nominated: The Ultimate Scream
  • Fangoria Chainsaw Awards:
    • Won: Killer Movie
    • Won: Relationship from Hell (for Otis B. Driftwood and Baby Firefly)
    • Nominated: Best Butcher (Villain) (Sid Haig)
  • #7 on Bravo TV's 30 Even Scarier Movie Moments


  1. ^ "The New Cult Canon: The Devil's Rejects"
  2. ^ a b c Tobias, Scott (August 2, 2005). "Rob Zombie". The Onion A.V. Club.,13946/. 
  3. ^ a b c d Lutman, Danny (July 15, 2004). "INT: Devil's Rejects". Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  4. ^ "Meet the Rejects". Fangoria. August 2005. 
  5. ^ a b Ridley, Jim (July 21–25, 2005). "Sympathy for the Devils". Nashville Scene. 
  6. ^ "The Devil's Rejects". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  7. ^ The Devil's Rejects at Rotten Tomatoes
  8. ^ The Devil's Rejects at Metacritic
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (July 22, 2005). "The Devil's Rejects". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  10. ^ Ebert, Roger (March 10, 2006). "The Hills Have Eyes". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  11. ^ Travers, Peter (July 22, 2005). "The Devil's Rejects". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  12. ^ Stevens, Dana (July 22, 2005). "The Further Adventures of a Murderous Clan". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  13. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (July 20, 2005). "The Devil's Rejects". Entertainment Weekly.,,1084818,00.html. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  14. ^ Elder, Robert K (August 23, 2007). "The Devil's Rejects". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  15. ^ King, Stephen (December 9, 2005). "Scene It". Entertainment Weekly.,,1141710__1138886,00.html. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 

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