Because if nothing else, it’s freaking amusing to see serial killers argue about stopping for ice cream while on the run from the police.
The gist: This movie directly follows fellow Rob Zombie original horror flick The House of 1000 Corpses (review tomorrow!). The Firefly family, consisting of Mama, Baby, Otis, and Rufus, is held out a stand-off by police because they are cray-cray serial killers. They’ve finally been caught, and now they’ve got to deal with the PoPo.
Rufus is killed in a shootout, and Mama is captured. Baby calls up her biological father, a twisted clown-for-hire nicknamed Captain Spaulding. The doting dad that he is, he charges in to help the two kids steal, carjack, and murder their way to freedom. The body count rises, and yet you don’t want this family to get caught. You don’t want them to kill the people they’ve trapped at the cheap hotel. And yet you don’t want the twisted police to catch them. It’s a wild ride.
What I “learned”: I once presented this theory to a friend, about horror fans: There are horror fans that never get scared of the images they see, and there are fans that get scared but stick through the experience anyway. I consider myself part of the second group, and I can testify that there’s a strange high from encountering something that scares you and “conquering it.”
This film is an incredible personification of that feeling of conquering fear. There is a glee to the gore, artistic detail in every single blood splatter. All the members of the Firefly family clearly love the characters they’re playing. Mama Firefly tries to seduce the police officer who arrests her, and you believe it. Baby taunts her kidnapping victims by asking them to shoot her, daring them to be as unflinching as she is. And you believe it. This movie brings out the beauty and thrills of horror that I usually only see being described by superfans of the genre. It’s probably the best movie around to convince others of that aspect of it.
See this movie if you like: Horror actors acting like normal actors. Not scared-stiff folks or dispassionate killers. Just normal folks in extremely bloody circumstances.
Avoid this movie if: I’m getting tired of writing this… you can’t stand blood. This movie has a certain kill, often referred to as “the roadkill scene,” that has made it infamous as a bloody movie. That scene’s vicious, I won’t lie. But I’d also enjoy this movie if you don’t like the idea of some male-gaze shots of women. Baby is an interesting character in that she knows she’s sexually appealing to straight men, and often uses it to ensnare and taunt her victims. Not the worst portrayal of a female serial killer, but there are still some cringeworthy shots of her getting out a bubble bath. A bit eye-rolling, to say the least.
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