October 1, 2016

VOD Review: 31 (2016) #31daysofhorror

"Alright, Rob Zombie. That's Better."

*SUBMITTED BY: Me, because kicking off our 31 Days of Horror binge-watching with a brand new Horror flick called 31 sounded perfect. 

Here's the thing: I truly think that Rob Zombie is a one-note filmmaker who peaked with The Devil's Rejects. The guy's got vision, and he's definitely got a unique and compelling visual style, but man the dude can't write to save his life.

Zombie really needs to direct a movie that someone else wrote and conceptualized, and he needs to leave his wife out of it. I've said it before, and it still stands.

I loved House of 1000 Corpses, even though it was far from perfect; and I truly think that The Devil's Rejects is a modern-day classic. Since then though, he's had a run of films that have gotten gradually worse.

Halloween (Review HERE) was a good remake of a classic film that was almost impossible to remake. He did more right with this one than he did wrong. Halloween 2 (Review HERE) was so shitty that it made me physically angry. It was this movie that really showed Zombie's flaws, and in a big way. The Retarded World of El Superbeasto (Review HERE) was painfully bad. Great animation, but everything else about it was shit. The Lords of Salem (Review HERE) was an incoherent mess that felt more like a self-masturbatory project than it did a movie.

Looking back, maybe it was Bill Moseley and Sid Haig that made his first two efforts so damned entertaining. I don't know.

So being that we've gone from fans of Rob Zombie's movies to absolute haters over the course of his 6-film career, we didn't expect much at all from 31. I'm happy to say that while he still sucks a s a writer, that 31 is his best movie since Halloween, and we really liked it for the most part.

On Halloween, 1976, a gang of raunchy carnies are heading through the remote countryside in a Winnebago when they're attacked by some guys in striped pajamas. Everyone is killed except for Charly, Panda, Roscoe, Venus, and Peter Periwinkle, who are taken to some old warehouse complex, chained up, and forced to play a game called 31 by an old dude and two old chicks who are dressed like Olde English Aristocrats, wigs and all.

Every year, these aristocrats (Father Murder, Sister Serpent, and Sister Dragon) kidnap a gang of losers, and force them to survive for 12 hours while being hunted by maniacal killers called Heads. Not sure why any of this happens, or what the moniker of "Heads" mean, but then neither is the guy who wrote the movie, so, moot point.

So, the game of 31 begins with a midget clown dressed in Nazi gear named Sick Head. Then we get Crazy-Head and Zany-Head, two chainsaw-wielding bothers who are pretty adamant about fucking all of Charly's holes. Then come the super-tall German dude in a tutu, Death Head, and his tiny girlfriend, Sex-Head. When all of these heads prove to be inefficient at killing the carnies, Doom-Head gets the call, and everyone is fucked.

The single thing that made me really dig this movie was Richard Brake. His performance as Doom-Head was brilliant. It was a bit over-the-top thanks to some of the dialogue that Rob Zombie wrote for him, but holy hell was he ever an excellent villain. He opens the movie with a bang, and when he shows up later on to begin the final hunt, he owns every minute of runtime until the credits roll. I would honestly love seeing a sequel about the exploits of Doom-Head. The dude owned this movie.

Gotta say I liked the way it ended too.

Seeing E.G. Daily on-screen again, especially in such a sexy & sinister role, was great too. In the 80's, she was an adorable little pixie who had supporting roles in a bunch of movies that we loved, and she's still got that special thing about her.

31 also excels in the gore department.

Up until the carnies get attacked and kidnapped by the dudes in the striped pajamas, it was business as  usual for this Rob Zombie movie: Bad dialogue, swearing for swearing's sake, bad dialogue, trashy characters with silly names, bad dialogue...

Where do these names come from? Schizo-Head? Psycho-Head? Sex-Head? Venus Virgo? Panda?

Come on, man. Do you know how stupid that shit sounds?

Lots and lots of bloody goodness throughout this one to make Gorehounds smile.

There's some nudity in this one, including an appearance by 80's Porn superstar, Ginger Lynn.

There's plenty not to like about 31, and if you're not a fan of Rob Zombie's movies, then you pretty much already know what those things are, but he's made a step back towards the good side of the film-making fence with this one. For me, it's worth seeing for Richard Brake's performance alone, but it's got enough going for it to make it worthwhile overall.

It's definitely worth a rental. 

C+ or B-. Not sure which. Either way, 3 heads out of 5.

31 is available now on VOD.


The ladies of 31.


  1. Out of curiosity, have you rewatched Halloween 2 and Lords of Salem? I HATED them both the first time I saw them, but they actually are among my favorite horror movies now that I've rewatched them.

    H2 is pretty compelling from a story standpoint--way more depth than the originals, if you ask me--and is really well directed/shot. (Okay, except for the mother hallucinations/dreams--some of those are still odd from a stylistic perspective, although I've accepted it at this point.) As for Lords of Salem, there were a lot of subtle plot points that were easy to miss. Once I rewatched it, everything made perfect sense. I actually think it's one of the best witch/Satanic movies ever made.

    31...eh, really didn't like this one. RZ did a pretty thorough job of covering the murder mayhem genre with Corpses and Rejects, and at best, 31 just felt like a crappy rehash of Rejects.

    1. Yeah, I'm sorry as well, becuase I thought both H2 AND Lords Of Salem were fantastic, including the mother dream sequences. But I am also a huge fan of David Lynch and early Cronenberg type imagery, so what Zombie did in those two movies seemed pretty light to me as far as being really out there.
      Hell, I would go as far as to say that H2 was better than his first Halloween movie just because it was almost completely original.

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  3. It's like I said earlier before you put up your review, if you don't like RZ then please just stay away. He is for sure polarizing for audiences, and I think he really could give a fuck and I applaud him for it.
    I know that you didn't like H2 or Lords, I thought they were great. I know that not everyone is going to care for the same things and it's all good.
    I would say that your biggest pet peeve is RZs dialogue, especially in the beginning parts of his movie. Specifically his movies that feature his more trashy characters. Also his constant use of his wife as an actress in the main roles. I can totally see how his writing and his wife could be grating to some viewers. I really don't mind it. He has a particular style that's his own and he doesn't give a fuck who watches his movies I think. I think he knows that people hate parts or all of his movies and he purposely does the same type of characters in these movies becuase of it.

    So anyway, that being said, I want to say that I thought Doom Head was about as badass of as a villain as you could make. He chewed through his scenery like a billygoat with a tin can(do they really eat tin cans??), and that ending was fucking fantastic.
    If any of his movies deserved a sequel its this one right at the top of the list.

    Love him or hate him, I don't think anyone could argue that he doesn't have style. Even if you might think it's shit style, LOL.

  4. Again I am waiting for your Antibirth review dammit, LOL.

  5. THE DEVIL'S REJECTS was in my top 10 of the year back then. Everything Rob Zombie has done after that was IMO mediocre or worse. Thanks to your review, I'm now looking forward to this instead of anticipating (and dreading) another disappointment.

  6. The editing was just downright garbage. Some say it's because he had to avoid NC-17 but I think that's just an excuse. It's so damn choppy

  7. My problem with 31 was that you basically got the gist of the entire movie after the first Head was released/defeated. I had actually fallen asleep halfway through (because I was tired), and watched the remaining 45 minutes the next day. I literally could have skipped it and not missed a single interesting thing. Hell, come to think of it, I'd say the Mexican Nazi midget murderer was probably THE highlight of the movie.

  8. The first scene is fantastic. I really loved it.

    Then it immediately falls of a cliff for me.

  9. Doom-Head was great. The first scene was great. Until the preacher was shown. And the promise of "the most violent way" had not been kept. 2 strikes with an axe isn't much to chew on for a horror fan. On one hand, I wonder if the so-called Zombie Cut is going to reveal some badass scenes which had been cut away but on the other hand I'm not too keen to sit through the whole thing just for those minutes. Perhaps, I happen to find the censored scenes only.

    I'm too lazy to look up who edited the movie. This person was lazy, too. Such an incoherent mess, the tension flying out of the windows. Good thing that Doom-Head was great every second he was there. Yeah, the only good thing about this movie was Doom-Head although the naming of the characters was crappy.

  10. I really wanted to like this one but I must agree with all the haters. The man does alright with others material but with the exception of "Rejects" he is a terrible screenwriter. I must say his direction is getting a little tedious as well. I was honestly jacked about 2 films this month, This one and Ravenger. The latter makes "31" look like "Citizen Kane". Guess I gotta break out the oldies again.

    1. I like all of Rob's movies, but you know everything is very subjective. There is no way that everyone will like all movies.

      HOWEVER, I think almost everyone will agree that 'Ravager' was as cheesy as it gets. I didn't make it more than 5-7 minutes in to see how low budget it was. Hell, I shouldn't even say that, becuase we all know that nowadays Low Budget does NOT mean a bad movie. One the contrary many of best movies over the last 10 or more years have been of the ultra low budget variety(IE: 'Primer'), but when you make a movie and don't even try to make it look like it's more than what a few teenagers tried to pull off in their backyard(which is exactly what Ravager looks like) than why ever bother.

    2. I'm sorry I know I should save this for the actual review but I can't imagine anyone liking Ravager and I'm a huge fan of the series.I know why they waited so long to release it.
      I think Zombie is kinda like a b movie JJ Abrams. The only difference is JJ steals the good parts of other peoples work. It's funny I actually liked alot of "Lords of Salem"(still can't figure out how them old bitches made that record) but for the most part he was trying to be a poor mans Kubrick. I read that Zombie said "31" was finally what he thought his fans wanted in a film. It's amazing how far away you can get from reality when your isolated and the only thing you hear is how great you are. Primer=Like