31
Every single person who I have ever talked to seems to have a love/hate relationship when it comes to Rob Zombie's artistic practices. If I mentioned his music, some think he should have ended his career after White Zombie, while others think that his latest material up to and including The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser. The same can be said for his involvement in the film industry with people either loving his throwback Grindhouse films House of 1000 Corpses and Devil's Rejects, or fans rejecting Zombie's credibility as a director for his reboot of the Halloween franchise. That being said, Zombie always keeps chugging along and has recently brought out a new bloody horror piece to the world: 31

31 originally began life with a teaser image featuring a bloodied clown mask alongside the numbers "31". The rumor mill boiled up all around it with some saying that it would continue Zombie's dormant Halloween franchise, with others expecting another film in the House of 1000 Corpses/Devil's Rejects universe. Fans quieted down after Zombie quelled their thoughts stating that it was based on an original story and that the numbers stood for October 31st. 

Now, Zombie's last film Lords of Salem was an excellent piece of artistic horror because he was given complete creative rights to the whole film, and he wanted to do the same with 31. That's why you may recall Zombie hosting two separate crowdfunding campaigns; the first was to ensure that he would be able to at least fund part of his film granting more control over it, and the second was because more fans wanted to contribute to the film. And, as the story goes, the film was filmed, the actors acted, and now the movie is out. 


Fans who are looking for a fun Zombie infested time are in for a treat as 31 was initially declined an R rating and was appraised with an NC-17 rating twice. After several revisions, the film was finally given a hard R rating. Zombie has promised that there will be a "Zombie Cut" of the film later on down the line, but for now we will have to roll with this trip. And, boy, what a trip it is. 

31 follows a group of carnival workers in 1976 in an RV as they make their way to their next performance. As horror movies go, they do not make it to their destination and are instead forcibly brought to a large building with a maze like design. There, the carnies are introduced to three incredibly wealthy, powdered aristocratic-like sadistic game makers who tells them they are to play a game called "31". They will have to survive for twelve hours in the maze as several psychopaths attempt to murder them. 

One of the best parts about 31  is quite simply the introduction where we get to meet Doom-Head played by Richard Brake. The best way I can describe Brake's Doom-Head is as a quasi-Joker like figure who is much, much more sadistic than cynical. As he talks directly into the camera, it almost makes you feel as if you're the one being trapped in the game of 31, but as soon as it's revealed he is talking to a pastor, you breathe a sense of relief. 


However, it's now that I will reveal the one thing that has always bother me about Zombie's works: The amount of unnecessary swearing. With the introductory scene with Brake, I thought his acting was on point and couldn't have been better. His speech was amazing, his gaze was unending, and his smile was just plain ol'crooked. But once a couple of fucks flew out of his mouth his speech didn't flow as well anymore and the words just did not seem natural. The same can be said for some of the other cast members' dialogue throughout the film; I understand you're going for the classic grindhouse film, but you need to find a way to let your characters swear stylishly with good effect when it just is not needed. The best villains in horror are the ones that can strike fear with elegance or a stare, not with twenty fucks in a matter of a minute; just look at Hannibal Lecter or Pinhead. 

After that wonderful intro, however, we are introduced to the carnival troupe. It's no surprise to see Sheri Moon Zombie or Jeff Daniel Phillips in leading roles alongside with a few others who had their presence made in Zombie's previous films, so if you're looking for new actors you are not going to get them here. But, having such a tight knit web of actors makes a lot of their interactions more genuine with the laughs easily rolling and the times just getting better and better. 

After they visit a gas station, the troupe moves onto a house where Halloween scarecrows decorate the middle of the road. And this is where the only dumb decision in the entire film is made: One of the troupe decides to get out and move the scarecrows, and then they are ambushed by a bunch of clowns, one of them is killed, and then they are taken to the large building with a giant maze.


The troupe is brought in front of three aristocratic judges (one of the helmed by the legendary Malcolm McDowell) who explain the rules of 31, and then give the odds of survival for each one of their contestants. They are introduced to the first psychopath there, Sick-Head (Pancho Moler), who is a Mexican midget dressed as a miniature Hitler with two knives. 

Now, the way 31 is presented is with a series of levels and designs much akeen to a survival-horror video game with amazing boss fights. Each time the troupe takes down one psychopath, they move onto the next area and encounter someone new. These psychopaths are the highlight of the film with both Torsten Voges' Death-Head and E.G. Daily's Sex-Head being my favorites. While Death-Head is a huge, lingering figure who wears a tutu and shouts in German, Sex-Head is a short little clown who uses knives and a chain to attack her victims. This fight was not only my favorite because it showed strategy and tactics from the protagonists in a horror film for once rather than the usual stupidity, but also because the two psychopaths combined together created an awesome, loving duo. 

Brake's Doom-Head does pop back up towards the end of the film to finish off the troupe after the rest fail, and he does a pretty damned good job at it. He manages to get to all the characters except - none too shockingly - Sheri Moon Zombie's Charly. When he goes in for the final kill, the buzzer sounds off, and Charly wins. Obviously, Doom-Head is none too pleased with himself and calls Charly lucky - which I agree with. I will admit I had doubts in my mind that Charly was going to make it; she had no fight in her left, and was pretty much just waiting for Doom-Head to finish her off. That buzzer saved her life.


Charly walks off, the aristocrats dress back to normal, and McDowell's character thanks the other two for another successful year of 31 though he ominously says that he is unsure what to do with the lone survivor Charly. However, as Charly walks on the road to wherever it is she's going, Doom-Head appears behind her again in a van, gets out, and draws his two knives. And that's where the film ends. 

31 is a great bloody and gory grindhouse fiesta that was surprisingly enjoyable. It was fun, it was fast, the action scenes were well done and the gore never stopped flying. I am disappointed, however, that 31 felt more like a "Part I" kind of film that needs another film to finish it out and answer some questions. Who are the aristocrats and why did they create 31? Are the psychopaths in 31 forced to play the game as well, or do they just do it for fun? And, most importantly, what is going to happen to Charly? Live? Survive? Is she forced back into another year of 31? 

Rob Zombie does have a lot to answer for with 31, but as a standalone film it's a morbid, energetic grindhouse thrill ride with plenty of chainsaws, boobs, and Hitler midgets. 
3
Brutal Resonance

31

6.0
"Alright"
Genre: Horror
Director: Rob Zombie
Writer: Rob Zombie
Star actors: Sheri Moon Zombie, Malcolm McDowell, Richard Brake
Every single person who I have ever talked to seems to have a love/hate relationship when it comes to Rob Zombie's artistic practices. If I mentioned his music, some think he should have ended his career after White Zombie, while others think that his latest material up to and including The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser. The same can be said for his involvement in the film industry with people either loving his throwback Grindhouse films House of 1000 Corpses and Devil's Rejects, or fans rejecting Zombie's credibility as a director for his reboot of the Halloween franchise. That being said, Zombie always keeps chugging along and has recently brought out a new bloody horror piece to the world: 31

31 originally began life with a teaser image featuring a bloodied clown mask alongside the numbers "31". The rumor mill boiled up all around it with some saying that it would continue Zombie's dormant Halloween franchise, with others expecting another film in the House of 1000 Corpses/Devil's Rejects universe. Fans quieted down after Zombie quelled their thoughts stating that it was based on an original story and that the numbers stood for October 31st. 

Now, Zombie's last film Lords of Salem was an excellent piece of artistic horror because he was given complete creative rights to the whole film, and he wanted to do the same with 31. That's why you may recall Zombie hosting two separate crowdfunding campaigns; the first was to ensure that he would be able to at least fund part of his film granting more control over it, and the second was because more fans wanted to contribute to the film. And, as the story goes, the film was filmed, the actors acted, and now the movie is out. 


Fans who are looking for a fun Zombie infested time are in for a treat as 31 was initially declined an R rating and was appraised with an NC-17 rating twice. After several revisions, the film was finally given a hard R rating. Zombie has promised that there will be a "Zombie Cut" of the film later on down the line, but for now we will have to roll with this trip. And, boy, what a trip it is. 

31 follows a group of carnival workers in 1976 in an RV as they make their way to their next performance. As horror movies go, they do not make it to their destination and are instead forcibly brought to a large building with a maze like design. There, the carnies are introduced to three incredibly wealthy, powdered aristocratic-like sadistic game makers who tells them they are to play a game called "31". They will have to survive for twelve hours in the maze as several psychopaths attempt to murder them. 

One of the best parts about 31  is quite simply the introduction where we get to meet Doom-Head played by Richard Brake. The best way I can describe Brake's Doom-Head is as a quasi-Joker like figure who is much, much more sadistic than cynical. As he talks directly into the camera, it almost makes you feel as if you're the one being trapped in the game of 31, but as soon as it's revealed he is talking to a pastor, you breathe a sense of relief. 


However, it's now that I will reveal the one thing that has always bother me about Zombie's works: The amount of unnecessary swearing. With the introductory scene with Brake, I thought his acting was on point and couldn't have been better. His speech was amazing, his gaze was unending, and his smile was just plain ol'crooked. But once a couple of fucks flew out of his mouth his speech didn't flow as well anymore and the words just did not seem natural. The same can be said for some of the other cast members' dialogue throughout the film; I understand you're going for the classic grindhouse film, but you need to find a way to let your characters swear stylishly with good effect when it just is not needed. The best villains in horror are the ones that can strike fear with elegance or a stare, not with twenty fucks in a matter of a minute; just look at Hannibal Lecter or Pinhead. 

After that wonderful intro, however, we are introduced to the carnival troupe. It's no surprise to see Sheri Moon Zombie or Jeff Daniel Phillips in leading roles alongside with a few others who had their presence made in Zombie's previous films, so if you're looking for new actors you are not going to get them here. But, having such a tight knit web of actors makes a lot of their interactions more genuine with the laughs easily rolling and the times just getting better and better. 

After they visit a gas station, the troupe moves onto a house where Halloween scarecrows decorate the middle of the road. And this is where the only dumb decision in the entire film is made: One of the troupe decides to get out and move the scarecrows, and then they are ambushed by a bunch of clowns, one of them is killed, and then they are taken to the large building with a giant maze.


The troupe is brought in front of three aristocratic judges (one of the helmed by the legendary Malcolm McDowell) who explain the rules of 31, and then give the odds of survival for each one of their contestants. They are introduced to the first psychopath there, Sick-Head (Pancho Moler), who is a Mexican midget dressed as a miniature Hitler with two knives. 

Now, the way 31 is presented is with a series of levels and designs much akeen to a survival-horror video game with amazing boss fights. Each time the troupe takes down one psychopath, they move onto the next area and encounter someone new. These psychopaths are the highlight of the film with both Torsten Voges' Death-Head and E.G. Daily's Sex-Head being my favorites. While Death-Head is a huge, lingering figure who wears a tutu and shouts in German, Sex-Head is a short little clown who uses knives and a chain to attack her victims. This fight was not only my favorite because it showed strategy and tactics from the protagonists in a horror film for once rather than the usual stupidity, but also because the two psychopaths combined together created an awesome, loving duo. 

Brake's Doom-Head does pop back up towards the end of the film to finish off the troupe after the rest fail, and he does a pretty damned good job at it. He manages to get to all the characters except - none too shockingly - Sheri Moon Zombie's Charly. When he goes in for the final kill, the buzzer sounds off, and Charly wins. Obviously, Doom-Head is none too pleased with himself and calls Charly lucky - which I agree with. I will admit I had doubts in my mind that Charly was going to make it; she had no fight in her left, and was pretty much just waiting for Doom-Head to finish her off. That buzzer saved her life.


Charly walks off, the aristocrats dress back to normal, and McDowell's character thanks the other two for another successful year of 31 though he ominously says that he is unsure what to do with the lone survivor Charly. However, as Charly walks on the road to wherever it is she's going, Doom-Head appears behind her again in a van, gets out, and draws his two knives. And that's where the film ends. 

31 is a great bloody and gory grindhouse fiesta that was surprisingly enjoyable. It was fun, it was fast, the action scenes were well done and the gore never stopped flying. I am disappointed, however, that 31 felt more like a "Part I" kind of film that needs another film to finish it out and answer some questions. Who are the aristocrats and why did they create 31? Are the psychopaths in 31 forced to play the game as well, or do they just do it for fun? And, most importantly, what is going to happen to Charly? Live? Survive? Is she forced back into another year of 31? 

Rob Zombie does have a lot to answer for with 31, but as a standalone film it's a morbid, energetic grindhouse thrill ride with plenty of chainsaws, boobs, and Hitler midgets. 
Oct 05 2016

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

Share this review

Facebook
Twitter
Google+
31
Shares

Top movies & TV

Requiem

Movies & TV, Apr 19 2018

A Quiet Place

Movies & TV, Apr 10 2018

Blade Runner 2049

Movies & TV, Oct 10 2017

It

Movies & TV, Sep 09 2017

Stranger Things: Season 1

Movies & TV, Sep 14 2016

Popular in movies & TV

The Jester

Movie, Jan 26 2017

Harvest Lake

Movie, Jan 26 2016

A Clockwork Orange

Movie, May 11 2015

Blade Runner 2049

Movie, Oct 10 2017

Shortly about us

Started in spring 2009, Brutal Resonance quickly grew from a Swedish based netzine into an established International zine of the highest standard.

We cover genres like Synthpop, EBM, Industrial, Dark Ambient, Neofolk, Darkwave, Noise and all their sub- and similar genres.

© Brutal Resonance 2009-2016
Designed by and developed by Head of Mímir 2016