Rob Zombie has said that for every one film project of his that moves forward, there are five potential projects that fall by the wayside. We haven’t heard of quite that many unmade Rob Zombie movies, but we have heard of several over the years that never got off the ground… and unfortunately, most of them sounded pretty interesting. Earlier this week, Zombie said he doesn’t know what his next movie is going to be, but he does know what it’s not going to be: he won’t be continuing his Firefly franchise (which consists of House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, and 3 from Hell), and he doesn’t want to make a sequel to The Munsters. So while he figures out his next cinematic move, we we have put together a list of Rob Zombie Movies We Want To See!
DR. SATAN PREQUEL/SEQUEL
Okay, so this flies right in the face of what Zombie just said about not making any more movies in the Firefly franchise. But while we agree that there’s nowhere for the story to go after the events of 3 from Hell, there could be an interesting story that focuses on the bizarre character of Dr. Satan. A prequel set before House of 1000 Corpses could show how Dr. Satan got involved with the Firefly clan and set up his underground lair full of experiment subjects. A sequel could dig into what happened to Dr. Satan after he was taken out of his lair at the start of The Devil’s Rejects. Maybe the best approach would be a sequel that provides some flashbacks to the pre-Corpses days.
Zombie did shoot some Dr. Satan material for The Devil’s Rejects, a scene where the mad doctor attacks a nurse played by Rosario Dawson, but it ended up on the cutting room floor.
A while back, Thomas Jane mentioned that Rob Zombie was in the running to direct The Punisher 2 when the project was set up at Lionsgate and Jane was still attached to star in the follow-up to the 2004 Punisher film. Our minds have been swimming with the possibilities ever since. Jane’s time as The Punisher may be over (although you never know, in these days where Michael Keaton is Batman again and Hugh Jackman is going to play Wolverine one more time), but it could be very interesting to see how Zombie would handle a Punisher story.
We know he can deliver the level of violence the audience wants to see from the heavily armed vigilante, but what sort of style would he bring to the film around the character and the violence? Would it be dark and gritty? Neon-soaked madness? Did Lexi Alexander already give us something along the lines of a Zombie Punisher with her Punisher: War Zone? We’ll probably never find out, but it’s fun to daydream about.
THE CROW: 2037
In 1997, it was announced that musician Rob Zombie would be making his feature writing and directing debut with an addition to the Crow franchise that would have been called The Crow: 2037. The story would begin in “2010, when a young boy and his mother are murdered on Halloween night by a Satanic priest. A year later, the boy is resurrected as the Crow. Twenty-seven years later, and unaware of his past, he has become a bounty hunter on a collision course with his now all-powerful killer.” What that synopsis doesn’t mention is that a plague has knocked the planet back into the Dark Ages by the time 2037 rolls around, so our hero wields a sword and gets around on horseback.
An unexpected mixture of medieval times and influences from the Universal Monsters movies, The Crow: 2037 would have been a very unique entry in the franchise… so unique that the producers seemed to get cold feet and decided to make a more typical Crow movie instead. For a while, Zombie considered turning his script into an original film called Black Rider X, but then moved ahead with House of 1000 Corpses instead. So all we can do now is read the The Crow: 2037 script (which is readily available online) and try to imagine what could have been.
WEREWOLF WOMEN OF THE SS
Werewolf Women of the SS is a faux trailer Zombie made for Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s brilliant Grindhouse project, and while all of the faux trailers are a lot of fun in their short form, it would also have been amazing to see them all get expanded into actual features, like Rodriguez’s faux trailer Machete was. Eli Roth is currently in production on a Thanksgiving feature, Edgar Wright has pondered a Don’t feature, and in the past Zombie has asked fans if they would be interested in seeing a Werewolf Women of the SS feature. We would be!
An homage to movies like Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS, Fraulein Devil, and Love Camp 7, Werewolf Women of the SS is set during World War II and involves Nazi mad scientists, the She-Devils of Belzac, and Fu Manchu working together in an attempt to create an army of werewolves.
Zombie had no intention of making Halloween II. He was going to hand that sequel over to Inside directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury while he made a different project for Dimension: Tyrannosaurus Rex, which was even given a 2009 release date. He started promoting the project with posters and concept art… but then Bustillo and Maury left Halloween II and Dimension roped Zombie into doing that movie for 2009 instead of Tyrannosaurus Rex. There was some hope that he would make the original film after Halloween II, but by the time he was done with his second Michael Myers movie his working relationship with Dimension had been damaged beyond repair.
Zombie revealed very little about what Tyrannousarus Rex would have been, but he did say it wasn’t a horror movie. Comparing it to Straight Time, Raging Bull, and a serious version of Every Which Way But Loose, he said the movie would be “about this washed-up prizefighter who’s got this self-destructive tendency, and he comes out of prison and the only way he knows how to survive is by fighting. But his boxing career is over so he gets caught up in this sort of underground fight ring.” Concept art revealed that, like Clint Eastwood in Every Which Way But Loose, this prizefighter would also end up running into trouble with a biker gang.
Thirteen years later we’re still hoping to see Tyrannosaurus Rex somehow, because Zombie making a “incredibly violent ’70s action movie” about a washed-up prizefighter sounds like a whole lot of fun.
Some of the concept art for Tyrannosaurus Rex brought to mind The Nail, a comic book Zombie wrote with Steve Niles in 2004 that happened to center on a character named Rex. So it was erroneous reported that Tyrannosaurus Rex was an adaptation of The Nail and that really caught on, despite Zombie and Niles both saying Tyrannosaurus Rex was a different story. So if they are different stories, that means we need to see both Tyrannosaurus Rex and a cinematic adaptation of The Nail, because The Nail was really cool.
Basically a souped-up version of the 1975 classic Race with the Devil, The Nail had the following synopsis: “Small-time pro-wrestler Rex Hauser (a.k.a. The Nail) makes a living touring the small-town wrestling circuit with his family. Its business as usual for this close-knit bunch until they unwittingly cross paths with a murderous gang of Satanic bikers. But these aren’t your run-of-the-mill devil worshipers. In fact, Hauser and his family just might be up against the most un-Godly evil ever known to man.“
The comic was a fun read, and it would be a blast to see it brought to life on the screen.
Speaking of Rob Zombie / Steve Niles comic books that desperately need to be brought to the screen, the pair also made an awesome “cryptid run amok” comic book appropriately called Bigfoot in 2015. The synopsis is simple: “A monstrous ape-man is stomping around the woods of the Pacific Northwest, and he’s not happy with mankind.” If Bigfoot were ever brought to the screen, it would easily be one of the best Bigfoot movies we’ve ever gotten. The Bigfoot in this story is a terrifying beast that makes a bloody mess of the people who are unlucky enough to cross paths with it, and we’re dying to see this creature splatter blood and guts across the screen in a live-action movie.
The week Halloween II was released in 2009, it was announced that Zombie would be writing and directing another remake, this one of the 1958 sci-fi horror classic The Blob, which already received an awesome remake in 1988 and was about a gelatinous creature falling from the sky and consuming everything it came in contact with, growing larger with every meal. Zombie immediately made it sound like he was the wrong choice for the job when he said his movie wouldn’t be about “a red blobby thing”, so not many people minded when he decided to walk away from the project… But years later, concept art from Zombie’s abandoned version of The Blob showed up online and made it look like he had been plotting something fascinating.
Just going by what’s shown in the artwork, it appears that an alien monolith would have shown up in a small town, and this mysterious object would become the centerpiece of an annual rock festival. After five years, some kind of energy starts emanating from the monolith that makes people melt down into hideous, disgusting “blob people”. Some of the imagery is a bit too much like Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse movie Planet Terror, but it still looks like Zombie’s take on The Blob would have been entertaining and delightfully strange.
BROAD STREET BULLIES
In 2012, we heard that Zombie would be branching out of the horror genre with Broad Street Bullies, which would tell the story of “the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team that evolved from a cellar-dwelling expansion team into a team that racked up victories and penalty minutes in equal measure during the 1970s.” Zombie initially said he had secured the rights to the team’s story, had the full support of the Flyers organization, and was ready to make a movie that was like “Rocky meets Boogie Nights on ice”. But Broad Street Bullies never made it into production, and Zombie would later say that it was a nightmare trying to get all the necessary rights together.
Aside from comedies like Goon, it seems to be very difficult to get a hockey movie into production, as Kevin Smith also ran into trouble when he tried to make his own hockey movie, called Hit Somebody. So we’re left wishing that we had both Hit Somebody and Broad Street Bullies to watch right now. It would have been very interesting to see Zombie make a hockey movie set in the 1970s.
MANSON MURDERS PROJECT
This wasn’t going to be a movie and the Manson Family story has gotten too much coverage over the decades, but Zombie has been fascinated by the story since he was a kid and when he started developing a limited series that would “revisit the people and events connected to the Manson Family murder spree in August 1969“, he had an intriguing collaborator: the script was going to be written by American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis. Their aim was to “tell converging stories of people and events leading up to and after the murders, from shifting points of view.“
In general, it would be just fine if Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood turned out to be the end of Manson Family stories, but we are left quite curious to find out how Zombie and Ellis would have handled the material. The Manson Murders Project was set up at Fox in 2014, and was scrapped when NBC started airing their own Manson-related series Aquarius in 2015.
Zombie made it clear in House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects that he had an appreciation for the Marx brothers, so when Broad Street Bullies started looking troublesome in 2015 it wasn’t too surprising that he shifted over to trying to make a film based on the memoir Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho’s House by Steve Stoliar. This would have been “the bizarre story of the last years in the life of Groucho Marx, told by a young Marx Brothers fan who spent those years as his personal secretary and archivist. In addition to getting to know his hero, the author found himself in the orbit of Groucho’s brothers Zeppo and Gummo, Mae West, George Burns, Bob Hope, Jack Lemmon, S.J. Perelman, Steve Allen, and scores of other luminaries of stage, screen, TV and literature. The downside of this dream-come-true was getting close to his idol as the curtain was coming down, and dealing with Erin Fleming – the mercurial woman in charge of Groucho’s personal and professional life.“
For the first time, Zombie hired someone else – Oren Moverman – to write the screenplay for one of his films. He said he saw this story as “Groucho’s Sunset Boulevard“, “a sad, funny and very dark tale of a one of Hollywood’s greatest stars final years.” But once again, he found it too difficult to get a non-horror project into production. It’s a shame, because he chooses terrific material for his attempts to step out of the genre. If his version of The Munsters turns out to be a nice comedy like the sitcom source material, maybe it will open some non-horror doors for him.
Honorable Mention: C.H.U.D.
Some projects Zombie has been said to be involved with over the years were never actually happening. For example: there was a rumor that he was working on an animated adaptation of the comic book The Hills Have Eyes: The Beginning. Not true, and we’ve already seen him do the homicidal family thing multiple times. In 2007, a rumor emerged online saying that Zombie would be following his remake of Halloween with a remake of the 1984 film C.H.U.D. It was just a joke… but not such a bad idea. There is something appealing about the thought of Zombie making a movie about creatures called Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, crawling out of the sewer to consume flesh.
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/rob-zombie-movies-we-want-to-see/