Killing like it’s 1974

Rated 4.0

The epitaph on the tombstone of the maverick filmmaking era of the ‘70s has a date of death reading June 1975, the month that the summer release of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws changed the Hollywood approach to filmmaking. Soon, the grub-like fingers of the suits were wresting control of projects away from the filmmakers in order to cultivate a more user-friendly summer blockbuster “product.” The renegade was soon relegated to the backwaters of the burgeoning direct-to-video market (read: relative obscurity at the time).

Rocker-turned-filmmaker Rob Zombie wants to be a throwback to that era. With his debut House of a 1000 Corpses, he hit all the notes but failed to assemble them into something that sang. The movie was a patchwork Frankenstein that moaned under the seeming weight of someone who fears that he may only have only one shot at making a movie and wanted to cram it with every influence that shaped his success. It was an interesting and yet ultimately flawed exercise, and yet may have operated as a purging process for him to move on and create his tone-perfect ode to the Texas Chainsaw retro-'70s drive-in flick, The Devil’s Rejects.

As a tribute to the era, Zombie has it down, as he lets his Firefly family loose on a gory killing spree. All I needed was a windshield between me and the screen, and it would have been perfect. Of course, I spent quite a bit of my youth in the ‘70s watching this kind of flick at the drive-in, so there you go.

I usually cannot stand Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird,” but the way it was utilized here gave me chills—a pluperfect ‘70s-style ending.