Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Free Bird Will Never Be The Same

Have you ever seen the movie The Devil’s Rejects by Rob Zombie? It’s a fantastic trip of needless violence and gore with plenty of gratuitous mayhem. Zombie does a wonderful job of making the viewer hate the three protagonists (the anti-heroes if you will) so much that you want to see them tortured, maimed, and killed. It almost happens too, but these evil bastards just seem to find a way to keep on living.

At the end of the film, there is the big shootout scene, but done in a unique way with quite possibly the best use of a song in a major motion picture that I’ve ever witnessed. After being beaten bloody, having had nails driven through their hands, gasoline thrown on them, punched, kicked, battered, and then left for dead in a burning house, the three anti-heroes manage escape and are on their way out of town when they come face to face with the sheriff’s roadblock. Guns cocked and loaded, top down on the Cadillac convertible, tires squealing against pavement, wind whipping through their hair, summer sun high in the sky, these three know it’s the end, and they intend to go out in a blaze of glory.

Cue Free Bird and the requisite super slow motion reel. With Lynrd Skynrd’s humongous hit filling the airwaves, the shootout scene erupts in a mass explosion of violent chaos. The images are so encapsulating that they stay with you for a long time to come. Every time I hear Free Bird I can still see Sharon Moon Zombie standing up and screaming “Come on you bastards!” cocking the shotgun and shooting at the brick wall of law enforcement waiting to take her and the gang down.

At the risk of ruining the movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it, the movie ends with this major shootout full of bullets ripping through bodies. Although never confirmed, it’s assumed that the shootout ends in the death of these three.

Kudos to Rob Zombie for making such a fine flick. His other movies are quite delicious as well, and his remake of Halloween almost outdoes the original. It may sound like blasphemy, but Halloween has always been my all time favorite horror movie, so this is a true fan claiming that the remake was almost better. Once again, it’s Zombie’s use of powerful images that stay with the viewer for a long time to come. That’s what makes his films irresistible, and that’s why I’ll never be able to hear Free Bird without mentally conjuring up my own music video, courtesy of The Devil’s Rejects. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

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