The Devil's Rejects diverges from its predecessor beginning with its opening frames, in which the depiction of the Firefly residence - no longer a remote, forest-shrouded funhouse of horrors but, rather, a dilapidated structure situated in a stretch of open land - speaks to the film's rejection of atmospheric claustrophobia in favor of wide-open anarchy. A fascination with rampant disorder certainly fuels the tour de force intro sequence, a bullet-strewn siege on the Firefly home by Sheriff Wydell (Forsythe) and an army of police officers heightened by Zombie's sly use of freeze frames, Sergio Leone-esque close-ups, and The Allman Brothers' "Midnight Rider." Exhibiting a directorial maturity devoid of his former MTV-ish gimmickry (no hyper-edited montages with varying film stocks or bludgeoning industrial heavy metal here), the director orchestrates the chaotic events with feverish abandon, his shaky handheld camera set-ups and scraggly, sun-bleached cinematography (courtesy of Phil Parmet) placing us directly inside the carnage. By the time murderous siblings Otis (Bill Moseley) and Baby (Sheri Moon) escape their now overrun home to seek shelter in the rotting, blindingly white desert, Zombie has demonstrated a newfound adeptness at lacing nasty action with a breakneck thrust and vicious wit.
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As its Hughes-land, we're back again in the suburbs of Chicago's North Shore, circa 1985, when apparently even bullies (embodied here by Robert Rusler and Robert Downey before he added the "Jr") could wear bad Wave-head fashions to the mall. A slightly more adult Anthony Michael Hall (look how much he's grown since the previous year's Sixteen Candles!) and the nasally-voiced Ilan Mitchell-Smith play best friends Garry and Wyatt. Losers beyond compare and hopeless with girls, they come up with the idea - while staying over at Wyatt's house while his parents are out of town - of creating the perfect woman on Wyatt's computer (you can almost see their bug-eyed, leering faces in a bad Playboy cartoon, drooling over some centerfold on the monitor). A few Frankenstein clips and some extremely bad special effects later, the door to Wyatt's bedroom explodes (of course) and standing in the smoke is their perfect woman: Kelly LeBrock.
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Continue reading: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Review
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