As one can imagine – with names such as Sick-Head; Psycho-Head; Schizo-Head; Death-Head; Sex-Head; and Doom-Head (more on him later), none of these clowns are the ‘bucket-of-confetti-throwing,’ ‘funny-walking-in-big-clown-shoes’ types who want to make you laugh. In fact, it’s a stretch calling them ‘clowns’ in the first place! Each clown has his/her unique grimy look – complete with favourite method of dispatching their victims in the most brutal ways imaginable.
The grimy look isn’t limited just to the clowns. It wouldn’t be a Rob Zombie movie if it didn’t have that skeezy, 1970s throwback feel to it – and 31 most certainly does, with some scenes and characters making the viewer feel like they need a good wash!
This is something that Rob Zombie is very good at creating in his films. As mentioned at the start of this review - this film may not be suited to everyone’s tastes, but for those who enjoyed House of 1000 Corpses; The Devil’s Rejects; Zombie’s Halloween et al, you will enjoy the complete visceral package – including the customary soundtrack that compliments the movie – that has come to establish Rob Zombie as one of the genre’s most legitimately unique auteurs. As is expected of any auteur, some of the talents that Zombie has previously collaborated with make a return. Of course, Sheri Moon Zombie and Malcolm McDowell make their now-customary return, along with Elizabeth Daily, Lew Temple and Jeff Daniel Phillips also making a return to casting. In addition, some other genius/obscure casting is made with Meg Foster (They Live), Tracey Walter (Silence of the Lambs, Burton’s Batman, Conan the Destroyer), Torsten Voges, Kevin Jackson, Pancho Moler, David Ury, Judy Geeson, Jane Carr and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs.
Zombie has a real knack of creating original characters that really seem to both repulse the viewer and draw them in at the same time - shortly after I finished my viewing of 31, I tweeted that Doom-Head is quite possibly my favourite original Zombie character since Captain Spaulding. Both characters’ appearance and actions are often repulsive to watch, yet there is something about them both that (for want of a better word) seems ‘cool’. Unlike the likable and often funny Captain however, Doom-Head (played by Richard Brake - Yes, Game of Thrones’ very own Night’s King!) is an absolutely unapologetic nasty piece of work – and we figure this out in a pre-credits monologue where for a number of the film’s opening minutes, Doom-Head is directly addressing the camera and giving us fair warning as to how nasty he actually is. It’s not until his reintroduction later on in the film that we delve into what makes this deprived, frenzied monster with the repulsive smile, tick. In a time-sensitive scenario, Doom-Head reassuringly tells his employer that he could kill his entire family in less than three hours. Expect Doom-Head to feature on many a poster, button badge, screensavers and body art in months to come!
Overall, this is yet another powerful and unique offering from Zombie’s twisted mind which will appeal to those that have come to enjoy his work. Quite simply – if you didn’t enjoy his previous work, or are firmly within the camp that never appreciated Zombie’s talents from the beginning of his filmmaking career, then please move on. I’m sure there’s a half-arsed horror film remake out there for you to enjoy, if the world of bizarre horror isn’t your thing.
By Andreas Charalambous - 25th September 2016
31 is Rob Zombie’s latest film that I’d been looking forward to seeing for a long while. Straight off the bat, this is not a film that every genre fan will love – but also straight off the bat – if you enjoyed Zombie’s previous offerings (as I did) then you’re in for another treat of a nightmarish ride into the back-road heartlands of Americana’s darkside.
The premise of 31 is familiar – imagine 1987’s Schwarzenegger-starring film The Running Man, but a lot more demented…. A LOT more demented!
In 31, a group of carnival workers are abducted and forced into a game of survival where they become prey for the amusement of others as they must survive twelve hours being stalked by grotesque clowns with a penchant for murderous violence.