The Firefly Family Adventures

From director (musicians, producer & singer as well) Rob Zombie comes the following two movies focusing on the Firefly family. 2003’s House Of 1000 Corpses was written, directed & co-produced by Zombie and starring¬†Sid Haig,¬†Bill Moseley,¬†Sheri Moon Zombie,¬†Karen Black,¬†Rainn Wilson¬†and¬†Erin Daniels. The movie is about two young couples who, while on a trip, are held captive & tortured by a crazed, backwoods family called the Fireflys.

Set on Halloween 1977 4 young people, Jerry, Bill, Mary & Denise are out on the road in hopes of writing a book on offbeat roadside attractions. At a gas station they meet Captian Spaulding a vulgar but friendly owner of a gas station and a tour ride called the “Museum of Monsters & Madmen” , who guides them to the death place of a local legend called Dr. Satan – a murderous surgeon who conducted gruesome experiments on his live human subjects. On their way they pick up a hitchhiker named Baby who asks for a ride to her house but on their way a tire bursts (a trap setup by Baby’s half-brother Rufus). Baby offers to walk to her house along with Bill and get Rufus to help them with their car. Rufus appears and takes the other 3 back to the Firefly family home. The four friends meet Mother Firefly, Baby’s mother; Otis Driftwood, Baby’s adopted brother; Grampa Hugo, Baby’s grandfather; and Baby’s deformed giant half-brother, Tiny.

At the house after dinner Baby lip-syncs and dances to a song while flirting with Bill, which angers Mary and the two girls go at each other, causing Mother to tell the 4 to leave as Rufus has fixed their car. However¬†¬†they are attacked by Otis and Tiny, being taken as prisoners¬† and that’s when the torture begins. Otis hacks at Bill and creates a gruesome art work of his body while Baby scalps Jerry because he failed to guess Baby’s favorite movie star. Meanwhile Denise’e father, a former cop, on seeing that his daughter is way late to their house, asks the local cops to investigate her disappearance. Two deputy sheriffs ¬†George Wydell and Steve Naish find the youngsters car abandned with the dead body of a local missing girl in the trunk, tortured. They arrive at the Firefly house with Denise’s father and upon finding bodies, the three are quickly killed by the family. Later that night Jerry, Denise & Mary are dressed up in bunny costumes are taken into the woods at at an underground well, where after a bizarre ceremony, Mary manages to run away but is caught by Baby and killed. The other two are lowered into this underground well where feral humans grab and drag Jerry away. Denise goes through the chambers on her home through various catacombs and finds a large room with mental patients and where a still alive Dr. Satan is conducting experiments ¬†Dr. Satan has Jerry on his operating table, horribly torturing and skinning him alive.

As Dr. Satan yells for his assistant, Earl (who is Mother’s ex-husband) to capture Denise, she runs away from the figures and makes her way out into the woods. Moments later, she is picked up by Captain Spaulding and passes out from exhaustion in the front seat, only for Otis to appear in the backseat with a knife. The film ends with Denise being tortured by Dr. Satan.

Two years later the sequel The Devil’s Rejects came out. Leslie Easterbrook appears as Mother, while Tyler Mane has a brief few scenes as Rufus – both replacing the previous actors. Set a few months after the events of the previous film,¬†Texas Sheriff John Quincey Wydell (the younger brother of the deputy who was killed in earlier movie & played by William Forsythe) and a bunch of state troopers arrive at the Firefly farm, noticed only by Tiny who was in the woods, dragging a body. The cops announce their intent to arrest them and order them to surrender. Mother, Baby, Rufus & Otis start shooting at the cops in a standoff, during which Rufus is killed and Mother is caught, while Baby & Otis escape through a secret passage. Mother tries to kill herself but her gun in empty and is led away to prison. Baby and Otis ambush a nurse on the road and steal her car, leaving her dead on the road.¬†They head to a motel, a run-down windblown place to seek refuge from the law and media coverage.Baby seduces an older man, Roy, while Otis sneaks up behind him and they take him into his motel room where Roy’s wife Gloria & friend Adam are watching tv. Otis rushes into the shower to drag a wet & naked Wendy, Adam’s wife, screaming into the main room.

Otis and Baby takes the group hostage in the hotel room and Otis shoots their friend Jimmy when he returns. They then call their birth father, Captain Spauding, who hits the road to come to the hotel to meet Baby and Otis. His car runs out of gas and Spaulding assaults a woman and scares her son, taking their car in the process. Back at the hotel, Otis sexually assaults Roy’s wife Gloria and Otis demands Adam and Roy to come with him on an errand to fetch some guns he had buried. Adam & Roy try to attack Otis and hit him with a branch but Otis kills both of them and cuts off Adam’s face with a knife and comes back to the motel. Back at the motel, Adam’s wife Wendy tries to escape by going to the bathroom. Gloria attempts to rebel only to be killed by Baby. Wendy runs out of the motel only to be caught by Captain Spaulding who knocks her out. Otis returns, and all three leave the motel together in the band’s van. Wendy is killed when she runs out of the room after a cleaning lady opens the door and runs screaming outside (with her husband’s face skin taped to her face) but is hit by a truck and killed. Meanwhile Wydell slowly begins to lose his sanity and his mind when Mother Firefly reveals that she murdered his brother. After having a dream in which his brother urges him to avenge him, Wydell pretends to seduce her, and stabs Mother Firefly to death. he surviving Fireflys gather at a¬†brothel¬†owned by Charlie, a friend of Spauldings, where he offers them shelter from the police. They throw a party and they all celebrate over their freedom.

Wydell recruits a pair of bounty hunters (Danny Treijo & Diamond Dallas Page) to find out about the family’s friends and they track them to Charlie. Wydell confronts Charlie who is threatened at gunpoint by Wydell to give up the Fireflies, all of them at his house at midnight. The bounty hunters help Wydell to capture the 3 and takes them to the Firefly house, where Wydell proceeds to torture them. He nails Otis’ hands to his chair and staples crime scene photographs to Otis’s and Baby’s stomach, then beats and shocks Captain Spaulding and Otis with a cattle-prod and taunts Baby about the death of her mother. Wydell burns the house with Spauling & Otis in it and takes Baby out to hunt her but Tiny arrives and saves her & kills Wydell by snapping his neck. Tiny rescues his half brother & father but decides to die in the fire, while Otis drives Spaulding & Baby out in a car. The 3 are out on the road trying to escape but in the morning they find themselves in front of a police blockade. Otis wakes up Baby and Spaulding, they grab their guns, Baby and Otis their revolvers, while Spaulding takes his rifle. As Lynyrd Synyrd’s “Freebird” plays, the 3 go down in a blaze of glory, shooting at the troopers and being killed in the gun fire. Family images of the 3 are shown in between as the last of the Firefly family are dead.

Now, although a direct sequel, it’s almost like Rejects is a whole different universe altogether. While the first had the supernatural and horror element the sequel eschews all¬† that for just a straight criminals and killers on the run from the law and a revenge thrown in. Not sure how I feel about that. I give House Of 1000 Corpses a 7.5 outta 10 and The Devil’s Rejects a 6.5 outta 10!

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