The Devil's Rejects

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The Devil's Rejects
A blood strained arm extending from an open hotel room lays on the floor, next to a footprint, with an open police car parked out front in the background.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRob Zombie
Written byRob Zombie
Based onCharacters
by Rob Zombie
Produced by
CinematographyPhil Parmet
Edited byGlenn Garland
Music byTyler Bates
Distributed by
  • Lions Gate Films (United States)
  • Tiberius Film (Germany)[1]
Release date
  • July 22, 2005 (2005-07-22)
Running time
109 minutes[2]
  • United States
  • Germany
Budget$7 million
Box office$20.9 million

The Devil's Rejects is a 2005 black comedy horror film[3] written, produced and directed by Rob Zombie, and is the second film in the Firefly film series, serving as a sequel to his 2003 film House of 1000 Corpses. The film is centered on the run of three members of the psychopathic[4] antagonist family from the previous film, now seen as villainous protagonists, with Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, and Zombie's wife Sheri Moon Zombie reprising their roles, and Leslie Easterbrook replacing Karen Black as the matriarch.

The Devil's Rejects was released on July 22, 2005, to minor commercial success, and mixed reviews, although it was generally considered an improvement over its predecessor. At the time of release and in the years since, the film has garnered a cult following. It was the final film to feature actor Matthew McGrory before his death the same year, although he did have an uncredited posthumous cameo in The Evil Within (2017), which was filmed in 2002. The film's DVD release is dedicated to his "loving memory."


On May 18, 1978,[a] Texas Sheriff John Quincey Wydell and a large posse of state troopers issue a search and destroy mission on the Firefly family, who are responsible for over 75 homicides and disappearances over the past several years. The family arm themselves and fire on the officers. Rufus is killed and Mother Firefly is taken into custody while Otis and Baby escape. They steal a car, kill the driver, and go to Kahiki Palms, a run-down motel.

At the motel, Otis and Baby take a musical group called Banjo and Sullivan hostage in their room, and Otis shoots the roadie when he returns. Meanwhile, Baby's father, Captain Spaulding, decides to rendezvous with Baby and Otis. His truck runs out of gas on the way, and he frightens a boy and assaults the boy's mother before stealing her car. Back at the motel, Otis rapes Roy's wife Gloria and demands Adam and Roy come with him on an errand.

Otis drives his two prisoners to a place where he buried weapons. While walking to the location, the two prisoners attack Otis, but Otis bludgeons Roy and cuts Adam's face off. Back at the motel, Adam's wife Wendy tries to escape through the bathroom window. When Gloria attempts to rebel, Baby kills her. Wendy runs out of the motel but is caught by Captain Spaulding, who knocks her unconscious. Otis returns, and all three leave the motel together in the band's van.

The motel maid comes to clean the room, and she discovers the murder scene. The maid enters the bathroom where she sees "The Devil's Rejects" written on the wall in blood; she is startled by Wendy, who is accidentally killed when she runs out to the highway to seek help while she is in shock. Wydell calls a pair of amoral bounty hunters—the "Unholy Two"—Rondo and Billy Ray, to help him find the Fireflys. While investigating, they discover an associate of Spaulding's named Charlie Altamont. Wydell begins to lose his sanity when Mother Firefly reveals that she murdered his brother. After having a dream in which his brother commands him to avenge his death, Wydell stabs Mother Firefly to death. The surviving Fireflys gather at a brothel owned by Charlie, where he offers them shelter from the police.

After he leaves the brothel, Wydell threatens Charlie to give up the Fireflys. With the help of the "Unholy Two," the sheriff takes the family back to the Firefly house where he tortures them, using similar methods they used on their own victims. He nails Otis' hands to his chair and staples crime-scene photographs to Otis's and Baby's stomachs, then he beats and shocks Captain Spaulding and Otis with a cattle prod and taunts Baby about the death of her mother.

Wydell sets the house on fire and leaves Otis and Spaulding to burn, but he lets Baby loose outside so he can hunt her for sport. Charlie returns to save the Firefly family, but he is killed by Wydell. Baby gets shot in the calf of her left leg, brutally horse-whipped, and then strangled by Wydell. Tiny suddenly arrives and intervenes, breaking Wydell's neck and saving the Firefly family. Otis, Baby, and Spaulding escape in Charlie's 1972 Cadillac Eldorado and leave behind Tiny, who walks back into the burning house. The trio drives, badly injured. As Otis drives down the road with Baby and Spaulding asleep in the back seat, he notices a police barricade ahead of them. Realizing that they will not make it out alive, he wakes Baby and Spaulding and hands them each a gun. They speed toward the barricade, guns blazing as the police return fire, fading to black.



Unused poster featuring Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon Zombie and Sid Haig.

When Rob Zombie wrote House of 1000 Corpses (2003), he had a "vague idea for a story" about the brother of the sheriff that the Firefly clan killed coming back for revenge.[5] After Lions Gate Entertainment made back all of their money on the first day of Corpses' theatrical release, they wanted Zombie to make another film and he started to seriously think about a new story.[5] With Rejects, Zombie has said that he wanted to make it "more horrific" and the characters less cartoonish than in Corpses,[5] and that he wanted "to make something that was almost like a violent western. Sort of like a road movie."[6] He has also cited films like Bonnie and Clyde (1967), The Wild Bunch (1969), Badlands (1973) and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) as influences on Rejects.[7][6] When he approached William Forsythe about doing the film, he told the actor that the inspiration for how to portray his character came from actors like Lee Marvin and Robert Shaw.[6] Sheri Moon Zombiedoes not see the film as a sequel: "It's more like some of the characters from House of 1000 Corpses came on over, and now they're the Devil's Rejects."[8]

Zombie hired Phil Parmet, who had shot the documentary Harlan County, USA (1976), because he wanted to adopt a hand-held camera/documentary look.[6] Principal photography was emotionally draining for some of the actors. Moon Zombie remembers a scene she had to do with Forsythe that required her to cry. The scene took two to three hours to film and affected her so much that she did not come into work for two days afterward.[6]

The film went through the MPAA eight times earning an NC-17 rating every time until the last one.[9] According to Zombie, the censors had a problem with the overall tone of the film. Specifically, censors did not like the motel scene between Bill Moseley and Priscilla Barnes, forcing Zombie to cut two minutes of it for the theatrical release. However, this footage was restored in the unrated DVD release.[10]


Zombie, who is also musician, decided to go with more southern rock to create the mood of the film. The film's soundtrack itself was notable as being one of the first to be released on DualDisc, with the DVD side featuring a making-of featurette for the film and a photo gallery. In 2019, Zombie announced that Waxwork Records would release the soundtrack on vinyl along with the two other Zombie films in the trilogy, House of 1,000 Corpses and 3 from Hell (2019). The record included an essay written by director Rob Zombie and a 12x12" booklet that contained behind the scenes photographs.[11]


Box office[edit]

The Devil's Rejects was released by Lions Gate Films on July 22, 2005, in 1,757 theaters and grossed USD$7.1 million on its opening weekend, recouping its roughly $7 million budget. It grossed $17 million in North America and $2.3 million internationally for a total of $19.4 million.[12]

Critical response[edit]

The film received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 54% rating based on 138 reviews, with an average rating of 5.43/10. The site's consensus reads: "Zombie has improved as a filmmaker since House of 1000 Corpses and will please fans of the genre, but beware—the horror is nasty, relentless and sadistic".[13] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 53 out of 100 based on reviews from 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[14]

Critic Roger Ebert enjoyed the film and gave it three out of four stars. He wrote, "There is actually some good writing and acting going on here, if you can step back from the [violent] material enough to see it".[15] Later, in his 2006 review for the horror film The Hills Have Eyes, Ebert referenced The Devil's Rejects, writing, "I received some appalled feedback when I praised Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects, but I admired two things about it [that were absent from The Hills Have Eyes]: (1) It desired to entertain and not merely to sicken, and (2) its depraved killers were individuals with personalities, histories and motives".[16] In his review for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers gave The Devil's Rejects three out of four stars and wrote, "Let's hear it for the Southern-fried soundtrack, from Buck Owens' 'Satan's Got to Get Along Without Me' to Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Free Bird', playing over the blood-soaked finale, which manages to wed The Wild Bunch to Thelma & Louise".[17] Richard Roeper gave the film "thumbs up" for being successful at its goal to be the "sickest, the most twisted, the most deranged movie" at that point of the year (2005).[18]

In her review for The New York Times, Dana Stevens wrote that the film "is a trompe-l'œil experiment in deliberately retro film-making. It looks sensational, but there is a curious emptiness at its core".[19] Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "C+" rating and wrote, "Zombie's characters are, to put it mildly, undeveloped".[20] Robert K. Elder, of the Chicago Tribune, disliked the film, writing "[D]espite decades of soaking in bloody classics such as the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and I Spit on Your Grave, Zombie didn't absorb any of the underlying social tension or heart in those films. He's no collage artist of influences, like Quentin Tarantino, crafting his movie from childhood influences. Rejects plays more like a junkyard of homages, strewn together and lost among inept cops, gaping plot holes and buzzard-ready dialog".[21]

Horror author Stephen King rated The Devil's Rejects the 9th best film of 2005 and wrote, "No redeeming social merit, perfect '70s C-grade picture cheesy glow; this must be what Quentin Tarantino meant when he did those silly Kill Bill pictures".[22]

James Berardinelli was very negative giving The Devil's Rejects half a star (out of a possible four stars) and called it a "vile, reprehensible movie," saying the action was "more formula than plot." He described the dialogue as "a pastiche (at least I think that's the intention) of the kind of bloodthirsty, overripe lines found" in a genre of films from the 1970s about "outcasts who defy society by destroying it." He was extremely critical of the acting, directing, and the production values, with an ending that was "a cataclysmic misfire", and overall was not "engaging cinema."[23]


Award Category Nominee Result
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Wide-Release Film Won
Killer Movie (Scariest Film) Rob Zombie Won
Best Screenplay Won
Best Actor Sid Haig Won
Best Supporting Actor William Forsythe Won
Best Supporting Actress Leslie Easterbrook Won
Best Score Tyler Bates Won
Best Villain Sid Haig Nominated
Relationship from Hell Bill Moseley and Sheri Moon Zombie Won
Line That Killed (Best One-Liner) Bill Moseley Nominated
Satellite Awards Outstanding Classic DVD Unrated Widescreen Edition Nominated
Scream Awards The Ultimate Scream Nominated
Best Horror Movie Won
Most Vile Villain Leslie Easterbrook, Sid Haig, Bill Moseley
and Sheri Moon Zombie as the Firefly family
Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards Best Film Rob Zombie Nominated
Golden Schmoes Awards Best Horror Movie of the Year Nominated


In January 2018, it was rumoured that a sequel, 3 from Hell, was in production.[24] Rob Zombie confirmed this via Instagram in March 2018, sharing a photo from the director's seat.[25][26] A teaser trailer for 3 from Hell was released in June 2019, and the film opened in September 16, 2019.


  1. ^ Approximately seven months after the events of House of 1000 Corpses (2003)


  1. ^ "Film #24453: The Devil's Rejects". Lumiere. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  2. ^ "The Devil's Rejects (18)". British Board of Film Classification. June 13, 2005. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  3. ^ "Here are 10 of the best horror movies to watch on Sky Cinema right now". February 16, 2022.
  4. ^ Leistedt, Samuel J.; Linkowski, Paul (January 2014). "Psychopathy and the Cinema: Fact or Fiction?". Journal of Forensic Sciences. 59 (1): 167–174. doi:10.1111/1556-4029.12359. PMID 24329037. S2CID 14413385.
  5. ^ a b c Tobias, Scott (August 2, 2005). "Rob Zombie". The Onion A.V. Club.
  6. ^ a b c d e Lutman, Danny (July 15, 2004). "INT: Devil's Rejects". Retrieved August 6, 2007.
  7. ^ Wood, Jennifer M. (October 21, 2014). "11 Things You Didn't Know About The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". Esquire. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  8. ^ Carnell (August 2005). "Meet the Rejects". Fangoria.
  9. ^ Ridley, Jim (July 21–25, 2005). "Sympathy for the Devils". Nashville Scene.
  10. ^ Douglas, Edward (July 20, 2005). "Killin' Time with Rob Zombie". Coming Soon!.
  11. ^ Hadusek, Jon (June 12, 2019). "Rob Zombie Announces Vinyl Film Trilogy Soundtrack". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  12. ^ "The Devil's Rejects". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 2, 2008.
  13. ^ The Devil's Rejects at Rotten Tomatoes
  14. ^ The Devil's Rejects at Metacritic Edit this at Wikidata
  15. ^ Ebert, Roger (July 22, 2005). "The Devil's Rejects". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  16. ^ Ebert, Roger (March 10, 2006). "The Hills Have Eyes". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved October 2, 2008.
  17. ^ Travers, Peter (July 22, 2005). "The Devil's Rejects". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on November 14, 2007. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  18. ^ "The Devil's Rejects". July 22, 2005. Archived from the original on January 6, 2018.
  19. ^ Stevens, Dana (July 22, 2005). "The Further Adventures of a Murderous Clan". The New York Times. Retrieved October 2, 2008.(subscription required)
  20. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (July 20, 2005). "The Devil's Rejects". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 2, 2008.
  21. ^ Elder, Robert K (August 23, 2007). "The Devil's Rejects". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on March 2, 2008. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  22. ^ King, Stephen (December 9, 2005). "Stephen King on his picks for the best movies of 2005". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  23. ^ "Review: Devil's Rejects, The".
  24. ^ "Rob Zombie's Devil's Rejects Sequel May Start Filming Soon". January 22, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  25. ^ "RobZombieofficial on Instagram: "It's all true! Day One shooting Three From Hell! The murder and madness continues. #robzombie #sherimoonzombie #billmoseley…"". Instagram. Archived from the original on December 26, 2021. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  26. ^ Kimberley Elizabeth (March 13, 2018). "[Breaking] Rob Zombie Has Begun Filming on THE DEVILS REJECTS Sequel, 3 FROM HELL". Nightmare on Film Street - Horror Movie Podcast, News and Reviews. Retrieved March 13, 2018.

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