A few blogs informed me Monday night that Rob Zombie was going to be in Decatur — a city in which I lived until I moved to East Point last month — shooting a sequel to his poorly-received-but-insanely-bankable “Halloween” reboot that came out in 2007. This new one is called “H2″ or “Halloween 2.” Peeps said they would be shooting in front of the recently shut down Wordsmith’s book store, so shortly after I clocked in at work, I hopped on the Marta and headed for Decatur with a little point-and-click to see if I might capture a photo or two.
I arrive. They’ve completely renamed and redecorated the book store. I tell from fake window signs that Dr. Loomis, Michael Myers’ doctor from the mental hospital in “Halloween,” is having a book signing (in the movie) for a book he wrote about Myers. Lamp posts in front of the store have been redesigned with “Haddonfield Halloween Celebration” flags on them. It’s kind of cool. I chuckle. I snap a few shots. No one’s around.
I decide to head for the diner. Early lunch at Thumbs Up.
As I start to walk across the courtyard, a whole mess of dreads pops around the corner with a cabal of people clutching an excessive number of walkie-talkies. The dreads spin around, and they belong to Mr. Zombie. I laugh.
“Hey. Rob Zombie,” I mutter.
I look around to see if anyone notices Rob Zombie is just walking around right in front of me.
Everyone notices some weird-ass dude with dreadlocks who looks really out of place with a bunch of walkie-talkie dudes behind him, but no one notices it’s Rob Zombie.
So I just stand there. I think, “I should get a quote.”
And then I think, “But he’s working. And there’s a security guard there. And these budgets are insane. I don’t buy it when politicians say they don’t have time to talk to me, but I’d definitely believe a director if he said that to me.”
And then I think what would happen if I said something like…
Me: Hey, Rob Zombie. What’s up?
Rob Zombie: Hey, jerkface. I’m making a damn movie here. My budget was $5 million on the last one. I made $80 million. They gave me $20 million this time, which is why I can afford to walk around your godforsaken town on a Tuesday morning. Take $20 million, divide it by the number of shooting days. Then take that divide it by the number of hours. Then take that and divide it by the number of minutes. Bob, what does that come out to?”
Overeager Producer: Our delightful movie production costs four hundred and twenty four dollars a minute. Mr. Zombie. Sir.
Rob Zombie: Now, Fat Kid With the Notebook and the Point-And-Shoot. Do the math. Are you worth my time?
Me: … Certainly not.
And he turns around and walks away.
Me: Holy shit! Rob Zombie! What’s up!
Rob Zombie: Hey, man! What’s up! Nice camera!
Me: Oh, this thing? It’s just a point-and-shoot.
Rob Zombie: Aww, no way. It’s a great camera. I’ve got one myself.
Me: … Thanks.
Rob Zombie: You interested in the movie?
Me: Oh, yeah. Definitely. As a reporter. Not as a… citizen… or–
Rob Zombie: As a what?
Me: I mean, yes, I’m a reporter. I’m interested in your movie. Your sequel movie. To “Halloween.” Which you did after “Devil’s Rejects.”
Rob Zombie: You saw “Devil’s Rejects?”
Me: … Yes.
Rob Zombie: Oh, yeah? Cool. What’d you think?
Me: I thought it was decent. … I thought–
Rob Zombie: Decent?
Me: I thought it showed a lot of growth.
Rob Zombie: Growth.
Rob Zombie: OK.
Me: Yeah. Well. I mean, it’s like, I like your ideas. … I like that you’re committed to genre movies in a serious way, that you believe in the art of genre filmmaking unlike other, bigger filmmakers who look at horror merely as a fun diversion from their more serious dramatic work. I think you earn bonus points for that, sir.
Rob Zombie: Bonus points.
Rob Zombie: Uh huh.
Me: You’ve got a lot of panache. But I think it lacks a certain… a certain… significance. When it finally hits the screen.
Rob Zombie: Significance…
Rob Zombie: Maybe?
Me: Probably. You’re not very good with narrative. Or character depth, sir.
Rob Zombie: …
Me: But you’re’ definitely cool. Like it’s awesome that you’re friends with Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, and they respect you and all. And I loved your fake trailer that was in “Grindhouse.” “Werewolf Women of the S.S.” That was good. Real good. Probably your best work to date. You should run with that. … Oh, and I like your “More Human Than Human” song. I really like that song, actually. In fact, when I was in high school, my hockey team would warm up to–
Rob Zombie: Who are you again?
Me: Jonathan Cribbs, a reporter at the local paper. I watch a lot of movies. I also have a blog. You should check it out, actually. It’s–
[I am forcibly removed from the set.]
And by the time I imagine what could happen if I dodged around his security and straight popped a renegade question in his face, some producer whisks him away, leaving me kind of lame. Later, on the phone with a source in the city government, I’m told Malcolm McDowell has arrived to shoot, and later that night they’re scheduled to shoot in Decatur Cemetery.
I, however, spent the night in an urgent care center in Hapeville.
I should have tackled Rob Zombie when I had the chance.
And, to close, here’s a trailer for Zombie’s first “Halloween” flick:
And how about a really weird interview with Zombie about “Halloween”: