There's Rob Zombie, frontman of the gothic heavy-metal band White Zombie. There's Rob Zombie, the shock maestro behind such barbarous horror movies as The Devil's Rejects and Halloween. And then there's Rob Zombie, the regular dude formerly known as Robert Bartleh Cummings from Haverhill, Massachusetts. But those aren't split personalities; the menacing stage performer and director of fright fests is the same guy talking to me about the expectations for his latest, 31, which premiered in one of Sundance Film Festival's coveted midnight slots.
"Either you like what I do, or you don't," he says. "I don't ever think like, 'Gee, what do my fans want?' Because it's my job to come up with the next thing that they're going to enjoy, not just force-feed them the same thing over and over."
Zombie loves movies and, like Quentin Tarantino or J.J. Abrams, remixes his favorites -- Taking of Pelham 123, Dirty Harry, Bonnie and Clyde, Taxi Driver -- to subvert the horror genre. The key, he says, is to slice and dice them without dwelling too long on his decisions. "I used to make that mistake with mixing records," he says. "It would be raw and rocking. Then I’d keep working, and keep working, and keep working, and keep polishing, and then it was totally boring. You can do that with movies, too."