When you think of filmmakers who fit the title of "auteur", Rob Zombie may not even appear on your list. However, Fandor's José Sarmiento certainly makes a case for the horror director in this video essay. In it, we get to explore some of the themes Zombie uses time and time again in an attempt to possibly find meaning in his juxtaposition between gore, violence, sex, and nostalgia.
Many have tried to categorize Zombie's films, saying they're a mixture of body horror, slasher, and splatter films. However, his film brand of cinema tends to go a bit deeper, as many horror films actually do, and serves as a critique on social and global issues of violence and war, while still reminding us with carefully placed visuals of "simpler times": clips of classic TV shows, music, and décor from the 70s.
You can see a lot of these tropes in the trailer for his latest movie 31, a film about a group of kidnapped carnival workers who are forced to play a game of survival against a bunch of murderous clowns.
There really isn't an established genre for Zombie's wistfully bloody pictures, but let's call it "necrostalgia". They're the type of films that remind you of the nightmares you had as a kid. They're that old abandoned shack at the end of your block. They placate you with comforting, familiar images before they rip your guts out through your PJs.
Zombie's films are full of blood and gore and violence, but if his quote at the beginning of this article is any indication, his purpose isn't to make shocking films for the the sheer thrill of it—though there might be some of that. Pain and suffering often begets "great things," so maybe his films are less bloody spectacles than they are wake up calls.