Necrostalgia: Exploring the Twisted Universe of Horror Auteur Rob Zombie

"Great things come out of being hungry and cold."

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.

Video is no longer available:

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.     

You Might Also Like

Your Comment


We need to retire the term "auteur".

October 24, 2016 at 9:08AM, Edited October 24, 9:08AM

Spence Nicholson
Writer / Director / Producer

Rag on him all you want, but he made one very good film in Devil's Rejects, and one decent in Lords Of Salem.

October 25, 2016 at 8:01AM


The scariest thing about his movies is that all of the characters are so white trash that you don't care about any of them. From the little I've seen on TV, I have no interest in watching any of his movies.

October 29, 2016 at 12:05AM, Edited October 29, 12:07AM

Ryan Gudmunson
Recreational Filmmaker

Gotta love NFS for removing any comments that put this film down. What kind of site is this anyway?

October 31, 2016 at 1:02PM, Edited October 31, 1:02PM

Kaster Troy
Director, DP, Editor