Are you ready for Rob Zombie, king of the contemporary horror rockers, in non-macabre mode? Well, you better be, because the metal god/fledgling filmmaker is abandoning the genre that more or less made his entire persona to take on the subject of…hockey? That’s right, as reported before, Zombie, who made his name with fascinating films like ‘The Devil’s Rejects,’ ‘House of 1000 Corpses,’ ‘Lords of Salem‘ and the one-two punch of his ‘Halloween’ remake and its sequel, will deal with Canada’s national pastime as his next motion picture subject.
The film, entitled ‘Broad Street Bullies,’ will focus on the infamous Philadelphia Flyers team from the 1970s. These violence-prone outcasts became famous after beating the Soviet Union in a controversial 1976 exhibition game as well as for winning back to back Stanley Cups (a first for a non-Original Six franchise). Already the subject of a sensational HBO documentary, Zombie told Philly.com (as reported by Blabbermouth.com) that he was drawn to the material because, “It’s the greatest sports story ever not told. It’s been told other ways, but not film. I had to do it. It reads like fiction. It’s so incredible.”
Likening the film to ‘Rocky,’ the fledgling auteur believes that his biggest challenge will be finding actors who can replicate the high level of athleticism showcased by his subject. “My theory is that, actually, nobody’s gonna be able to learn to play to the level we’re gonna need them to play at, to make the scenes believable, he said. ” You can easily fake being able to play baseball or football. But hockey? I don’t know… Those guys are such superior athletes that I think we’re gonna need to find actors who are already good skaters or players who are good actors.”
With a script already in place and financing ready, Zombie also believes the hardest part of this project will be getting his fright-oriented fans (and the studios paying the bills) to accept a new artistic approach. “You know, the people that put up the money for these things know that if I stick to that sort of thing, it’s easily more profitable,” he argued, “So it’s a much bigger challenge to break out of it.”
He has a point. Last time a horror maestro ventured outside his creative comfort zone to take on a more mainstream movie conceit, Wes Craven (of ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ and ‘Last House on the Left’ fame) guided Meryl Streep (?) through ‘Music of the Heart,’ the true story of Roberta Guaspari, a Harlem music teacher who developed a violin program for underprivileged kids. While his actress went on to awards season recognition, the director was back making ‘Scream 3′ the next year.