Well this was certainly unexpected!  Rob Zombie is currently finishing up post-production on his next horror opus, The Lords of Salem*.  While said project does not yet have a distributor, it is expected to be snapped up shortly and conjure its way into theaters by the end of 2012.  What will the shock rocker/director do next?  Well, a new album for one.

Rob has a system in place these days that basically amounts to album-movie-album and it seems to work.  Songs are typically written during post-production on whatever cinematic endeavor he is embroiled in and scripts are written while on tour with his band.  Because of this, Rob tends to be cagey about his next film until he’s in the middle of a tour.  Most have assumed that the oft-mentioned Tyrannosaurus Rex, his mysterious biker project, would finally come to fruition as his sixth film.  While T-Rex is still very much in the works, it seems that it will have to wait a bit longer.  What has usurped its position?  A hockey biopic.

Broad Street Bullies, to be specific.  Yep, a film centered on the Philadelphia Flyers, who were the focus in an HBO doc of same name.  The Flyers managed to rise from a nothing of an expansion team to a force to be reckoned with during the 1970s.  Many seem to be clamoring about how outside of his wheelhouse this is for Zombie, but I disagree.  While I’m no sports fan, this is the tale of team that apparently racked up as many penalties as they did scores.  A crazy group of bloodthirsty men who swear like sailors and brutally take what they want?  Replace the rink with a backwater locale and it already sounds like “a Rob Zombie film”.  Add to the fact that it will be a ‘70s-set period piece and the connection becomes even clearer.  Is it different?  Of course.  Will it sit ill-fittingly alongside his other work?  Somehow I doubt it.

Rob has compared the tone he is aiming at as a mixture of Rocky and Boogie Nights.  Attention-grabbing statement or not, he has my interest piqued.  I also have to give the man credit for trying something different…which cannot be said of most directors these days.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’d rather watch someone with a vision fail than catch whatever bland piece of shit that rolls into theaters on any given weekend.

“Each character involved is more outrageous than the next,” Zombie said. “The backdrop of the turbulent year of 1974 is perfect for this ‘stranger than fiction’ sports tale.”

Zombie snapped up the rights himself, so it is definitely a subject he is actively interested in.  Financing is not yet in place, but things seem to be moving very quickly on this project.  I won’t be too surprised if it finds its way onto screens sometime next year.

While we still have one more dose of terror coming our way from the man, it is clear that Rob Zombie doesn’t want to be known simply as a “horror filmmaker”.  I’d say doing a sports biopic and biker action flick are solid ways of making that end goal possible.  Will he succeed and have a varied career or end up retreating back to the genre that brought him to fortune & fame?  Let’s find out together!

Source | Deadline

* – Which will now be the wonderful Richard Lynch’s last film.   Forever a “hey, it’s THAT guy!” character actor, Lynch appeared in such films as varied as The Ninth Configuration, The Seven Ups, God Told Me To, Deathsport, Scarecrow, The Sword and the Sorcerer, etc.  All accounts point towards the main being a consummate professional that gave his all every time, no matter the project.  Best known for his turn as Chuck Norris’ nemesis in Invasion USA, Lynch will be seen as a witch-hunting reverend in Zombie’s supernatural horror film.  There is no word on the cause of death at this time.  He was 76.

Richard Lynch