Rob Zombie: Proud to Play Maestro to Your Worst Nightmare

 Tim Becker

Metal veteran Rob Zombie headlines this summer's Rockstar Mayhem Festival, a repeat appearance to the annual multiband trek, but that's hardly the only commitment on the rocker's schedule.

Current Zombie projects include the release of his newest album, Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor, his latest film, The Lords of Salem and Great American Nightmare, his fright-fest coming to Pomona, Calif., this Halloween season. One thing that's not on the horizon: a White Zombie reunion. "We did it, and it's done," he told Consequence of Sound at a recent Mayhem stop. "And it wouldn't be good." 

Released in April, Zombie’s latest solo full-length is the fifth album he's put out since his seminal debut, 1998's Hellbilly Deluxe, but that's not to say he struggled with it. 

To the contrary. "It was the easiest record I ever made,” Zombie tells The Hollywood Reporter. Even the title's initials, VRRV, he adds, were "a happy accident. ... Because nobody can remember the title or get it right, so at least it has easy initials."

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The musician-turned-filmmaker would not claim the same of the movie business these days, however. Five features in, Zombie says creativity thrives, but funding issues always get in the way. As he sees it, there are only two types of movies: those that film companies will spend $200 million on and those with a budget of almost zero.

Having fought his way through the financing hurdles to release The Lords of Salem in April, Zombie is happy he was able to see his own filmmaking evolve -- his directorial credits include 2003's House of 1000 Corpses and 2005's The Devil's Rejects -- with more of a psychological thriller than a straight-up horror flick.

"It's a very different movie," says Zombie. "It's more like a mindf--- movie. It's not a traditional, scary jump-out-of-your-seat movie. It's more like you're trapped in a dream -- or a nightmare."

For those hoping to experience Zombie's nightmares firsthand, the master is bringing his own Great American Nightmare event to the Pomona Fairplex -- aptly renamed Fearplex. It's his latest collaboration with producers Steve Kopelman and Andy Gould, along with event music producers Kevin Lyman and John Reese.

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Zombie says the key to a worthwhile horror experience breaks down into a fairly simple equation: “Fear is just the unknown. Even if people are afraid of each other, it’s because they’re unknown to each other. That’s all it ever is.”

The event takes place over 15 nights and features a variety of attractions based on three of his films. They include Lords of Salem Total Blackout, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto 3D and Haunt of 1,000 Corpses. Live bands, professional wrestling and car shows are also on deck.

Adds Zombie: "In conjunction with the guys that do Mayhem and the Warped Tour, we put this thing together. It's a huge Halloween carnival extravaganza."

The Rockstar Mayhem Festival wraps on Aug. 4. Zombie's Great American Nightmare will run every Thursday through Sunday, from Oct. 10 to Nov. 2.

Twitter: @THRMusic

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