Rob Zombie Says Universal Fired Him After First Test Screening of 'House of 1000 Corpses'

House of 1000 Corpses - Photofest - H 2019
The filmmaker had to laugh at the situation nearly 20 years later since his film inspired a Halloween maze at Universal Studios theme parks.

Rob Zombie on Monday dropped by The Joe Rogan Experience podcast and went into detail about just what happened with his directorial debut, House of 1000 Corpses, when it was at Universal Pictures. 

Fans knew the film was originally made for Universal in 2000 and then it was apparently put on the shelf because the studio was worried it would be slapped with an NC-17 rating over its extremely graphic content. The film would finally be released in 2003 by Lionsgate.

Zombie (both an accomplished filmmaker and musician) told Rogan there was more to the story.

"I made the movie with Universal Studios and once we had the test screening — which I thought went great, but what do I know — the head of Universal at the time came up to me and said, 'We have to talk tomorrow'" Zombie explained. "And I was like, 'Oh, man. That wasn't a good tone.' That wasn't a 'You're so great we want to give you a five-picture deal' voice."

Zombie continued, "So, the next day, they dumped the movie and basically booted us out."

Rogan wanted to know about that day-two conversation, to which Zombie expanded, "Basically, 'This is unreleasable.' I don't remember word for word, but that was the conversation in a nutshell."

Zombie laid out where the studio was coming from, telling Rogan Universal had a more family friendly vibe at the time and "horror movies were not even a commercial thing at that point, in a way."

Still, Zombie had to laugh at the situation nearly 20 years later since House of 1000 Corpses inspired a maze for the annual Halloween Horror Nights just opened at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Orlando.

"I was there [Hollywood] for the grand opening and was like, 'That's funny,'" he said. "It's like, I get fired from here and 20 years later, it's a theme park attraction from the place I got fired from, which is so weird."