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Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare @ LA County Fearplex – November 2nd 2013

That time of year has come and gone again, folks. While some of you may get the blues the day after Christmas or your birthday, the day of seasonal depression for me is November 1st. Thankfully, Rob Zombie let me keep the Halloween spirit alive for another 48 hours.

Halloween and Rob Zombie go together like Michael Myers and a freshly deflowered virgin. I’m surprised it took him so long to put his own haunted maze event together. This event was similar to other events of the same nature, except through the demented filter that only Rob Zombie can provide.

Upon entry I was greeted by what looked like members from Hell’s marching band, banging on the metal gate at unsuspecting guests. After making it past the clogged entry way, filled with people who were a little too afraid, the first thing I saw was a water fountain painted red with light. This was dubbed the Blood Fountain for the event. Walking around there was always something to look at, whether it be the Rob Zombie museum, which consisted of stage props he’s used over the years, old horror films playing on a big screen, or scare actors sliding on their knees and scaring the hell out of guests. There were even boardwalk-style games and a carousel to complete the demented carnival feel of the night.

There were three haunted mazes to walk through, but you had to do them all at once. First up was The Lords of Salem, based on the film directed by Mr. Zombie himself. The start is nothing short of disorienting as your head is covered by a hood and you have to feel your way through the maze. There were a few (maybe too few) scares from actors as we walked through, but the maze mostly relied on sound effects and the sensation of being blind. A brilliant concept that I have never seen before, and that I am sure will mature by next year.

Up next was The Haunted World of El Superbeasto in 3D, based on the comic book and animated film. This one was definitely more in line with the over the top, stylized vibe of the carnival outside on the Bloody Boulevard. To sum up the maze in a sentence would be hard, but let’s just say this: you start off by walking through a giant pair of legs and right into a bright, pink vagina. This maze was definitely in tune with the tone of the film.

And of course, the third and final maze was House of 1000 Corpses. Besides your occasional run in with Baby or Captain Spaulding, this maze was basically an extended version of the Murder Ride from the film. It was definitely straight ahead horror, which was a nice contrast to the humour of the previous maze.

The popularity and consequential long line of the mazes caused me to miss the first band 45 Grave, so I apologize to their fans for that. I have seen them before and they always play a lively set, as I’m sure they did this evening. However, I was front and centre for Powerman 5000, who rose to fame in the late 1990’s and are still alive and well. They have a command of the stage and were a fun way to kick off the night. The band is fronted by singer Spider One, who also happens to be the younger brother of Rob Zombie. As would be expected, the crowd went nuts when they played “When Worlds Collide”. The rest of the set was full of energy and got the crowd primed for the rest of the night.

Eagles of Death Metal took the stage after a short break. I was unfamiliar with their music prior to the show, but they put on a fun live show. All four members of this 70’s-influenced rock band seemed to be having a blast throughout their set. They even got into the Halloween spirit, with one of the guitarists dressed as a wizard and the drummer dressed as Alex from A Clockwork Orange. There seemed to be a good number of people attending the night specifically for them, front row centre, singing along to every word. But I do hope they stuck around to watch what came next.

After much anticipation the stage went dark, the fog machines kicked on, and the ominous sounds of “Theme For The Rat Vendor” rang from speakers. The band slowly appeared and everybody knew it was time to cap the evening off as only Rob Zombie knows how. The video screens on the stage lit up with footage from the classic horror film Nosferatu, and the band launched into their first song Teenage Nosferatu Pussy. To reassure the audience that it would be an energetic night, Zombie went right into the one-two punch of Superbeast and Meet the Creeper. Then, the speakers blared with “I, Zombie”, a song that Rob Zombie has not played live since the late 90s, which was a welcome addition to the usual White Zombie songs “Thunder Kiss ’65” and “More Human Than Human”. They covered ground from almost all of the albums except Hellbilly Deluxe II, which was notably missed, but the rest of the set was solid. Every song was backed by a video created specifically for the stage show and songs. “House of 1000 Corpses” and “Lords of Salem” were backed by footage from their respective films. The only complaint I would have had would be the lack of pyrotechnics, which Rob Zombie took a moment to address, letting the audience know that the venue would not allow it. For some reason, I’m sure that nobody in the audience was too let down by it.

If you have never seen Rob Zombie live, do yourself a favor and stop waiting. Check to see if his current co-headlining tour with Korn is stopping anywhere near you, and just go and enjoy the diabolical entertainment.

Rob Zombie

Powerman 5000

Eagles of Death Metal

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