“Trick or treat, you are dead. I will smash your fucking head!”
Rob Zombie’s newest movie 31 is a crazy survival movie that takes place, of course, on Halloween night. From the man that brought us the cult favorites House of a Thousand Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects comes the story of 5 carnies who are kidnapped, held hostage and forced to play a sick game — with life or death consequences — called 31. While being bet upon, we see our unwitting contestants pitted against a blood thirsty group of clowns, all with a name ending in ‘Head’. For the next 12 hours. they must fight for their lives against the homicidal and twisted killers (Doom-Head, Sexy-Head, Sick-Head, Schitzo-Head, etc.) at the Murderhouse.
This movie has everyone split down the middle. Some people love it, some hate it. Rob Zombie’s 31 is not for everyone… actually, it’s not for a lot of horror fans. But the people who love it, love it a lot. I’m one of them.
According to Rob himself, “I don’t know that this movie is different from my other films. In fact, I think in some ways it’s the most me film of all of the films. Because with every film I try to push it in a different direction, and with this one I tried to take all those directions and jam them into one film.”
This is what many people are complaining about, but I enjoyed his early films and liked that this one is, in a way, all of Zombie’s cult favorites done better. That being said, I was super excited to meet Pancho Moler and Jeff Daniel Phillips from 31 at Son of Monsterpalooza. I was even more thrilled to get an interview with Pancho Moler who plays the super creepy, Nazi Hitler Clown, Sick-Head.
INTERVIEW WITH PANCHO MOLER
Los Angeles Zombie Girl: Pancho, what was is like working with Rob Zombie?
Pancho Moler: “It was a dream come true. I’ve followed his music and all of his movies. I figured if you’re going to work on a horror movie why not work with one of the best directors. He was a true professional on set, he’s an actor’s director, he knows what he wants. And when we follow that path, that journey, at the end of the day it’s just going to be beautiful. I love working with Rob, like I said it was a dream come true.”
LAZG: So how did you prepare for a crazy character like Sick-head?
PM: “Well I did my research. At first I didn’t know I was going to play a Nazi, and then you get on set and Rob says you’re going to be a Nazi Hitler clown! I’ve been wanting to answer this question for a long time, for all those people that are offended by the character. I am not a Nazi, I’m against all that. But if Rob wants you to play a Nazi, and as an actor to be able to play one of the most notorious killers of all time, that’s a huge opportunity.
And then he threw Spanish into the mix. That was a little weird, ya know? So I did my research, and why would this Nazi guy speak Spanish? Why would Sick-Head know Spanish? I started looking up things on World War 2 and the Nazis that didn’t die in Germany, a lot of them migrated to South America. Argentina, Columbia, Brazil. And one of the most infamous ones was Dr. Josef Mengele, who was Hitler’s doctor at Auschwitz. He was the guy that experimented on and tortured everyone, trying to create the superior race. This one can live, this one can die, and that really fascinated me. He was said to have died in South America years and years later.
I came up with the whole concept that that guy was fascinated with little people. When he migrated to South America he adopted a little person, brainwashed him, did lobotomies, took the whole pain sensation away. He taught him Spanish and taught him hate. That was so awesome to me, because I got to learn a little bit about history. But I kind of incorporated it into my character, so that it made sense to me. I had to dig deep.”
LAZG: What was your favorite part of making 31?
PM: “There were a lot of things in the movie that were scripted, but there were a few scenes where Rob let me and some of the other actors just improvise the whole thing, and to me I think that was some of the best stuff. It was so spontaneous, and so in the moment. You could get a reaction out of someone that you wouldn’t necessarily get if they knew what was coming. The scene with Sherri was cool because Rob said, since you’re speaking Spanish, I think it would be cool for my wife to be speaking some Spanish too, when you guys are walking down that hallway back and forth, where you’re kind of chasing her down, stalking her. So I taught her some Spanish, and she was actually pretty good, a quick learner. So we got to do that and all of that was improvised.”
“There was another scene, one of my favorite ones, where I come back into the room for Kevin Jackson’s character and that was all improvised…Kevin going, ‘I don’t know what you’re saying’ and I’m just, go with me on this. He was so great to work with. As an actor, you don’t want to out act someone, it’s not going to be good. So the job is to listen and make all the actors look good, and if the other actor is doing the same thing, then the scene’s gonna be gold.”
LAZG: What made you get into doing a horror film?
PM: “The only other horror I’ve done was American Horror Story: Freak Show. I’m not really a horror character, I play more of a jerk. And its kind of led me to play more characters where I get to be a jerk. As an actor, you take what you can get. I’m not a big time actor. I feel like my career is just starting, I’m blossoming. To be able to work with someone like Rob Zombie… why not? I don’t feel like I’m going to be a leading actor. I like to be the actor that comes in and leaves a memorable impression. Remember me. And Rob, thank God, gave me the opportunity to be able to do just that.”
LAZG: How do you think you would do if you were forced to be in a real life survival game like 31?
PM: “I don’t know, ‘cause I’m kind of a scaredy cat! But if I was held captive, I would have to fight dirty. If you’re not given a weapon, you have to bite, find a bottle, something. My odds would probably be one million to one. Ha Ha.”
Pancho Moler is not only an actor, but a talented artist. He did some of the artwork for 31 and has his own site showcasing his super cool multi-media art. For more information about this talented guy, check out the links below:
You can also go on Rob Zombie’s website to see where the cast from 31 will be at next.