It is quite surprising that “The Zombie Horror Picture Show” is shock rocker Rob Zombie‘s first full concert DVD in a career spanning nearly thirty years. Surprising because Zombie‘s stage show isn’t just a gig – it’s a spectacle. Filmed over two nights in front of a rabid crowd in Texas last year, “The Zombie Horror Picture Show” gives you everything you would expect from a Rob Zombie show, mixing in a handful of White Zombie classics with choice cuts from his five solo albums as the band stomp around the stage with all manner of mechanical monsters running about with excessive amounts of pyro going off every few seconds.
Bizarrely, the band open with ‘Teenage Nosferatu Pussy’ from latest album “Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor”, which is a fine song but a show opener it isn’t. However, the slow grind and shout-a-long chorus do get the crowd warmed up for the run of sure-fire hits that follow – ‘Superbeast’, ‘Super Charger Heaven’, ‘Living Dead Girl’ (complete with lingering shots of topless women in the audience), their excellent cover of Grand Funk Railroad‘s ‘We’re an American Band’ and ‘More Human Than Human’ are all rolled out one after another as the band barely let up, which is to their credit as their masks and costumes can’t make it easy to perform in.
Zombie himself is on terrific form, running and dancing around like an escaped madman and bellowing out his horror movie lyrics without losing any of the spark or energy that has long been a trademark of his live shows. His multiple costume changes and novelty line in microphone stands – the full skeleton one he drags around the stage during ‘House of 1000 Corpses’ looking particularly cool and giving Rob the look of a freakish undertaker – all add to the flamboyant and ghoulish feel of the show and, naturally, we get all sorts of horror movie imagery playing on huge screens as the band play.
The middle section of the show sees the band going through some of the more recent albums as ‘Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga’, ‘Angry Red Planet’ and a very stompy ‘Mars Needs Women’ are greeted with rapturous applause before a final run that includes an atmospheric ‘Lords of Salem’, ‘Thunder Kiss ’65’ and a show-closing ‘Dracula’. It’s a fantastic show, with the band on fire (nearly literally) and covering all the bases with the setlist (although ‘Black Sunshine’ is conspicuous by its absence), but there are no extras on the disc except for a photo gallery which is something of a disappointment after having just watched nearly ninety minutes of musical mayhem. A featurette on how it was all put together could have been a fun little extra.
As with most live DVDs, it’s really a case of preaching to the converted as the fans are going to buy it anyway and if you’re not already a fan of the band then why would you want it? However, a Rob Zombie concert is something that should be seen by everybody as an example of how to put on a show. Forget all that pointless shoe-gazing and bland Saturday night television music shows – “The Zombie Horror Picture Show” is everything a rock show should be and all props to Rob Zombie for finally capturing it on film. Probably be the best thing he’s put his name to since The Devil’s Rejects.