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Singer-filmmaker Rob Zombie has delighted and shocked audiences with his horror-rock music and his scary, violent films.
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A successful hard rock performer and horror film director, Rob Zombie was born on January 12, 1965. He first came to fame with his heavy metal band White Zombie in the 1990s, which was known for controversial lyrics and theatrical stage performances. Zombie later branched out in films with such bloody thrillers as House of 1,000 Corpses and the 2007 remake of Halloween.
"Growing up, I had the weird fantasy list: I wanted to be Alice Cooper, Steven Spielberg, and Stan Lee."
Zombie studied for a time at the Parsons School of Design. There he met Sean Yseult and the two quickly became a couple. Together they formed White Zombie, taking their name from a 1932 horror film starring Bela Lugosi. Before launching his music career, Zombie took on a number of offbeat jobs. He served as an art director for a pornographic magazine and a production assistant on the children's television show Pee-Wee's Playhouse starring Paul Reubens.
White Zombie, which sounded more alternative rock than heavy metal at first, soon got its first taste of success. The band started to develop a following with its late 1980s releases Psycho Head Blowout (1987), Soul-Crusher (1988), and Make Them Die Slowly (1989).
Signing with a major record label, Geffen, Zombie and his band hit the big time with 1992's La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1. The song "Thunder Kiss '65" helped the album become a top 30 hit the following year. But Zombie found himself under attack from evangelists for his dark, disturbing lyrics, most of which he wrote himself. He also worked on the art for the band's albums and on their music videos.
Zombie scored again with the 1995 follow-up album, Astro-Creep: 2000--Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head, which featured the hit "More Human Than Human." Behind the scenes, he was becoming dissatisfied with the band and eventually split the group up.
Zombie explored other genres around the time he broke ties with his bandmates. He worked with Mike Judge on the 1996 animated film Beavis and Butthead Do America, providing music for the soundtrack and inspiration for a dream sequence in the film. Zombie also collaborated with one of his inspirations, rocker Alice Cooper, recording the song "Hands of Death" together.
With 1998's Hellbilly Deluxe, Zombie made his first foray as a solo artist. The album did well, but he soon sought to tackle other creative challenges. Zombie designed a Halloween maze at Universal Studios in 1999. Comic books proved to be another creative outlet for Zombie. He has authored several comic books, including 2003's Rob Zombie's Spookshow International.
Universal backed Zombie's first feature film, House of 1,000 Corpses, but they refused release it after it was completed. The studio thought that the horror film was too violent. Zombie was able to get the rights back eventually, and the movie got a theatrical release in 2001. While it was a modest success, the film's sequel, Devil's Rejects (2005), did better at the box office and with critics.
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