Deadline reported last week that Gene Simmons, venerable Kiss bassist and shrewd purveyor of Kiss-branded merchandise, has partnered with WWE Studios to found Erebus Pictures, under whose aegis Simmons intends to finance and produce what a press release un-improvably describes as "elevated horror movies." ("Erebus," naturally, is the name of the Greek primordial deity of darkness.) The first of these films, according to the Deadline report, "follows a team of highly trained operatives who find themselves trapped inside an isolated military compound after its artificial intelligence is suddenly shut down," which does sound like a spot of bother. The second Erebus picture is set to begin production toward the end of the year.
Gene Simmons photo by Tony Nelson/Minneapolis City Pages / Rob Zombie photo by Jim Louvau/Phoenix New Times Gene Simmons and Rob Zombie
Simmons, of course, is not the first to make the sensible leap from music to seize upon horror. It was a little more than a decade ago now, in the spring of 2003, that a certain Robert Bartleh Cummings — known to rock arenas globally as Rob Zombie — made his directorial debut with House of 1000 Corpses, his lurid, ludicrous ode to the vulgarity of the Seventies slasher. Over the twelve years since, much to the surprise of critics, Zombie's second career has proven remarkably fruitful, yielding gains in everything from a John Carpenter remake to a bizarre riff on Ken Russell. That's an encouraging precedent. But it leads us to speculate: Can Gene Simmons live up to the high standard set by Zombie? Herein we put them to the test.More »