Shock-rocker and horror-film writer and director Rob Zombie isn't frightened by serial killers, ravenous zombies or the in-bred families of cannibal killers featured in his grisly 2003 debut feature "House of 1,000 Corpses" or its creepier 2005 sequel "The Devil's Rejects."
Just thumbing through the daily newspaper is enough to send shivers down his otherwise stoic spine.
"I don't like to get into these topics because it's so depressing," says Zombie, 48. "But corporate greed is destroying this country. And the government is just another corporation that looks out for the other corporations. The welfare of the people is the last thing anyone cares about."
Zombie, who headlines the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival in Mountain View today, tries to keep his work message-free, like his new solo salvo "Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor," with industrial-strength splatterpunk anthems like "Lucifer Rising" and "The Girl Who Loved the Monsters."
And his latest flick "The Lords of Salem" is a basic gorefest, featuring his wife Sherri Moon Zombie as a DJ who is besieged by a coven of vindictive witches. It also stars scream queens Dee Wallace, Meg Foster and British legend Patricia Quinn — Magenta of "Rocky Horror Picture Show" renown.
"There's nothing that annoys people more than actors or musicians being political," he says.
Yet once Zombie puts modern society under the microscope, he can't help but see a deadly virus, mutating. "I feel bad for people that still believe the hype," he says. "Every time they close a factory and people are crying that they lost their jobs, I'm like 'You really thought that this corporation was going to take care of you for life?' If it was between you dying and a piece of machinery being saved in a fire, you'd be dead. It's all just a giant machine, and people are the most expendable part of it. It's sick, demented."
Mysteriously, any legislation not designed to turn a profit rarely gets enacted, the hardcore vegan and PETA supporter believes. Even the news is corporate-controlled, and designed to scare the hell out of the masses.
"That way they'll stay home, stay on their computers, and buy more guns, because now everyone is terrified of everyone else," he says. "Hoard all the guns you want, but who are you fighting? A drone that will just drop a bomb on you?"
So Zombie is offering some fun-filled escapes, via his Alice-Cooper-outrageous stage show, plus an elaborate new haunted house this Halloween, The Great American Nightmare, in Pomona.
"Because I can't, in good faith, say the things I've just been ranting about and not give back," he says. "When people plunk down their hard-earned money for me, I want them to see something awesome!"Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival
with Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Mastodon, Amon Amarth, Machine Head, Job for a Cowboy and more
Where: Shoreline Amphitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View
When: 1:10 p.m. today
Tickets: $31.50 to $105.70
Contact: (650) 967-3000, www.livenation.com