PHILADELPHIA – Rob Zombie has gone from horror to hockey.
Zombie has ditched the slasher flicks with his latest project, a movie adaptation of the Philadelphia Flyers' famed Broad Street Bullies teams of the 1970s. The Bullies pounded their way into the hearts of Flyers fans—and became the most despised team in the NHL—while winning the franchise's only two Stanley Cup championships in 1974 and 1975.
Raised a hockey fan outside Boston, the Bullies caught Zombie's attention.
Now, he has theirs.
Zombie visited former Bullies like Bob Kelly and Bernie Parent before a Flyers game this month and toured the team's archives. He's putting the finishing touches on the script and hopes to being filming in the fall.
He posed for pictures with current Flyers and met with team brass to get a better sense of how it is the orange and black have stirred Flyers fans for decades. Zombie enjoyed meeting with the Flyers as he tried to get them to spill dirt, more than blood.
“This is the one where I try to get everyone to tell me stories they don't want to tell,” he said.
Zombie wants to film most of the movie in Philadelphia and will try and find a suitable rink to recreate the old Spectrum, site of their biggest wins, but since razed to make room for an entertainment complex.
“It's the greatest sports story ever not told, I guess,” Zombie said. “It's been told other ways but not in film. Had to do it. It reads like fiction, it's so incredible.”
The Bullies were celebrated in the documentary “Broad Street Bullies” which premiered on HBO in 2010. It was the first NHL documentary ever aired by the premium cable network.
“I thought the HBO special was really good,” Kelly said. “If anything, they could do a sequel. I thought it really depicted what we were all about. I thought it depicted the city well.”
Parent, Bobby Clarke, Dave “The Hammer” Schultz, Bill Clement, and owner Ed Snider were among the former Flyers interviewed who shared their favourite stories for HBO—from tales about their rugged style of play to the black armbands they wore when their favourite bar burned down.
So many stories have been told and numerous books written over the last three decades that it's hard to figure out what's left.
“We're certainly not going to give away any team secrets,” Kelly said. “There's been a lot of books written about the Flyers and not all of it is 100 per cent accurate.”
Zombie insisted there's more tell—and maybe some twisted ways to tell them. He called the movie a mash of “Boogie Nights” and “Rocky.”
“What I love about it is it's almost like 'Rocky,' but it's real,” Zombie said. “You watch 'Rocky,' you go, 'I wish that were real.' But it's sort of like 'Boogie Nights' meets 'Rocky.' Because I know from the 5-minute conversations I've had, that there's a lot of good stuff beside hockey going on. It's the characters.”
The heavy-metal shock rocker and founder of White Zombie found new fame as the writer-director of slasher films. Zombie previously directed the horror films “Halloween,” ''Halloween II,” ''The Devil's Rejects” and “House of 1000 Corpses.”
His albums include “Hellbilly Deluxe” and “The Sinister Urge.”
“I can't really say I listen to his music,” the 62-year-old Kelly said, laughing. “It's a bit out of my league.”
Parent had one small question for Zombie about those ol' Bullies.
“By the way, who won?” he said.
“Go see the movie,” Zombie said, laughing. “Spoiler ending.”
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