Rob Zombie Tackles Broad Street Bullies

Trading horror for hockey

Kevin Smith has been a bit quiet about Hit Somebody lately, and there's now another hockey movie making its way to the ice. Rob Zombie is set to direct, write and produce Broad Street Bullies, a film about the Philadephia Flyers set during their notorious 1974/75 season.

Zombie, the metal musician turned director of House Of 1000 Corpses, The Devil's Rejects and the most recent two Halloweens, has been looking for a non-horror project for some time. He toyed with sci-fi in the aborted Blob remake, and has often talked about a kind of grindhouse biker drama called Tyrannosaurus Rex. But this looks to be the first time he'll actually be able to step outside his current genre.

That's not to say Broad Street Bullies doesn't have the scope to be as punishingly violent or gory as the rest of Rob's screen CV, however. The Flyers won the Stanley Cup in both the '73/'74 and '74/'75 seasons, but their success was down to bone-crushing tactics. As well as Broad Street Bullies, they were nicknamed The Mean Machine, The Fightin' Flyers, and Freddy's Philistines (after coach Fred Shero).

Enforcer (or "Goon") Dave Schultz racked up 472 penalty minutes in '74/'75, which is a still unbroken NHL record. Deadline quote a story about the Russian Red Army team getting so badly pummeled in the first quarter of a Flyers game that they refused to return to the ice until they were told they wouldn't get paid if they didn't finish. There was also a surreal game in Buffalo, New York, played in heavy fog, because there was a heatwave on and the Buffalo arena had no air conditioning.

Plenty to play with, in other words. "Each character involved is more outrageous than the next," says Zombie. "The backdrop of the turbulent year of 1974 is perfect for this stranger-than-fiction sports tale." He likens the film to a kind of Rocky meets Boogie Nights on ice.

Former player and team senior vice president Bobby Clarke has given his and the team's full support, saying, "The great Rob Zombie making a drama feature film about the Broad Street Bullies is exciting and thrilling for all of us! I look forward to seeing it.”

Zombie is currently in post-production on his Lords Of Salem, after which he wants to go back to the studio and make a new album. Expect Broad Street Bullies to get moving sometime next year.