When discussing films that focus on hockey, the discussion begins and ends with Slap Shot. Sure, there are a few other decent movies like Youngblood, Mystery Alaska and Miracle, but it’s a genre that has produced more coal than gold over the years.
But that won’t stop Hollywood from trying.
The latest hockey film gaining notoriety comes from the most unlikely individual – Rob Zombie. The head-banging, mosh-inducing musician-turned-director is reportedly switching genres and plans to write, direct and produce Broad Street Bullies, a film depicting the 1970s Philadelphia Flyers.
Famous for his brutal horror-genre blockbusters such as Halloween and House of 1000 Corpses, Zombie is going outside of his comfort zone to depict a Flyers team that was a horror on the ice.
The Broad Street Bullies were legendary for their physicality and inability to retreat from any fight. It might have been a team made up mostly of goons, but those goons could play! They brought two Stanley Cups to Philadelphia, making the team the first NHL expansion franchise to win hockey’s ultimate prize; but it’s not what those Flyers teams are best-known for accomplishing.
In 1976 the Soviet Union was making the rounds, taking on NHL teams in exhibition matches dubbed the Super Series. In their first three matches against NHL opponents, the Red Army hadn’t lost; but that changed in Philadelphia.
The Flyers played a physical game that the Soviets were not accustomed with and they were roughed up so bad that the Red Army left the ice in the first period in protest. Eventually the Soviets returned when Flyers owner Ed Snider told the team they wouldn’t get paid unless they played. The Soviets went on to lose 4-1.
It won't be the first time the story of the Bullies has been told. It has been turned into countless books and TV specials, most recent of which was a documentary that aired on HBO in 2010. However, Zombie is taking a slightly different approach and has likened his story to Rocky meets Boogie Nights on ice.
“Each character involved is more outrageous than the next,” Zombie told Deadline.com. “The backdrop of the turbulent year of 1974 is perfect for this ‘stranger than fiction’ sports tale.”
Zombie is currently in post-production on his film The Lords of Salem, but we can only imagine the project – which he will produce with Andy Gould, Les Borsai and Jeremy Blatt – will begin very shortly. He has earned the full support of the Flyers organization and former players like Bobby Clarke are excited to see just how they are depicted on the big screen.
“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,” Clarke said.
Photo Credit: AP