Woolite ad by Rob Zombie

The founded the heavy metal band White Zombie and established film director, creating the movies House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, the 2007 remake of Halloween & Halloween 2 and The Haunted World of El Superbeasto. His next film will be the upcoming The Lords of Salem. Recently finished a surreal shoot for a 30-second spot called “The Torturer” for the decidedly unscary consumer cleaning product. It features a grimy, hulking Uncle Fester-like character mangling laundy on some sinister devices. Zombie himself was wary of Woolite and issued this statement:

I just wrapped a very odd directing gig in sunny Vancouver,” Zombie said in a statement. “A very scary TV commercial for Woolite called ‘The Torturer.’ Yes, I said Woolite. This ain’t yo Mamma’s Woolite. It’s a very bizarre commercial for a product like this. Honestly, I was shocked when they called me to do it.

As part of a new ad campaign with a spooky feel reminiscent of alarming Zombie horror films, the ad debuted this week on Woolite’s Facebook page.

Jiri Kulik, GM of household marketing for Woolite’s parent company, Reckitt Benckiser, admitted with a smile that some execs were apprehensive at first:

“After some consumers in our focus groups described what their clothes go through with laundry detergent like a ‘torture,’ we got this crazy idea of the washing machine like a torture chamber for your clothes, and then we describe Woolite as the savior. When we saw the first storyboard we almost flipped from our chairs. Eventually, with testing, we got more and more comfortable with it.”

Zombie said he and his cinematographer, Brandon Trost, made the spot “more like a Tim Burton” film than something truly horrifying. There are two versions of the commercial: a darker one for Facebook and movie theaters, and a milder one for television.

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