Say what you will about Rob Zombie’s movies, he created a great nerd character in House of 1000 Corpses‘ Bill Hudley. Played by the perfectly cast (and pre-The Office) Rainn Wilson, even Bill’s surname – Hudley – conjures up vivid imagery of a schlubby, Droopy-voiced nobody who perpetually pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose with a single index finger. I hear the name and I imagine some frump sitting in a work cubicle, staring into space, while his unhappy boss yells from across the office: “Hud-leeeeeey!” But I digress.
Wilson’s portrayal of Bill Hudley is not entirely far off from the description of my imagination. Our introduction to the character finds him in the middle of a roadtrip at one of those rinky-dink roadside attraction stops, the kind that only exist for the people passing through. His uncomfortable encounter with the good ol’ boy proprietor turns almost pathetic when Bill, dismissing the owner’s fondness of John Wayne and westerns, admits: “…I like science-fiction”, which he accompanies with ray-gun sound effects.
Later in the movie, Bill and his group of friends are stranded at a creepy old house amidst a rainstorm. When he’s left alone with a flirtatious blonde bombshell who lives at the house, Bill once again reverts to panic-induced awkwardness. She offers him a hot chocolate, and he starts talking about a moose head mounted on the wall, putting his hands up like antlers and emulating animal noises. It’s a painful sight to behold, but as someone who grew up gawky and bespectacled I have to say, when it came to nailing Bill Hudley, Rainn Wilson was right on the money.
Bill, we salute you.