Johnny Lee Johns, better known as Captain Spaulding or Cutter, is a fictional character created by Rob Zombie. He was portrayed by Sid Haig in House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil's Rejects and 3 From Hell. In House of 1000 Corpses Spaulding is the proprietor of Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen.
Johnny Lee Johns was born on April 13th, 1918 in El Paso, Texas. He spent a small part of his childhood in an orphanarium in Ruggsville, Texas. At some point, he was adopted by the Altamont family. Johnny Lee would soon grow very close to his adoptive brother Charlie. Johnny developed an interest in sideshow deformities and violent crime photography, foreshadowing his future as Captain Spaulding. He began his murder spree under the alias 'Mr. Ding-Dong'. Charlie would refer to him as Cutter after Johnny Lee stabbed a man to death, which he would take as his name.
Around the fall of 1947, Cutter met Eve Wilson (later to be known as Mother Firefly). She already had two children of her own, Rufus and Tiny. Cutter lived with Eve, even raising a child with her, Vera-Ellen. During the summer of 1965, Otis B. Driftwood, wandered into Ruggsville County. He and Otis quickly became close companions and rivals. The two would often fight for control of the family. Otis was asked to live with the family, Otis called 'the Fireflys'. It was he who also first referred to Cutter as 'Captain Spaulding'.
At the beginning of 1968, Cutter and Charlie, began using another alias, 'Wolf J. Flywheel', in the tradition of Cutter's new family's Groucho fascination. He began running an illegal moonshine business from Charlie's ranch. Cutter saw this as a way of raising money in order to build a facility which Cutter could use to share his two loves — serial murder and fried chicken — with the world.
Sometime during this period Charlie and Otis encountered each other at Charlie's ranch, now doubling as a cut price brothel. This encounter lead to hostility towards Charlie from Otis. What caused this is unclear but it is thought that Charlie was supplying local law enforcement officials with hooch and women behind Cutter's back and keeping all the proceeds.
In 1971, Cutter, now going by the name of Captain Spaulding, began his work building the now infamous road side attraction, Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen. Only five years after the beginning of its construction, the museum was attracting tourists from all over the country to experience the new Dr. Satan attraction which was based on tales recounted to Cutter by Otis and Vera-Ellen, now known as Baby, about a local madman who ran a cult that the two were briefly members of. The Firefly family would incorporate the legend of Dr. Satan into their grisly murder spree as a way to lure curious droves of people to search for his hanging site.
Role in House of 1000 Corpses
In House of 1000 Corpses Spaulding is the proprietor of Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen. At the beginning, Spaulding is robbed by Killer Karl and Richard Wick. Instead of complying with their demands, he mocks them and eventually kills them. Spaulding's infamous Murder Ride is the catalyst which motivates the teenagers to investigate Dr. Satan, who was featured during the ride. This later leads to the teens' encounters with the Firefly clan and their eventual deaths.
Spaulding's role in the film isn't as large as in the sequel but his presence is definitely felt and observed.
Role in The Devil's Rejects
Spaulding's role is expanded in the second film, The Devil's Rejects as his role as the patriarch of the Firefly family is revealed. After the Firefly House is raided by Sheriff Wydell and the cops, Baby and Otis reunite with Spaulding. He takes them to Charlie's for refuge, but Charlie is bullied by Wydell into giving them up.
The insane sheriff takes them back to their house where he proceeds to torture them. After stapling a picture of one of Otis's victims to his chest, Wydell takes out a picture of one of Baby's victims. Spaulding tries to take credit for his daughter's crime, so she won't get hurt, but his effort is in vain as he can only watch as Wydell tortures her.
Wydell takes Baby outside to kill her and lights the house on fire so Otis and Spaulding will die. It is only the last minute intervention of Tiny that saves them. As Spaulding and Baby are reunited, the two cry in each other's arms.
Later, the family drives down an open highway only to be faced by a wall of officers. Otis hands Spaulding the biggest gun (an act, according to Sid Haig and Bill Moseley, that symbolizes Otis finally handing Spaulding the reins to the family's leadership in their last moments) and they head off in one final blaze of glory before being presumably shot to death by the police. It was later revealed all three of them lived and were taken into police custody which is where “3 From Hell” will pick up when released in 2019.
Role in 3 From Hell
Initially planned to have a larger role in 3 From Hell, Captain Spaulding only appears in one scene. Early in the film, he is put to death by lethal injection.
Director Rob Zombie stated that Spaulding was initially supposed to appear throughout the entire film, but due to Haig just having surgery, he was only approved for 2 days work. Instead of using the full amount of time he was given, Zombie chose to cut Haig's part down to just 4 pages. When Haig found out what Zombie had done, he was not going to sign his contract for the film. When Lions Gate told him that they would cancel the film entirely if he was not in it, knowing how much the fans wanted the movie, Haig signed on.
- "If I wanted to listen to an asshole, I'd fart!" (Worn on a T-shirt)
- "Howdy folks! You like blood? Violence? Freaks of nature? Well then, come on down to Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen. See the Alligator Boy, ride my famous Murder Ride. Most of all, don't forget to take home some of my tasty fried chicken! Ha ha! It just tastes so damn good!"
- "Fuck yo mamma! Fuck yo sister! Fuck yo grandma! But most of all... FUCK YOU!"
- "That retard who hangs out at Molly's fruit stand? For the life of me, I do not understand why you hang out with that asshole."
- "You miserable motherfucker, I ought to leap over this counter and bash your fuckin' balls in!"
- "Goddamn, motherfucker got blood all over my best clown suit."
- "Yeah, cute kid. Ain't my type though. You know, I like 'em with a little more meat on 'em. Ha ha. The bigger the cushion, the sweeter the pushin'."
- "See I have some top secret clown business that supersedes any plans you might have for this here vehicle."
- "Do I stutter, bitch?"
- Where the hell you goin'? Damn it. Don't you NEVER turn your back on a fuckin' clown when he's talkin' to you!"
- "What's the matter kid, don't you like clowns? Why? Don't we make ya laugh? Aren't we fuckin' funny? You best come up with an answer, cos I'm gonna come back here and check on you and your momma and if you ain't got a reason why you hate clowns, I'm gonna kill your whole fucking family."
- "If you're gonna start the killing, you best start it right here. Make sure I'm all the way dead, because I'll come back and make you my bitch!"
- "You know? I think I'm gonna get me some tutti fucking frutti."