on April 25, 2013
I've read so much hate and disgust for Rob Zombies newest film "The Lords Of Salem" that I've been eagerly awaiting to see it myself not just because I love Robs work but also to see what all the fuss is about. It is an evil as hell horror movie if you allow yourself to get sucked into what is happening in the film, not as a fan or critic but just as someone experiencing a piece of art that is meant to leave you in awe. I feel that the lords is a true horror film that is definitely outside of the box and range of casual mainstream horror movie goer. It's root are deep in horror and deals with something that can truly be horrifying, Witchcraft and The Devil.
Of course this isn't a film for everyone, someone looking for another gore fest or cookie cutter teeny bopper horror film should look else where as "The Lords of Salem" is a horror film that stands out from the norm in every way possible and delivers itself as a true horror experience.
All these websites, blogs, and reviewers can trash the film but its obvious to me they just don't know a true piece of horror when they see it, one site or actually person in particular is Brad Miska from bloody-disgusting.com, I think he is a horrible reviewer for their website and has bad taste in movie choices. You want to read a review, than check out zombiehamster.com review for the lords, its dead on - zombiehamster.com/reviews/theatrical-release/the-lords-of-salem-2012/.
So now let the hate begin, I know all you angry reviewers/movie watchers out there can't wait to trash my review and give it a bunch of "Unhelpful" votes which is fine, I knew what I was getting myself into. Regardless "The Lords of Salem" is something the horror genre needed weather you liked it or not.
on May 3, 2013
Since he transcended from the realm of Rockstar to Film Auteur with "House of a 1000 Corpses", Rob Zombie has had mostly a love-hate relationship with his fans. And with his latest release, "Lords of Salem", Zombie, proves that this will be much of the same. Despite the fact that this time around, [Rob] Zombie is completely thinking outside the norm of what has been his filming style and technique. Where before he set out for a certain shock value, with "Lords" Zombie has given us a very atmospheric, almost trippy film that borrows elements from such other masters of horror as Cronenberg, Polanski and Lynch.
If "Lords of Salem" was made in the 1970's (perhaps even as late as 1981) then it would have been hailed as an iconic horror film, much in the same way as such other greats of the genre of that time, as Dario Argento's "Suspiria", "Rosemary's Baby" or even that of Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining". Sadly, however, the film finds life in 2013 where most of the audiences that will go and see it will neither understand or have the patience for Zombie's latest creation.
We find ourselves following along the life of DJ Heidi Hawthorn (aka Heidi LaRox), played by Sheri Moon Zombie, living life in Salem, Massachusetts, as night time radio's hottest DJs. When One night after a show with her cohorts and hosts Herman `Whitey' Salvador (Jeff Daniel Phillips) and Herman Jackson (Ken Foree), Heidi receives an old wooden box containing a vinyl record and a note saying it is from the band The Lords. Heidi takes the box home, and while she and Whitey are hanging around Heidi's apartment, Whitey plays the record. The music is mostly made up of string instruments being played in some strange rhythmic beat. The music, however, invokes a vision of days past for Heidi (and that of Salem) who sees what happens to a coven of supposed "real" witches back in the days that would get you killed for practicing or even being accused of witchcraft. The next night Herman puts the record up for the typical radio gig of Smash or Trash, dubbing the band The Lords of Salem. However, those women that are descendants of Salem that are listening to the show are hypnotised by the sound; stopping what they are doing entranced. Much in the sameway Heidi was the night before. Unaware at the time, the music triggers something inside Heidi that sends her spiralling out of control as she begins to see and deal with things that can not possibly be real.
Like many 70's films of the like, and while the film is set in modern day it has a definite 1970's feel to it, Zombie does as little as possible in the way of character development. Just giving you the bare essentials (Early in the film we see Heidi taking shots with her co-hosts after the job only later to find out that she is a recovering junkie. A fact sort of come into play later in the film.) of backstories for them. Replaced instead with more backstory when it comes to plot. Although, that does not take away from the film. Zombie gives just as much as needed and doesn't get bogged down in useless or over dialogued scenes. Which is good. While I do not mind (as others) that Zombie puts his wife Sheri in all his films, her acting is quite limited, and at times with this film it is painfully so. As Zombie stretches Sheri Moon's acting ability and is a far cry from what she has done before. Zombie also has abandoned the shaky, handheld almost documentary style of camera work from his previous films. Replaced now with thought out scenes shot on steady cameras using 35mm film; fantastic lighting and set designs with a moving, moody score that draws the viewer inside this strange world where a sect of ancient witches are hell bent in bring the Devil's child into our world. The plot is nothing new when it comes to this style and genre but Zombie makes it his own.
I can see the influences that Zombie has when it comes to horror. "Lords" is much in the way of "Rosemary's Baby" was when it comes to subject matter; "The Shining" where the tension builds through the slow pace of the film helped with a heavy score; scenes that highlighted (while not of the 70's, but just as insane) "Twin Peaks". Though if it were made by Argento instead of Lynch.
"Lords of Salem" took me a little while to absorb. I was lucky enough to have seen it in an empty theater with no distractions that plague today's movie going experience, because in my opinion (an opinion that Rob Zombie will only half agree with) is that this film, to get the true experience, needs to be seen in the theater. Although a mostly, if not fully, empty theater. I believe the impact of the visuals will be lost when it comes to BluRay, and won't lend the same stimulation of the cortex of the mind that of the big screen.
Like with Sheri Moon, we find the usual Rob Zombie stand ins. Although, timeout if you blink you will miss Sid Haig and Michael Berryman. The real standout, acting wise, is Jeff Daniel Phillips (aka the Geico Caveman). Phillips brings forth a certain reality and believability to his character.
Love it or hate it, Zombie, with "Lords of Salem, does exactly what he sets out to do with the audience with the visuals, the sound and added factor of a creepy-ass, empty theater: the film sits with you long after it is finished. Leaving to think and discuss with others about what the hell you have just sat through.
on April 26, 2013
went and caught a late showing of lords of salem the other night, and i was rewarded for my efforts, as I absolutely adored it. there were five other people in the theater, which kind of surprised me, and two of them left mid way through. I think that kind of sums up how esoteric a movie it was, and I'm amazed something so specific and particular can still get made. it was disturbing, beautiful, blasphemous, and, strangely, it left me feeling kind of upbeat.
the story is basically about immolated witches using what looked like a 78 rpm record in the present time to crack the doorway open for their return via the descendants of their executors. the vehicle for their musical transmission is local salem deejay Heidi hawthorne, played by sheri moon zombie, who really does a nice job, i thought. not perfect, but alternately energetic and morose, and always working hard. in her alone moments, i thought she was most effective, conveying simultaneously what recovering from addiction must be like, as well as what demonic entities entering her head must be like. she's lost, and nothing helps you get found like a coven of modern-day practicing witches. this film, less than zombie's others, is filled with more seemingly normal people, though many turn out to be not so. i really thought judy geeson, patricia quinn, and (especially) dee wallace were awesome as the coven of witches lurking under heidi's nose. they worked well together, were funny and dark, and, by the end, were very much who I was rooting for. bruce davison in full jeff bridges regalia was awesome as always, and ken foree and jeff Daniel Phillips were their usual, hardworking, effective selves. special mention must be made of meg foster, who is sublimely uncomfortable as the crone witch leader of yore.
i was sad that parts such as Barbara crampton's were excised from the film, as well as, i imagine, more of sid haig's and Michael berryman's. i suspect, while editing, rob knew some of his vision had to be shortened and focused. i hope the dvd will have a lot of the deleted scenes, so we can see more of lords. but he was wise to keep this movie at around one hundred minutes. it felt the perfect length.
i'm so glad I caught lords of salem before it was driven from theaters, as it really demands a theater to be best appreciated. brandon trost's lens is wide and sweeping at times, saturated with bright, bleeding colors, deep tones and textures. he captures the grey that is massachusetts to perfection, and he adds weight to every interior shot in the movie..
as has been talked about, there are moments that feel very kubrick-y, and others that recall roman polanski or dario argento. ken russell's presence is also felt, and i think there's definitely some strong david lynch and david cronenberg vibes floating through this delightful movie. but make no mistake, rob is flexing his talents and artistry, and it's all his. lords of salem is his auteur masterpiece. gone are the seemingly derivative homages, and what stands is more subtle, or more overt, or more streamlined into the movie, both in terms of the story, as well as its' visuals. I'm not saying I mind the rest of rob's work, cus I don't, I love it, but the man is progressing. I've heard he's gonna leave horror for a bit. that's fine, but I hope it's only temporary. His work is such a beautiful and courageous and ferocious amalgam of of images and ideas, it would be a shame for our genre to lose him, especially has it has been very much hordes of reactionary and angry horror fans who direct venom his way. but it is the polarizing nature of his work that contributes to what makes him an awesome and integral filmmaker, adding to his skill, his love--really, really informed and ardent love--of the genre, and his irreverence. he provokes conversation, passion, emotion, energy, debate. just like good art should. I love him, and happily paid for my ticket. I wish I could have paid more.
the music is perfect and the use of the velvet underground's venus in furs and all tomorrow's parties fits it like a glove; twas good to hear in booming theater sound. The final sequence is one of the best uses of music at the end of a movie that I have ever seen. It's been in my head all day. rob has shown a real evolution in his dialogue, and it was pleasant to hear conversations free of insane expletives. cleverly, he is still able to elicit disgust in much of the dialogue, simply by being smart and describing awful things well, or benign things horribly. the set design was fantastic, the lighting noticeably brilliant, and the outfits had an argento-esqe level of thoughtfulness and appropriateness. i also must admit that I loved the amount of smoking in the movie (real people smoke, dammit, especially when they are stressed). whenever tense moments in movies occur, and no one smokes, it loses credibility for me. I also love that, in a rob zombie movie, you can count on people watching old, black and white movies in every background teevee. even the wonderful elizabeth montgomery manages to find her way into the film, which made my heart sing a bit.
finally, i hafta mention how gloriously irreverent religiously it was. it was almost gleeful in it's satanism, and really kind of poses questions like "why do we just assume satanism is worse than and more barbaric than christianity?" man, go satan! it's too bad lords couldn't have gotten enuf pub or a wide enuf release to get on the radar of and start offending religious groups. that might have brought more folks to the theater.
as always, i come away from a rob zombie movie feeling strangely uplifted, and appreciative of how good life can be, how beautiful and wonderful. this is kind of a nice effect his movies have on me, and seems antithetical to their content. but lords of salem was no exception, and, by it's end, I was smiling ear to ear.
just a quick word on the blu ray: it's absolutely gorgeous. if you weren't fortunate enuf to see this on a big screen, it really demands to be seen in crisp, beautiful blu. this movie is, above all else, extremely visual, the sets, the color palette, the salem scenery. i watched slack jawed as i immersed myself in the textured, sumptuous visual amazingness. unfortunately, the blu ray, while beautiful, is pretty bare bones, practically no extras of any kind. let's get a version of this with extras, man! deleted scenes! commentaries! making of featurettes!
on September 7, 2013
I loved every Rob Zombie movie before this to the point that I bought them all on DVD and watched them at least 10 times each. Unfortunately, this one let me down and if not for the insanely smokin ' hot Sheri Moon-Zombie, I wouldn't have even finished watching it. Starts pretty good and turns to just a nonsense movie halfway thru.
What are we supposed to believe happened as the credits roll? What happens to her and the reencarnated witches and what effect does this Devil's child cause to the world? Very similar to Rosemary's Baby, except senseless. I would love to see a Halloween 3 or a Devil's Rejects movie as a Rob Zombie movie next.
Still tho, Sheri M-Z is a wonderful talent and needs to be seen in more than just her husbands flicks.
on April 21, 2013
This film is proving to be a divisive one among critics and fans, but that's to be expected coming from Rob Zombie. If you like his other movies, I'd wager you'll like this one as well. If you are not a fan of Rob Zombie, there's less chance you'll enjoy this, however I'd recommend still giving it a try and not dismissing it outright. When he's in top form (Devil's Rejects) Mr. Zombie can craft unique, high energy works; when he's not in top form (Halloween 2) his work can tend to be self-indulgent, weird for weirdness' sake and needlessly vulgar. Nevertheless, as hit-or-miss as he is, I find it impossible not to love Rob Zombie, due to the clear passion he has for his work, his desire to make something unique, and his obvious respect and love for horror films of all eras.
I'd say this film represents Zombie at his best; he's created a fascinating, horrifying, uniquely creepy ride full of grisly imagery that will embed itself in your brain and stay there long after the film ends. The film is beautifully shot, especially considering the low budget, the score by the wonderful John 5 is ominous and chilling, and the atmosphere evokes the work of Kubrick, Friedkin and Bava.
Now, as I said, this is a divisive work, and you may very well not like it as much as I did; the story is thin, the subject matter is ruthlessly explicit and by the end the plot (such as it is) mostly disappears and the film resembles a long and evil black metal music video more than a movie. Nevertheless, I think this is a beautifully grotesque work by Rob Zombie and I'd recommend all horror fans at least give it a try.
on September 4, 2013
Oooooh, where to start?
Sheri Moon Zombie - who, at a MILF-y 42, looks ridiculous trying to pull off 20-something crust punk dreads-tats-and-filthy-clothing - plays a D-list radio personality who gets stalked by a coven of witches and forced to give birth to their anti-Christ so they can over throw Christianity and take over the world. I think. They never actually say what their plan is or why they're doing what they do.
From the outset, Rob forgoes any sort of plot innovation or character development and banks completely on the shock value of anti-Christian blasphemy to keep the audience interested. So you'd think he'd at least hire capable writers, but no. The dialog is the kind of corny, hilariously over the top heresy you'd find in the diaries of upper-middle-class adolescent boys who listen to too much black metal.
The visuals are either boring, done to death, or just plain stupid. Naked fat chicks wear trash bags on their heads and sing dark hymns while guys dressed up as the pope masturbate technicolor dildos. Blood is puked. Babies are sacrificed. Goats are humped. Bigfoot lurks by at one point.
Zombie uses twice the violence, gore, and blasphemy as the classics like The Exorcist or Rosemary's Baby, yet manages to achieve half - if that - of their stunning effect. Who can forget the cross scene with Reagen, or the snake eyes peering up at Rosemary from the black crib? Rob's answer to those classic scenes? Sheri Moon giving birth to a squealing mass of tentacles that looks like a child's sweet potato experiment left to grow in the sugar water a little too long. Good luck taking the world over with a "King" so deformed you can't even tell which end to put the diaper on, Satanists. Way to go.
on April 30, 2013
Rob Zombie is among the last of a rare breed. They don't make movies like this anymore. This film is not for everyone. Immature people won't have the attention span for it. Or they will ignorantly laugh at the nudity scenes. This film is a true gem. It's like some beautiful lost film from the late 60s/70s. It's like Polanski, Kubrick, and Kenneth Anger all in one. Some sort of deformed satanic child that spawned from an orgy of Rosemary's Baby, The Shining, Eraser Head, Susperia, and Invocation Of My Demon Brother (w/ Anton LaVey)
The shots are beautifully executed. The acting is fabulous. This is how horror movies are supposed to be. This is not some teenage high action horror flick like Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, etc... This is not a slasher film. If you wanted to see a ton of violence and gore, there are other films for that. No, this movie is a slow paced, psychological burn. It's very dark and not for kids.
My ONLY criticism would be that the character development is slightly lacking. I feel this film would have befitted from being much longer, with even more creepy scenes and much more dialogue so we, the audience, can learn more about the characters.
Rob Zombie was forced to heavily stray from his original script intentions due to money and time constraints. He wasn't able to shoot everything he wanted to and so this film is what it is. It's quite brilliant and extremely dark and trippy. I do wish he would have had the time and money to film exactly what he wanted, but oh well. It's one hell of a movie, and if you really want to know what would have been, I'd suggest purchasing his novel of the same name, The Lords of Salem. It's based around his original script and fills in a lot of gaps.
I highly recommend this film to lovers of classic and cult horror. Those of you with a true appreciation for the macabre. Many will hate this film. I think it's amazing!
Another film that comes to mind when describing Lords of Salem is "Antichrist", by Lars Von Trier. I highly recommend this film as well. It has the same trippy elements and a very slow paced, terrifying horror.
on April 20, 2014
Ahhh, where to begin? My husband is a huge fan of Zombie, and even though he heard the horrible reviews, he decided to give it a go. What a waste of our time. This movie is nothing more than an artsy-fartsy shock film. It's interpretations are awful, the story progression is inexplicable at times, and the acting is so dry, I felt I needed a glass of water just to swallow it.
Now, onto the insulting parts of the movie. If you are a dabbler in occult arts, or witchcraft, you may be mentally bludgeoned by the straight blasphemy of the entire film. I know I was insulted with the depiction of Satan/Lucifer (he looked like a chubby dwarf/baby/goat thing), and I am flabbergasted as to why there was a Sasquatch in a room with a neon cross. I mean, I get that they're trans-dimensional beings and stuff, but c'mon... If you want to see a bunch of middle aged women dancing stark naked around a fire, this is your film. Not only that, but they appear naked in almost every scene! Huzzah! You can also check out faceless priests jerking off with multi-colored jelly dildos! I mean, who WOULDN'T want to watch this piece of 'art'? And just wait until you see the anti-Christ. I couldn't tell which end was up, and I am pretty sure Cthulhu is looking for it's spawn.
The flash scenes are hardly shocking (more like expected) and most of the time are scattered and make little to no sense whatsoever. Literally halfway in, and I was begging to watch a different movie. I despise gore, but I watch these types of movies with my husband. Even though there WAS gore in this movie, it wasn't as emotionally disturbing to me as other movies. I think the dryness of the acting contributed to the non-believable aspect of it.
Of course, it seemed that the flashes of gore are the remnants of Zombies past, trying to scream for resurrection from this vile pit of filth they were dropped in. (This movie, of course)
But my husband is stronger than I. He pushed through to the very end, hoping for a light at the end of this never-ending tunnel of drudgery. Alas! There it was.....we were saved. The credits began to roll...and for the first time in two hours, I was actually excited.
on November 16, 2013
I'm honestly surprised this one doesn't have higher ratings but then again I guess this isn't for everybody. If you're a fan of Rob Zombie's previous films I would certainly recommend this one as I think it is an improvement over the last few. This is a very dark film but I would assume that's what most people are looking for in an R rated horror movie. If you're like me and are getting tired of the same formula for horror being repeated over and over again you should check this out. Anyone with a weak stomach however should probably skip this one. Lords of Salem has a very surreal and visceral feel to it which (in my opinion) generally fits well with the horror genre, so if you're into that kind of thing you should try this one out, but I would recommend renting it first since this doesn't have an extremely wide appeal.
on September 5, 2013
In the beginning, there is the mysterious apartment 5 at the end of the hall in an apartment complex where the local rock DJ lives. Sherri Moon Zombie plays this character to the bone. Then she gets a record dropped off at the radio station. She plays the record on air while an author who wrote a book about witches is the on air guest. Spoiler Alert. I was onboard at this point but the train derailed. The film had an old school 1970's supernatural movie feel. It wasn't supposed to be gory just that creepy the witches/devil are out there plotting something. Things took a bad turn when the screen flashed with some Scooby Doo psychedelic stuff promoting the radio show the main character worked on. Then the scene with the witches being burned. Everyone knows a witch has never been burned in Salem or the US. Burning witches was a European thing. The Salem witches were hanged. Salem is as close to Halloween Town in the Nightmare Before Christmas as any place in the US. The Bewitched statue was shown but that was about all the viewer got to see of Salem. It was definitely shot on location. The old buildings are there. There is an old graveyard in Salem where the crypts are practically crumbling with weird skeleton angels on the graves. That could have made a great scene. When Rob Zombie stays closer to reality or at least something that could happen it is gold. Devil's Rejections, that could really happen and that is why it is so scary. Dealing with witches and devils cannot go off into campy or it is not scary. Did Hocus Pocus scare anyone? The scenes which some reviewers thought were art do not work in a horror film. I think it was Halloween 2 where Michael Myers and his mother are in a field and are dancing around as if they are on a LSD trip, it did not work. The author investigating the witches could have been played up more. The witches were not scary. Three old broads drinking down some tea every five seconds reminded me of Murder She Wrote. The opening scene witches who came back throughout the movie where kinda scary. The scene with the devils touching themselves was beyond lame. The lobster baby that the DJ gives birth to looked like they got it out of the tank at Red Lobster. The fat devil child had no connection to the movie and was super cartoony. Near the end, the movie melted down into a crazy bunch of images that just did not fit and did not help the story. The end was pretty good as it was mixed in with the credits. It was the old newscaster voice summing things up. Because in the last 20 seconds the viewer gets that, the music is being played for the descendants of the Judge and the townspeople who killed the witches. Until that point, it was only clear the descendant of the Judge was to bear the lobster baby. The other women being brought to slaughter could have been move of the movie. The Judge and the townspeople who were in on the hangings are buried in a cemetery in the middle of Salem with these creepy old trees. That could have been used. The location was just about wasted and this film went off the rails of the crazy train but not in a fun ride kind of way.