110 of 130 people found the following review helpful
all hail the lords!,
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This review is from: The Lords of Salem (DVD)
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!
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 18, 2013 9:31:13 PM PDT
Amazing review. Thank you.
Posted on Sep 28, 2013 1:32:32 PM PDT
shane englefield says:
Agreed, very nice review.
Posted on Oct 11, 2013 12:07:55 PM PDT
Sarah Bensing says:
Knowing Rob Zombie, there will probably be a director's cut with extra goodies put back in.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 12, 2013 11:43:05 AM PDT
^i hope so. i know why he kept it the way he did, but i would love to see the frankenstein movie within the movie, and also more of barbara crampton and others.
Posted on Jan 1, 2014 8:02:13 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 1, 2014 8:25:35 AM PST
Thanks for the well written review. I respect the time it must have taken you to write such a thorough review - however I cannot agree with your review.
The movie, while yes granted may have been made for a paltry 1.5 million, was horrible. After having seen Rob Zombie's remakes of the first two Halloween movies , as well as House Of 1,000 Corpses and The Devils' Rejects (I loved all 4 of those movies very much) - I had high expectations for The Lords Of Salem / and I was let down in a big way. The movie had no point, no real plot , no remote direction whatsoever. As for the movie being some type of slam on Christianity and an impromptu "Go Satan" morning meeting for Satanists - I must respectfully disagree with you on that one. (I am not mocking what you had to say about that / rather I just did not see any connection in any way, shape, or form to it.)
Sure, there were Satanic elements to the movie - after all The Lords Of Salem is supposed to be about an evil force / and therefore you have to have an opponent or victim and is that where this so called Mockery of Christianity comes into play in the film? I did not see the film as being against God or Satan, or for one or the other for that matter. (Unless you want to read deeper in to the idea - there is the biblical passage something to the effect of God saying "If you do not choose me, then you have already made your choice".)
There were a lot of elements of both Good and Evil sprinkled throughout the movie - however I failed to see how any of those various elements where connected directly to each other in any way whatsoever.
Rob Zombie is not a Kubrick, Polanski, nor Argento......however I do honestly believe he has far more potential to achieve greatness in film than all of those directors combined. Will Rob realize his potential and make truly great films for the public going forward? He certainly has a gift and a knack for it, though it remains to be seen if he will truly test his limits and really make great films that show he deserves to be mentioned with the likes of Kubrick, Polanski, as well as Argento and others.
To use this film as a credential for cinematic greatness however, is a disgrace to movie fans the world over as well as the legacies of the mentioned directors when you take into account the overall achievements of those directors. Rob Zombie still has at least a few more films to go before he can even be considered to be in such a class of cinematic greatness.
I still believe in Rob Zombie and I am very hopeful that his next film will be truly amazing, however its time for Rob Zombie to put up or shut up. Go Big or Go Home.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 3, 2014 8:11:35 AM PST
first, you are awesome. it is refreshing to read a thoughtful counterpoint. i get so sick of "this movie sucks. you suck." types of comments, comments which negate any meaningful conversation. and rob does promote conversation.
i honestly understand why people didn't like lords. it's a stream of consciousness flick; plot is not essential to it, or even a part of it. for me, the movie affected me on a gut level. the opening shot of heidi behind a windshield had me. i felt like she felt in the scene. right then, i was down for the ride. this is something that i appreciate with lords: there's no grounding in what we would normally expect from a traditional cinematic narrative. and i'm not trying to say the narrative was a radical departure or any arty stuff like that: the lords of salem didn't really have one. no safety net. i was happy to jump.
lords affected me on the basis of its' images and the plight of its characters--heidi, the hermans, bruce davison, the witches--and the use if music. the music was gorgeous. and as far as the satanic elements were concerned, i just thought lords had a sort of celebratory vibe about satanism (you know, the masked priests with the technicolor dildos were, in my opinion, like satan's cheerleaders).
i do think your comment about using lords "as a credential for cinematic greatness is a disgrace to movie fans the world over" was a little strong. for you maybe, but definitely not all movie fans. and while he may not be the director that polanski and kubrick were, i prefer rob. i prefer his anarchistic nihilism, his country-fried sensibilities, his unapologetic brutality, and the gentle heart that lurks within (tutti-XXXXin-frutti).
i also would direct you to halloween 2 for understanding. i mean, whatever people feel about lords, no one really saw it. but rob's h2, people saw, and i've never seen a movie that polarized horror fans like that one. and you liked it (i also loved it). if you saw what was good about h2, what made it sing, than surely you can understand how someone could find beauty in lords.
thanks for engaging in the discussion, though. part of how i create meaning in things is by understanding the opinions that people bring with them.
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