the lords of salem

Anchor Bay
2012
R

“As I write these very words, the witch, Margaret Morgan, gathers with her coven of six deep within the woods surrounding our beloved Salem. The blasphemous music echoes in my mind, driving me to the point of insanity. I, Jonathan Hawthorne, swear before the eyes of God, on this this day in the year of our Lord 1696, to destroy all persons who choose to pledge allegiance to the demon Satan and his spectral army!”

Heidi DJs at the local radio station, and together with the two Hermans – Whitey and Munster – forms part of the ‘Big H Radio Team’. A mysterious wooden box containing a vinyl record arrives for Heidi, “a gift from the Lords”. She assumes it’s a rock band on a mission to spread their word.  As Heidi and Whitey play the Lords’ record, it starts to play backwards, and Heidi experiences a flashback to a past trauma. Later, Whitey plays the Lords’ record, dubbing them the Lords of Salem, and to his surprise, the record plays normally and is a massive hit with listeners.  The arrival of another wooden box from the Lords presents the Big H team with free tickets, posters and records to host a gig in Salem.  Soon Heidi and her cohorts find that the gig is far from the rock spectacle they’re expecting; the original Lords of Salem are returning, and they’re out for blood.

I have to admit, when it comes to Rob Zombie’s original film output, he does stay consistently original.  Say what you will, at least you’re not going to wind up with your usual paint-by-the-numbers Hollywood horror pap.  Which is probably why I keep hearing everyone around the area I live in bemoan his movies for being too “weird” instead of “scary”.  Seriously, sometimes I wonder why I put up with these teenieboppers here.  Anyway…

The Lords Of Salem is the latest offering from Rob Zombie, and as an original film I don’t think I’m too far off the mark when I call this “Rob Zombie Makes An Argento Flick”.  And for anyone familiar with Dario Argento’s work, you understand that his movies tend to be more about the visuals and mood, and less of plot.  His movies pretty much influenced a lot of modern horror films.  Which is my nerdy way of saying, The Lords Of Salem is weird.  And disturbing.  Par for the course, really.

But did I enjoy watching The Lords Of Salem?  On a certain level, yeah.  I knew off the bat, after hearing some opinions from some other horror critics I listen to and read online, that this wasn’t going to be your typical horror flick.  The movie did produce a rather effective mood, the visuals and ambient music working well together.  The actors were almost secondary, all of which put in decent performances.  The three ladies in the apartment under Sheri Moon Zombie’s character were my favorites in the cast, hands down; equal parts creepy and yet appealing in their evil-ness, I guess you could say.

I could see why a lot of casual horror viewers would look at The Lords Of Salem and not like the thing.  I’ve already heard the complaints that it was too weird, that it didn’t have a plot, yadda yadda yadda.  As I mentioned before, I did enjoy The Lords Of Salem, but then again I do have a taste for the weird and twisted.  I’d say, if you dug on his first two projects in the horror genre – namely, House Of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects – then you’ll find something to like about The Lords Of Salem.  Check it out.