Release Date: April 19 2013
Oh, Rob Zombie, you are such a divisive director! I know I shouldn’t like your films, but I always do! Those things (that hearken so well to the 70s era of The Hills Have Eyes and its ilk), the ones that may make you seem like you don’t what you’re doing, make me think you know exactly what you’re doing. Zombie’s films have that sort of detached, acid-based quality about them that make you feel like a voyeur – titillated and disturbed, and totally not in control of where things are headed. I remember that feeling my first time watching old films like Last House on the Left and Texas Chain Saw Massacre and there are few directors today that can correctly utilize the element. What Zombie gets right is the aesthetic and the atmosphere – a little familiar, yet alien and uncomfortable.
The Lords of Salem takes viewers to modern day Salem, Massachusetts where radio DJ Heidi (Sheri Moon, of course) receives a box containing a vinyl record… a gift from the Lords. The record, which plays both backwards (causing Heidi some disturbing flashbacks) and forwards (a strangely huge hit on the airwaves) is obviously more than it seems, but who are the Lords and why have they sent it? The trailer brings a lot of high strangeness with historical allusions, Zombie’s soundtrack, and inventive set design and makeups. The cast list is impressive (Bruce Davison, Dee Wallace, Ken Foree), but I’ve also seen the names of who got cut out or had to be dropped from the film (Billy Drago, Bruce Dern, Udo Kier). What does that bode?
No one’s going to be tricked into seeing this film. You’re either buying a ticket for The Lords of Salem because you already a huge Zombie fan, or you because you kiiinda liked House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects and you’re giving this film the benefit of the doubt. The stylization is a love-it-or-hate it prospect, so Zombie probably won’t garner many new fans. Even if the film does play like an uber long version of the trailer (which I think it may), I happen to find the aesthetic fun to watch. If Rob Zombie has managed to put together a cohesive and interesting plot, all the better.
By Kiki McGraw