Rob Zombie recently unleashed his fifth directorial effort, The Lords of Salem, into select theaters. I was lucky enough to see it, and now I’m going to give you the low-down on this anticipated film.
I’ll start with this and get it out of the way: Sheri Moon Zombie is the star, for good or bad. She will always have a starring role in her husband’s films – get over it, horror fans. Luckily, in this movie she’s rather good. Her acting improves with each film, really, and it’s actually nice to see her shine as the one the entire movie falls upon. In his other films she’s had costars with more experience under their belts, and she definitely held her own. This is no different.
Now, there’s so much going on in this movie it’s hard to explain, so here’s the official summary: Heidi, a radio DJ, is sent a box containing a record – a “gift from the Lords.” The sounds within the grooves trigger flashbacks of her town’s violent past. Is Heidi going mad, or are the Lords back to take revenge on Salem, Massachusetts?
The Salem Witch Trials have always fascinated Americans. Rob’s unique spin on the debacle is rather clever, and damn, that song by the Lords is awesome! There have been so many movies about witches and Salem but this one is above them all (although it’s probably tied with “The Crucible,” but I’m not an impartial audience member). All those films tended to focus on the period itself – bringing the horror into modern times is a great touch.
But that being said, I can’t really give this movie an enthusiastic thumbs up. Zombie is definitely improving with each film – The Devil’s Rejects is 100000x better than House of 1000 Corpses, and his Halloween films are brilliant – but this film, while still better than most of the drivel in theaters, is not his best.
It is so good and then you spend an entire sequence going, “what am I watching?” Not good. What some people might call its quirky aspects completely took me out of the film. And when I walked out I turned to my boyfriend and said, “What the hell was that?” It took us 15 minutes to decode the whole thing – and, unfortunately, that was because it was like one giant hallucination. And any film that makes me leave with a bad taste in my mouth from ridiculousness is one I probably won’t be running back to see again.
All in all, I give it a 3.5/5 – it’s pretty good, but Rob should drop the music video glam (think “Corpses”) and stick to real horror. If you don’t get to see this one in theaters, and you probably won’t, don’t feel to bad about it. Hopefully the DVD cut will be better. Better yet, get the novelization of the film; it’s one of the best horror novels I’ve read in years. If they’d let him put that on screen the movie would be a knockout.