Friday, November 30, 2012

Rob Zombie's "The Lords of Salem"

THE LORDS OF SALEM is Rob Zombie's latest entry in the horror genre, after his less than successful remake of HALLOWEEN and its sequel. This film is about a radio DJ who triggers a curse on the town of Salem created by four real witches that were secretly killed back in 1692 at the same time many innocents lost their lives for claims of witchcraft. Check out the trailer below, along with some more info-- I especially recommend reading the review from TIFF.

I'll admit, I'm not that happy with what Zombie has done so far. I do agree that THE DEVIL'S REJECTS was his best so far, but the remake of HALLOWEEN really put a bad taste in my mouth. I'm just not a fan of that style of horror-- disturbing, deviant, gory, shocking imagery for its own sake. It has its place, but it's not my thing. It's not the blood and guts that bothers me, I love slashers just fine for what they are. It's something else that's more difficult to tap my finger down on. Disturbing the viewer for no reason or purpose, just because. I get that sense from some of his films, and it doesn't sit well with me.

But I'm willing to give this latest film a chance, especially after reading the review from Dread Central. I love a good Salem witch movie and the reviewer gave me hope that there is a real story here, something with more substance. I have no problem with it being surreal, and "descent into madness" is like rolling out a mat that says "Welcome Librarian of the Dead." If LORDS is all Dread Central says it is, it could dramatically swing some previously denied favor Zombie's way.

Two things concern me. First, Sheri Moon Zombie. I know she's his wife, but no one actress, even the great ones, can do every single role out there. So either the characters being created are all the same character (and therefore, it's the same movie every time in different packaging) or the filmmaker is just not interested in getting the best performance, and both bother me.

The other thought I have is about Zombie's influences. It was to his detriment in HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES that they didn't integrate into the film in a good, seamless, "I'm paying homage to the greats" sort of way. More like, "I've cut and pasted these stories together, then cranked up the weird to make them my style." For LORDS, I've got a strong HORROR HOTEL vibe with some of THE FOG thrown in. That doesn't mean he won't pull it off this time, and I'm happy it's an original-ish story, it's just something I noticed and it makes me wary. People are so far saying the visual style is very Argento and Lars von Trier, which, on the other hand, makes me feel hopeful about LORDS. Time will tell.

Dread Central reviews "The Lords of Salem"
/Film: "Lords of Salem" Scores R-Rating
Euronews: Interview with Rob Zombie

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