I review THE LORDS OF SALEM.
I’m not sure what all the fuss is about with this movie. Not “buzz”…but fuss. Lots of people hating on Rob Zombie’s latest. There were literally hundreds of movies along these lines in the 70’s. He’s a grindhouse guy. Not sure what the fuss is.
So my opinion? And it’s just that, right—opinion? If I had to say something about this movie, and I’m going to—it’s my blog—it would be that I liked it. I liked every stinkin’ minute. It isn’t a perfect film. It wasn’t meant to be. But it is definitely atmospheric, creepy, a little psychedelic, and it has witches in it! Who does witches anymore? Hansel and Gretel? Haven’t seen it yet, but I’m guessing those witches are CG crap. These, well they’re played to a big honkin’ “T” by some of the most intimidating women I’ve ever seen completely nude!
Dee Wallace, Meg Foster (particularly terrifying), Judy Geeson, Maria Conchita Alonso and dear sweet Satan…is that Magenta from Rocky Horror? Yes Patricia Quinn is also here. Plus Zombie staples Ken Foree and Sid Haig in small roles. Many others with familiar faces grace the screen during its 90 minutes, but it might be Sheri Moon Zombie’s performance that I was most impressed by. She didn’t suck. Well there is that priest about halfway through…but that’s a spoiler and I won’t go there.
So Sheri plays Heidi, an on-the-wagon addict and a local DJ. There are three DJ’s in her show: Moon, Foree and Jeff Daniel Phillips playing Heidi, Herman, and Herman respectively. She receives a mysterious record—not a CD, but regular old vinyl (look it up kids—they’re actually making a comeback for some reason). It is addressed to her by her real name (important tidbit later in the film) and comes from “The Lords”. When they play it, the music is droning, tri-tone stuff of the devil. All the women who are listening drop what they are doing and immediately zone out—like an evil groove, if you will.
Once it’s been played, three lovely ladies (Geeson, Wallace and Quinn) in Heidi’s apartment building start doing the evil coven thing, and want Heidi in on the game. Weird things start happening to Heidi—visions. Everything is tied back to a diary from a Reverend Jonathan Hawthorne and the original Salem Witch Trials. A curse was placed on the women of Salem by Margaret Morgan (Foster) while she was being burned by Reverend John.
There’s a local author and museum curator (Bruce Davison) who becomes interested in the music, in the history and does some investigation on the whole thing. Turns out too little too late, and he ends up on the wrong side of Dee Wallace’s frying pan…um… like 15 times. Okay, back to Heidi…
The further under the spell of the music Heidi falls, the weirder her dreams become and she loses track of time and where she is… Instead of falling into the arms of Herman (Phillips), she goes back to the crack house and smokes up. What follows that are more hallucinations including what might be a midget devil, some very ‘The Shining’ scenes of wallpaper, Sasquatch? a cool headboard of Melie’s Man in the Moon, and a lot of naked witches. I mean skin everywhere. Skinny girls, big girls, huge girls, old girls… Bravo to all of these women, and to Rob for finding a true representative cross section of the female mammary gland.
Things get weirder as the movie progresses to a mass suicide which leads the viewer to believe Margaret Morgan’s curse came true.
I thought The Lords of Salem was pretty straightforward. I don’t see all the “room for interpretation” crap I’m seeing from others, but hey—opinions, like a said. If you’re a fan of 70’s films about witch cults, brides of satan, or anything where a group of weirdos want some chick’s baby because it’s special, than you’ll like this. If you wanna see the Firefly clan or a madman wielding a toolshed at teen party animals, steer clear.
Pretty stellar. Less gritty and much more deliberate looking than Zombie’s other films. This has color and many abstract moments.
Cool soundtrack. Some unexpected songs thrown in there. Fairly standard jump scares and such to set the mood.
Stronger than usual. Standouts are Meg Foster (gah!-she was awesome), Patricia Quinn, and as I said before, Sheri Moon Zombie was quite good. She didn’t have much dialogue, but she was fairly restrained.
Meh. Not really anything new. Like a mix between Trick or Treat (the one Ozzy was in) and Rosemary’s Baby. Well told, but not going to win any awards. There were some good, descriptive lines in this film. One in particular stuck with me: “Satan can smell the stench of filth in the folds between your legs.” Or something along those lines… ew.
The Lords of Salem wins points for not being a remake even if it is derivative. It wins points for not being a sequel. It isn’t as violent as his last three films, but there’s plenty to be had, including a fairly convincing infant—so if you don’t like seeing babies spit on and…other stuff… you might want to skip this one. There’s also a strange birth of what looks like a lobster. The spawn of Satan is an arthropod! It is a slow, atmospheric movie that held my attention and made me uncomfortable a few times with the sheer odd vibe that it threw. I’d even give it a second watch.