The Lords of Salem

 

“In the name of Satan, Ruler of the Earth, the King of the world; open wide the gates of Hell and come forth from your blessed abyss.”

 

STARRING:
Sheri Moon Zombie
Bruce Davison
Jeff Daniel Phillips
Ken Foree
Patricia Quinn
Dee Wallace
María Conchita Alonso
Judy Geeson
Meg Foster

 

DIRECTOR:
Rob Zombie

 

DATE OF RELEASE:

  • 10th September, 2012 (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • 18th April, 2013 (Italy (limited))
  • 19th April, 2013 (United States (limited)

 

RUNNING TIME:
101 Minutes

 

Rocker-turned-director Rob Zombie has established the fact that he knows what he is doing with five films in his strapping technique, as one of Hollywood’s most unlikely film-maker. The guy can compose some truly astounding imagery even though his gruesome kind of onscreen bedlam may be thematically revolting. Now I won’t actually brand myself a fan, but I will admit that the ending of The Devil’s Rejects was beautiful in its own sickly anarchic way, the one reason I had high hopes for his newest film, The Lords of Salem.

 

It’s easy to imagine that Salem (a small town not very far from where Zombie grew up), which is well-known for its witch trials during the 1600s, in a way, helped  mold Zombie into the mad genius of chaos that he is today. However, The Lords of Salem is just a boring mess. The film seem like a mixture of behind-the-scenes shoot of one of the many psychedelic Satanic Horror Movies of the 70s.

 

The movie starts out with a sluggish build getting to know the protagonist, Heidi played by Sherri Moon Zombie, who is a recovering coke addict and a local radio-jockey for a funky late night radio show. Heidi receives a mysterious LP called The Lords and guessing that the album must be from a latest and upcoming band, the RJs play it on the show. As the echo goes out over the radio, the local women go into a trance, Heidi has brutal headaches and from that point on starts to have trippy hallucinations. Numerous flashbacks to the 1600s expose a coven of witches having their Sabbath or Black Mass, dancing naked around a fire, making horrific music, worshiping Satan with amateurish incantations like “You are the dragon, Lord Satan!”. The local authorities seize all the witches and put them on trial where they are burned alive at the stake. While dying, the leader of the coven curses  Nathaniel Hawthorne, and all of his ancestors. Heidi starts a slow decent into madness from the moment she stands in front of a neon cross, holding her hands out, in her very first hallucination. She starts getting harassed by satanic forces, is forced to have very life-like hallucinations, and of course, the neighborhood witch and her coven of twisted ‘sisters’. Every rite involves a lot of repulsive nudity that is amplified by body suits. Public burnings and satanic births have never been so vivid.

 

The Lords of Salem has a genuine art-house inventive feel to it, which Zombie’s earlier films did not posses. Several shots that remind the viewer of classic Argento films like Suspiria. The use of gloomy yet groovy background scenery(the apartment building) is almost like an additional character in the film. The movie owes a lot of its influences to classic Horror films like The Shining. The only part of the film that seemed way out of context was the psychedelic finale. If you can appreciate an art-house independent horror film you will enjoy it. If you prefer a grindhouse style gory action movie, you will hate it. A mix of Tarantino and Kubrik’s styles disrupts the flow of the film. Unfortunately, The Lords of Salem won’t really appeal to the general public and that fact is not helped as the movie did not get a wide release the way Zombie’s previous films did.

 

 

 

 

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