“The Lords of Salem” Review

April 25, 2013

Synopsis: The Lords of Salem tells the tale of Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie), a radio station DJ living in Salem, Massachusetts, who receives a strange wooden box containing a record, a “gift from the Lords.” Heidi listens, and the bizarre sounds within the grooves immediately trigger flashbacks of the town’s violent past. Is Heidi going mad, or are the “Lords of Salem” returning for revenge on modern-day Salem?

Release Date: April 19th, 2013

Director: Rob Zombie

Writer: Rob Zombie

Starring: Sheri Moon Zombie, Bruce Davison, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Ken Foree, Patricia Quinn, Dee Wallace, Maria Conchita Alonso, Judy Geeson, Meg Foster, Griffin Boice

Studio: Anchor Bay

Website: robzombie.com/tag/the-lords-of-salem

the-lords-of-salem-poster

Review: So I just got back from seeing Rob Zombie’s new movie THE LORDS OF SALEM and for the most part I was pretty satisfied.  First off, this movie is not for everyone.  I could see a lot of people being offended by this movie due to the amount of uncomfortable nudity, sexual themes, and the satanic elements.  If I had to describe this movie in one sentence it would be, “It’s as if Rosemary’s Baby, Suspiria, and The Shining had a satanic orgy and The Lords of Salem was the evil offspring”… so go in with an open mind.

I really dug the casting in this movie.  Meg Foster does an amazing job as Margaret Morgan, the leader of a bunch of witches that were burned alive centuries ago.  She has a strong presence onscreen in this creepy role and she’s got a lot of courage as well because most of the time she’s completely nude.

Patricia Quinn, Dee Wallace, and Judy Geeson have great chemistry together as the present day group of witches who are pulling the strings.  Neither one really outshines the other, instead they work together as a cohesive group and compliment each other’s role very well.  The same can be said about Jeff Daniel Phillips and Ken Foree when they’re sharing screen time with Sheri Moon at the radio station.  Those were some fun scenes and the chemistry felt pretty natural, more than likely because they’ve worked together before and are all friends in real life.  For some reason I really liked Bruce Davison who plays Francis Matthias.  His character didn’t have a lot of screen time, but he was charming and wanted to save Heidi.

But how well does Sheri Moon Zombie do at carrying the movie as the main character?  Well it’s not perfect, but it’s not awful.  She’s gotten a lot of heat for her acting before, but I’ve never really minded it.  I’m indifferent because while I wasn’t praising it during the movie, I wasn’t cursing at the screen either.  Overall though, the movie has a strong cast.

The highest praise I can give this movie is the cinematography.  There are some amazing visuals and images throughout the entire film.  I love movies where you could take a still shot from any scene in the movie and it could be a poster.  Every shot is very well thought out and the impact is strong.  A lot of these visuals will stick with me for quite a while and if you needed a reason to go see the film, do it to study the cinematography.

THE LORDS OF SALEM also has a very well done score composed by Griffin Boice and Rob Zombie’s very talented guitarist John 5.  It’s creepy and the “song” from The Lords that played on the record is very memorable.  Orchestral songs by Mozart and Bach were well chosen and the soundtrack features some great classic rock songs.

Another positive to this film is the tone and atmosphere.  This movie very well could have been made in the 1970’s.  I compared it to movies like Rosemary’s Baby, Suspiria, and The Shining above and that’s a huge plus to this film.  In a day and age when everything is so loud, fast, and in your face, it was nice to have a slow, methodical story unfold.  I like films to take their time and not rush.  Let’s spend some time with the characters in these scenarios.  It was like being transported to a time when movies left an impact on you and made you think and feel.  Now movies are nothing but visual eye candy and CGI effects and it’s getting old.  I want brain food, not eye candy.

What I didn’t like about this film was how confused I was afterwards.  I do like some movies that leave me speechless and confused, but there are some choices in THE LORDS OF SALEM that I question.  Why was she riding a stuffed goat?  What was that Bigfoot looking thing?  Why does Rob like to have his wife’s naked butt in so many shots?  Was that Dwarf creature Satan?  Did I just watch tentacle porn?  Who were the gray, faceless dudes and why were they fondling red dildos?  Who takes a goat for a walk in the park on a leash?  There’s so much crazy stuff happening in this film that after a while you have to question if it really serves a purpose or is just there to be random and uncomfortable.  Does it really mean anything?  Only Rob Zombie really knows.  That’s one thing that is admirable about his work.  He doesn’t care if the masses like it. Do what you like because you’re never going to please every single audience member.

I would recommend this movie, but like I said this isn’t for everyone.  Most modern day theatergoers will probably hate it.  I’d recommend this to my friends who are also into old school horror films like Suspiria or Rosemary’s Baby.  This isn’t a film you’d take your Grandma to go see, unless she likes dancing naked around fire.  Overall, it’s ballsy and probably his best movie since The Devil’s Rejects, which I will still say is his best movie.

THE LORDS OF SALEM – 7.5 out of 10 stitches

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