Ever since Rob Zombie made his debut as a director with House of 1000 Corpses he has been delivering some truly interesting additions to the horror genre. Whether you’re a fan of his films or not there is no doubt of his ability to create a memorable film experience and his latest film Lords of Salem looks to get away from the gory world of the slasher and step into the world of pure evil and Satanism. The trailer clearly shows his stamp is on it, but does the film deliver or should it burned like the witches of Salem?
The Lords of Salem follows a young local radio DJ who receives a mysterious wooden box with a vinyl record inside. Assuming it is from a band trying to spread the word of their music decides to play it, but when it starts to play backwards causes her to experience flashbacks to pas trauma. As she deals with the ongoing torment plaguing her mind and soul she will soon realize that the Lords are more than just a band and are looking to return for blood. For the Lords of Salem, Zombie stepped back to his roots and delivered a film similar in tone to House of a 1000 Corpses in regards to budgeting. Make no mistake this movie stands out on its own and is way more intelligent and complex than anything he has done before. The film is a bit slow paced, but this is to build the tension and story as well as get a bit of character development. In this regard Zombie has offered more detail to a character than he ever has and in turn creates a new tone that is rarely seen in American horror films. The cast all do a great job with Sheri Moon Zombie leading the charge with easily her best performance to date. She has always done a good job, but here she seems to have more depth and layers that is partly thanks to the script and the rest to her performance. Meg Foster does more than appear in this film, she is unleashed upon it. She chews up the scenery creating a truly creepy character reminiscent of these types of characters in the 70s horror genre. There are some truly beautiful and disturbing imagery throughout the film which just adds to the overall experience.
The entire film has a vintage feel and works to tell a story without dumbing it down for the audience. This may the biggest flaw of the film for most viewers. You have to have some semblance of intelligence to really grasp what is happening in this movie. Unlike most Hollywood films, Zombie doesn’t spoon feed you all the information, but instead makes you pay attention and think. If for some strange reason you cannot figure out what is happening it may even creep you out even more. Where this really pays off is the sudden way Zombie chose to end the film. At this point you are full in and then slapped in the face with the ending which will keep your brain still trying to catch up with what it just witnessed and lets the credits finish you off. While this may not be the most intense of gory of Zombie’s films, it is the most thought provoking and original to hit theaters in years.
Be sure to grab your copy when it hits Blu-ray and DVD on September 3rd.