Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie) has a productive career as a radio DJ until she receives a box containing a record that reads a “gift from the Lords.” After playing the mysterious record on the show, the threads of Heidi’s sanity begin to ravel. Are the Lords of Salem out for revenge or is it all in Heidi’s mind? As a recovering drug addict and sloozie, it’s hard to decide.
First of all, I have to separate my feelings for Rob Zombie’s music career aside here. I have always been a White Zombie fan and I even enjoyed his later work. Living Dead Girl and Dragula were catchy tunes. Now that I have promised not to let me love for the man interfere, I have to inform you that I am not a huge fan of his films. Okay, maybe I liked parts of House of 1000 Corpses and maybe I liked The Devil’s Rejects but lets face it, his films are poop. I know I am not alone here. Halloween II graces the presence of every ‘ Worst Films of All Time’ list. Walking into The Lords of Salem at SXSW, I wasn’t expecting much. I knew I was going to walk away disliking the film. My attitude did not wash over my viewing and ‘ruing the experience.’ The Lords of Salem really isn’t all that in a bag of potato chips and I know the majority of people who say they like the film are only saying that because it’s Rob Fucking Zombie.
What ruins Rob’s work is his severe obsession with horror films and that’s not a bad thing. It’s okay to write love letters to your favorite horror films. I am just one of those horror fans that has seen it all so his work comes off as unoriginal to me. There’s also the repeated use of his wife. I am not a Sheri Moon hater. I just don’t understand why she cannot branch out and do something else. Lets be honest here, her attendance in Halloween II was down right atrocious.
Pros; Beautiful cinematography. Brandon Trost managed to capture some very gorgeous and innovative shots. But you cannot stand on atmosphere alone, dude. The musical score provided by John 5 and Griffin Boice was pleasing. The performances are also pretty spectacular. Rob manages to give us a devilishly talented cast each go around. Unfortunately, some of our bigger actors here have very brief roles and some like Christopher Knight were cut. Sid Haig, Michael Berryman, and Udo Kier were barely visible. Why do I feel like Rob is taking advantage of fans by dishing out these names? Not to mention, Clint Howard, Camille Keaton, and Richard Lynch. Patricia Quinn was a real treat as I am a huge Rocky Horror Picture Show fan. I giggled like a school girl when I saw she was joining the cast. Such a lovely, rare talent with bizarre character. Meg Foster had a long career on television and ‘They Live.’ Another outstanding talent. Then we have Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead, Death Spa) and Dee Wallace. These are all genre heroes that will keep the fans happy. Hell, even Maria Conchita Alonso (Vampire’s Kiss, The Running Man, Predator 2) graces us with her presence. Not too shabby.
I love how we have no idea if Heidi’s drug history is playing a factor here or not. She has visions of the 17th century witch trials and as someone who has spent a lot of time studying the history of said subject, it makes me wonder if Rob is ignorant to the witch trials or if he’s just putting his own spin on what really happened.
Some of you may walk away loving the film and I respect that. I just haven’t heard of many walking away without feelings of disappointment and disgust. Like I have said after every Rob Zombie film I have seen, “I need to go take a shower.” Whether I enjoy his film work or not, Rob Zombie will always be one of us. He’s the ultimate horror fan.