Heidi, a radio station DJ, receives a wooden box containing a record. Heidi listens and the bizarre sounds within the grooves immediately trigger flashbacks of Salem’s violent past. Is Heidi going mad or are the Lords of Salem returning for revenge on modern day Salem? –TIFF
Gleefully anarchic, the long-haired heavy metal rocker-cum-slasher-film-director Rob Zombie sustains an instantly recognizable image on par with his musical contemporaries (and friends), Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne. Long fascinated by Charles Manson, gore films, and the occult, Zombie exudes a dark sensibility that has earned him mainstream success as well as a certain cult following in the film world. Founder of the band White Zombie, the rocker made his name behind the camera not only by directing his group’s music videos, but by designing the surreal “head trip” animated sequence in Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996). His first feature outing came in 2003, with the controversial House of 1000 Corpses, a kind of Texas Chainsaw Massacre update, overloaded with buckets of gore, packed with references to ‘70s and ’80s horror staples, and starring no less than Karen Black. Universal rejected the picture, certain of an NC-17 rating, but Zombie refused to make cuts and… read more
Rob Zombie aims for respectability - kind of - and in the process re-confirms that his true strength is wallowing in vulgar humanity (see: "The Devil's Rejects," "Halloween II"). Zombie's stab at the 'slow burn' brand of horror just ends up feeling like lukewarm Ti West leftovers. Leading lady Sheri Moon is simply not up to the task of carrying a 100 minute movie on her shoulders; and just when it feels like the film is ramping up to blow the viewer's mind, Zombie resorts to cheap music video-like visual effects, ending on a whimper. It was easy for me to play a game of 'spot the influence' while watching this - Polanski here, Mario Bava there, add a dash of Kubrick - but the pastime only served to remind me of the other, superior horror movies that came before Zombie; movies I'd rather watch once again than endure "Lords of Salem."