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?
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Oddly, Zombie's most subtle film is one of his weakest, although he improves his camera eye and has dramatic emotion between the characters. Sherri Moon Zombie also gives an empathetic performance, like in a phone conversation with Jeff Daniel Phillips towards the end that is truly touching. However, it tries to go for scares more often than this character drama, and fear wise it's too safe and not urgent enough.
2 1/2 out of 5 stars. Rob Zombie has next to no skills as a storyteller but the man has an eye for imagery. He described Lords of Salem as The Shining directed by Ken Russell and I can't disagree. Fantastic and sometimes unshakable imagery with touches of David Lynch and Rosemary's Baby and some Night of the Living Dead during the end credits. Unfortunately the story is so incredibly goddamned fucking dull.
Rob Zombie turns addiction into a horrifying descent into madness in this haunting, surreal, disturbing tale of a woman in Salem Massachusetts who is followed by a curse by a coven of witches. Part Kubrick, part Lynch, all Zombie, this is a pure, unfettered trip through Zombie's favorite obsessions. There hasn't been a look into an artist's id this terrifying since Lars Von Trier's ANTICHRIST.
It's a shame that Zombie had to remove so many of the character stories and sub plots due to time restraints. Even so, it's a milestone for Zombie as far as bringing his brand of horror beyond the gorehound pleasing b-movie tribute.
Where as "House of 1000 Corpses" serves as a well-crafted homage to the dirtiest elements of slasher films, "Lords of Salem" serves as a similar homage to a more cerebral style of horror. Taking influences from films like "The Shining", "Rosemary's Baby" and "Possession", "Lords of Salem" marks a mature step forward for Zombie and a return to form as a horror lifer making fetish films for the like minded. Good stuff.
Sure, the dialogue is terrible, the acting dubious, the editing often way too antsy to really evoke the slow burn horror Zombie's going for (let's not even talk about the zooming), but it's also a movie in which Zombie's wife wiggles the twin umbilicuses of a giant demon baby. Whenever he goes nuts with sound and image things get quite enjoyable. And his obvious affection for music culture is endearing.
This is what I'm talkin'! 60s/70s horror inspired that isn't ironic. Yes, it's indulgent but its good indulgence. Just cause you're quiet doesn't mean you're effective. I love how loud the movie is. Literally and thematically. Brutal madness. Satanic masturbation. Best time at the movies, that is sure!