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Lords of Salem: ‘mind-blowingly fulfilling experience.’

The Lords of Salem Rob Zombie teaser

The Lords of Salem receives its US premiere tonight at the SXSW Festival in Texas, but before you see it read this excellent review from ‘This Horror Is Your Face‘ reviewer/blogger Richard Waters, who likens the film to the work of Dario Argento or Lucio Fulci.

Check out the review now: 

The Lords of Salem: Coming to Haunt Your Nightmares

I have been posting on here an awful lot about Rob Zombie’s latest original effort, The Lords of Salem, not just for the past week, but for about a year and a half, since before it went in to production. The other night I gave my one word review, and now I will attempt to scratch the surface on this intense modern day macabre masterpiece.

Sheri Moon Zombie plays a radio DJ who unintentionally exposes the masses of Salem, Massachusetts (of the Salem witch trials fame) to an ancient curse when she plays a mysterious record on air. Sheri herself is affected and experiences strange hallucinations. It really is a simple story of an ancient curse accidentally being unleashed, and the modern day townsfolk being haunted by the mistakes of their ancestors.

Let me tell you, it is a film you will either love or hate. There is no middle ground. Me? I think it is the best horror film of the year so far.

There was an audible divergence in audience opinion when the lights came up at the end, but I couldn’t even stand up for a moment. It was just such a mind-blowingly fulfilling experience. So many films I was looking forward to recently have been complete letdowns, but if like me, you like the work of Dario Argento or Lucio Fulci, watch this film. Obviously intentionally, The Lords of Salem hearkens back to the classic Italian films that took a simple idea, convoluted it, and complimented it with stunning images. Some people have complained that The Lords of Salem is difficult to follow. It’s not. It’s just so unusual that a film can be so good without having to resort to Rube Goldberg-style plots (see pretty much every big film of the last decade). Films like Suspiria, The Beyond or House by the Cemetery have shockingly simple plots when you boil it all down, but the filmmakers went to different, visual areas to excite the audience, something of a lost art these days.

Essentially, The Lords of Salem is a modern day expressionist horror film under the guise of exploitation (just like all the classic Italian) and for anyone who is into that world, this is unmissable. Does it make sense? To anyone who has ever had a nightmare, yes. Yes it does. Are you the sort who is building up their Arrow Video or Blue Underground collection? This film was made for you. Many lesser Italian horrors, like Michele Soavi’s The Church, had stunningly visceral images, but narrative-wise, always felt muddled. The Lords of Salem is the film that delivers on those films promises that they could never fulfill.

My cohort, Living Dead Girl (who wrote a great review here) said she could see fanboy excitement (not THAT kind of excitement, you sicko) on my face while I watched the film. I’m not surprised. The film was a wet dream come to life. I didn’t think I’d see a film like it again, where horror is becoming more and more bland. But this film worked for me on every level. Sure, it drags a bit at one point (how many times do we need to track down the hallway, eh?) but that is a minor quibble. I have never been a fan of Sheri Moon’s acting, but she pulls off the character so well, and my heart broke for her as she went further into the descent. I had also been worried the witches performances would seem silly in context, but again, no. They were great. I sold the film to my girlfriend as something akin to Ken Russell’s The Devils (how many girlfriends would take that as a good thing??), and she enjoyed the heck out of it too.

It is an intense film, not for the popcorn crowd. The first reel of the film had me on edge to the extent I was worried it might all be too much, but it is in total control, playing off your nerves. There are some memorable, but borderline ridiculous images, and it is the kind of film that if you go in ready to mock, you won’t enjoy it. You have to be ready to let it take you for the ride, and let me tell you, it is a trip worth taking. The world feels real, it looks like a painting, and John 5’s work on the score and the witches song are just perfect (channeling the work of composer Fabio Frizzi). Too often, music is very of its time. Not here. This score will give people the willies decades from now.

And let me be frank, this film will be watched decades from now.

It is going to divide audiences now, but just like people now look back at Fulci with reverence, so will people look back at Rob Zombie and The Lords of Salem and say ‘now THAT was a horror film’.

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10 Responses

    5
  1. hildegard

    Thank you for your reply, Emma. I get that the dog actor would never be harmed in real life and I know RZ is an animal lover, but he has put animal mutilation, etc., in some of his earlier films and I just can’t emotionally handling viewing stuff like that – even though I know it’s fake and just a movie. We all have our quirks, that one is mine. I just want to make sure I’m not going to find it upsetting if I go watch it. I just can’t emotionally handle viewing stuff like that, even though I know full well it’s fake.

    March 14, 2013 at 3:21 am

  2. 5
  3. jonesjl9

    killing me! I need this movie!

    March 12, 2013 at 6:31 am

  4. 5
  5. Moon

    Great review..I don’t know anything about the guy who wrote it, but his excitement about this movie makes me wish I could watch it right this minute. I really do. But, at least I will have my copy of the book really soon.

    March 12, 2013 at 4:39 am

  6. 5
  7. yellow bird

    Rob is not even a meat eater-

    He is Hugh on pets/dogs…I think even in with PETA?somewhat?

    correct me if I’m wrong??..I think that is their real household pet/dog in the film …
    not sure?

    And not sure if ?
    animals are hurt in any form,fashion in this film?…
    waiting for the big screen;)
    no spoilers!

    But
    Remember AND TELL YOURSELF.. ,’IT IS ONLY A MOVIE’,…
    IT IS ONLY A MOVIE
    IT IS ONLY A MOVIE
    IT IS ONLY A MOVIE

    March 11, 2013 at 7:55 pm

  8. 5
  9. hildegard

    A friend wants me to go see this with her. I am not generally a horror fan, but she really wants to go. But I have one issue I can’t handle and that is bad things happening to pets. I note you mention there is a dog in the film. I need to know if the dog is tortured, killed, hurt, etc. before I can agree to go see this with my friend. Could you shed a little light on that particular issue?

    March 11, 2013 at 7:44 pm

      5
    • Hildegard, I can’t say what happens to any of the animal actors in the film as I have yet to see it however Rob and Sheri are both massive animal lovers and adore their four legged family. No harm has come to any of the animals on their set, and if an animal has a role on the film which sees it have “harm” (please not inverted commas) done to it, know this animal is a damn fine actor and deserves plaudits for playing a good role. There was an interesting interview with Rob a few months back where he talks about animals needing protection. I hope this helps allay your and your friends fears: http://robzombie.com/2012/10/rob-zombie-animals-always-need-to-be-protected/

      Emma (RZs web manager)

      March 12, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    • 5
    • PETA Sucks

      Vegans often delude themselves into thinkig they’r enot harmign animals.

      Doesn’t make it true.

      March 13, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    • 5
    • hildegard

      Thank you for your reply, Emma. I get that the dog actor would never be harmed in real life and I know RZ is an animal lover, but he has put animal mutilation, etc., in some of his earlier films and I just can’t emotionally handling viewing stuff like that – even though I know it’s fake and just a movie. We all have our quirks, that one is mine. I just want to make sure I’m not going to find it upsetting if I go watch it. I just can’t emotionally handle viewing stuff like that, even though I know full well it’s fake.

      March 14, 2013 at 3:21 am

  10. 5
  11. yellow bird

    “Love or hate”…..it?

    How could anyone hate anything by RZ?!

    If –
    RZ TOUCHES IT…IT’S GOLD RIGHT OUT OF THE GATE!

    March 11, 2013 at 7:02 pm

  12. 5
  13. Spacedog

    You had me at Fulci and Argento!

    March 11, 2013 at 6:37 pm

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