Directed by Rob Zombie
Written by Rob Zombie
Starring Sheri Moon Zombie, Meg Foster, Bruce Davison, Jeff Daniel Phillips
101 mins. - Horror/Thriller - Release date: 3 September 2013 (Blu-ray)
When we interviewed Michael Berryman at the 2013 Montreal Comiccon/Horrorfest, he informed us that The Lords of Salem as released was incomplete. Basically that the studio didn’t give Rob time to reshoot the intro. Berryman went on to say that the film was weakened because without the missing content the backstory was almost unnecessary.
No one will ever truly know if the film would have been better had Zombie gotten to reshoot the intro, but what we did get was a pretty phenomenal film nonetheless.
There aren’t many movies in which “” is the harbinger of evil. In fact, The Gate is the only one that immediately comes to mind. I love this plot device, and I love the idea that I share this appreciation with Rob Zombie.
As you might have already guessed, The Lords of Salem use the heavy metal plot device, and its used well. It’s not used in the upfront, in-your-face way of the ‘80s when right-wing conservatives were throwing Satanism down everyone’s throat, but rather, it’s deployed subtly; a record gets sent, a DJ plays it, people (women) who hear it are affected. Pretty simple stuff. Actually, it’s not much different than how reading from the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis in The Evil Dead releases evil.
That’s the bulk of the movie, which is a telling of Heidi’s (Sheri Moon Zombie) descent into evil. Whether that evil is real or psychological is up to the audience to decide. There’s some backstory that may push you one way or the other, which means, contrary to what Berryman told us, it’s necessary.
Berryman also said that he opening sequence that’s missing was epic in the way that it was shot, which probably would have been the first Stanley Kubrick-like scenes in the film as opposed to those that come toward the end of the film. The majestic scope of those final scenes are breathtaking, and it’s clear that Zombie was taking a page from the Kubrick playbook. I think the homage is tastefully done and I especially love the contrast of scenes when the camera turns to show us what Heidi is looking at.
As a blu-ray review, the film looked stunning in its 1080p resolution with an aspect ratio of 2.40:1. As far as special features go, they suck. There’s only a commentary track — not even a deleted scenes reel.
Rock Hard \m/
If you’re a Rob Zombie fan, then The Lords of Salem is a must see. It’s a diversion from his other films, as it focuses more on the psychological side of horror rather than the visceral. Really, it shows his growth as a filmmaker. As a horror fan, you’ll appreciate that this isn’t just another slasher flick, zombie movie, or whatever the flavor of the month is. The does a wonderful job of blending Americana lore, ancient and more recent, with the supernatural. However, the pace is relatively slow and the story isn't excessively original -- it's a familiar story told in a different, but beautiful way. Another factor dropping the score of the Blu-ray release of The Lords of Salem is the lack of features.