The Lords of Salem

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I have never considered myself a Rob Zombie fan, I dig his name, liked his Halloween remake but that’s about it. I hated House of a Thousand Corpses because I felt it revelled in it’s grotesqueness, made heroes out of the detestable, and to be honest, it made me feel bad for liking horrors. I did not see The Devils Rejects as it seemed more of the same, Halloween two was a ridiculous over the top abomination of a movie and all that is why it took me this long to watch Lords of Salem.
I wish i’d seen it sooner.
This movie has restored my interest in a film-maker who I had given up on, mostly for his overindulgent excess and willingness to lose any moral compass.
Set in Salem, Massachusetts, this is the story of Heidi – a rock dj who works mostly nights on an alternative radio show. Receiving a strange wooden box with a record inside labelled ‘The Lords of Salem’. Assuming it’s a new band, Heidi decides to play the dubious music on air, thus putting in motion events that have been brewing since 1696. Suffering trauma flashbacks and quickly disappearing into a drug haze she had previously worked her way out of, her friends growing concern is palpable and sad. This is something unique to good horrors – real relationships that give the characters weight and authenticity onscreen. Odd things start happening about her apartment block – who is the new tenant in number five? why is she having visions that are making her feel crazy? who are the slightly sinister seeming sisters who seem to be almost insidiously infiltrating her life.
Another thing unique to good horrors – an ordinary setting; scary happenings are always far scarier when they happen in homes that look like they could be ours, in lives that we know..
This is a tale of witches, and covens, and devil worship, it is surreal in places, dreamy in places, almost artistic and impressionistic at times but its also bloody creepy!
It looks incredible – so much thought went into the set design, even down to the art on the walls and the framing of certain shots.
Beautifully directed by the aforementioned Rob Zombie and believably acted by Sheri Moon Zombie (with some lovely arch turns by horror veterans such as Meg Foster, Patricia Quinn and Dee Wallace) this films most obvious companion piece for me would be Rosemary’s Baby. Though not of the same league as that horror masterpiece, it certainly recalls it.
I found this film haunting, frightening, intriguing, powerful and unlike any I’d seen before.
Highly recommended!
9/10

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