Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Lords of Salem

"The Lords of Salem" (2012, Rob Zombie, Alliance Films, Automatik Entertainment, Haunted Films, IM Global, Blumhouse Productions) is the film I was most excited for at Glasgow Fright Fest 2013.

As a fan of Rob Zombie's music and his films, I was waiting in anticipation for this film and it was one of the first main attractions for going to the festival (not that I wouldn't have gone had it not been showing!).

I'm pleased to say I was not disappointed, and while Lords isn't quite in the same style as "House of 1000 Corpses" or "The Devil's Rejects", it is really enjoyable! I felt it was well put together, and had the feeling of a Hammer Horror (such as "The Devil Rides Out") mixed with a touch of "Rosemary's Baby", there was also some classic 70s horror weirdness in there, especially any scenes with the Beast himself in them.

Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie) is a radio DJ on Salem's local radio station. She co-hosts a show with her sometimes lover, Herman "Whitey" Salvador (Jeff Daniel Phillips) and also Herman Jackson (Ernest Lee Thomas).

One day, Heidi receives a strange record by a band called "The Lords" in a creepy wooden box. After a drunken night in with Whitey, they stick on the record and it behaves strangely, trying to play backwards. When it finally starts playing Heidi begins to feel strange and see odd visions. She kicks Whitey out and heads to bed where she dreams strange dreams.

Regardless, they play the record on the show and it becomes a hit with the listeners. The Lords also announce a gig in Salem and provide free tickets to anyone who wants them. But are The Lords all that they appear? Or is there something more sinister going on? And is the sweet little old landlady and her sisters really all that sweet?

An atmospheric film which is both slow burning and also quite trippy, The Lords of Salem is enjoyable and weird. Good visuals and a fitting soundtrack give the desired effect. Although, it's not for everyone, and is certainly no gore fest.

Several notable scream queens are present in this film including:
  • Magenta from Rocky Horror, Patricia Quinn
  • Meg Foster (she was in John Carpenter's "They Live")
  • Barbara Crampton ("Re-Animator")
  • María Conchita Alonso ("Predator 2", "The Running Man")
  • Dee Wallace ("E.T.", "The Howling", "The Hills Have Eyes", "Cujo")
 The coven scenes are excellent, if you can handle that much naked old lady, and really hark back to the glory days of witch horror, when Vincent Price was hunting them down and Joan Fontaine was losing her mind to witchcraft!

I actually liked the end which sped up and delved back into the Zombie we know and love and, for me, brought all the craziness to a head.

Good, different, but not gory, this film may be a point of contention amongst fans, but is a bold move by the ever talented Rob Zombie.

[Image: Haunted Films]