After delaying myself from years and years of anything Rob Zombie, I finally decided that last night was the time to watch The Lords of Salem. Going into it was difficult especially after seeing almost every review site and person on social media despise this movie. The Lords of Salem came out in 2012, It is now 2018.
Growing up, I was a huge White Zombie/Rob Zombie fan. In fact, I give him a lot of credit for opening the gateway for me to Russ Meyer, Dawn of The Dead (78) and hillbilly horror. It was no surprise to discover that when I went to my first Rob Zombie concert in 2000, he premiered his first trailer for his unfinished House of 1000 Corpses, showcasing his product to his fans to inform us that he would be taking to the movie industry. Zombie made a name for himself in 2003 with House of 1000 Corpses after buying his movie rights back after the studio thought it would be a flop. Zombie then went to create The Devil’s Rejects which is favored by most critics and fans for being his best movie to this day. Zombie has now went from showman, directing music videos for himself and Ozzy Osbourne, to big budget horror productions, such as his vision on John Carpenter’s Halloween.. that is until The Lords of Salem came along.
Remember when I said I delayed myself from watching Lords of Salem? Well, thank God I did.
The Lords of Salem stars Sherri-Moon Zombie ( House of 1000 Corpses, The Devils Rejects, Rob Zombie’s Halloween 1&2) as Heidi Hawthorne, a Radio-Personnel in the historic town of Salem, Massachusetts. Moon lives alone with her dog in an apartment complex run by witches. Heidi starts to get weird feelings about the complex she lives in when she notices a woman walking in and out of a vacant apartment on Heidi’s floor. At night, Heidi works her job as a radio personnel along with her best friend “Whitey” played by Jeff Daniel Phillip (31, HBO’s West World) and Herman played by Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead, From Beyond). Heidi receives a wooden box containing a vinyl record from an unknown group called The Lords. Heidi, Whitey and Herman bring on a special guest author Francis Matthias, played by Bruce Davison, who has written books on the occult and Satanism. When the crew plays the “special” vinyl record on the air, all of the women in the town listening become powerless and catatonic while the song is playing.
This is the first time where Rob Zombie doesn’t involve a red-neck family killing spree. In fact, Rob Zombie tones down his violence half way and focuses on a story driven plot. The town is known for a massive witch slaughter that took place hundreds of years ago involving the main witch, Margaret Morgan, played flawlessly by horror icon, Meg Foster ( They Live, Leviathan) with a severely haunting, tragic and beautifully disastrous back story. I need to stop and give credit to where it is due, the cast was incredible but Meg Foster was superior and untouchable in one of the best female driven performances in horror. The cast stars icons such as Dee Wallace, Patricia Quinn, Ken Foree, Judy Geeson, Bruce Davison, Maria Conchita Alonso in lead roles and some heavy weight icons.
The Lords of Salem is a slow burn and falls neatly into the top 5 horror films about Witches and Satanism. For most horror fans out there, The Lords of Salem is deemed as Rob Zombies worst but I disagree. The Lords of Salem requires a second view because it demands the viewer to ask questions.
My biggest issue with The Lords of Salem was towards the end when Heidi ditches Whitey and Herman outside of the theater where The Lords are performing. I wish we would have had an explanation where the trio was going and I wish Rob Zombie made it easier to explain that there was a concert Heidi was heading to once she was rescued by Whitey. Finally, I wish there was closure for Whitey and Herman as I kind of figured Heidi took her place reigning the underworld as the mother of the Dark Lord.
Let’s talk about the positives of The Lords of Salem: Sherri-Moon was exceptional as Heidi Hawthorne, portraying her as an ex addict who has now changed her life around to be very career-driven. Sherri-Moon gave us a likable and realistic portrayal in her best acting role. I found Baby Firefly a tad bit annoying in The Devil’s Rejects, in fact all of the Firefly family members didn’t resonate with me but I believe Sherri-Moon gave a superior performance. The witch trio including Dee Wallace, Patricia Quinn and their leader, Judy Geeson, gave a stellar performance that made me wish there was a spin-off on their characters instead of a third House of 1000 Corpses movie. Dee Wallace never seems to under-perform and this role wasn’t any different, Patricia Quinn was fucking charming and I loved how cynical she was during the palm reading. Judy Geeson, played her part to perfection as if she had a dark secret no one else was supposed to know about except for the audience. The ending, holy shit, that ending. I have never been captivated by such a payoff in any horror movie. Heidi gives birth to the anti-Christ and the town’s women sacrifice their lives for the child of Satan. Heidi becomes a tragic Virgin Mary when she reigns high above the bodies of those who sacrificed themselves for her child.
The parts that made me giggle: When Satan revealed himself as a tiny demon and when Meg Foster was spitting on the baby, I was dying.
The Lords of Salem is my favorite Rob Zombie movie to this day and I am so happy I waited until the haters moved on to despise other titles such as The Babadook and The VVitch which, in my mind, are modern masterpieces.
Here is my list (@thehorrorjew) of the Best to Worst Rob Zombie movies (Excluding El Superbeasto)
The Lords of Salem: Rob Zombie’s under-looked masterpiece with an amazing ensemble performance
The Devils Rejects: The (final) story about the Firefly family in an Hillbilly action-horror about survival
House of 1000 Corpses: Basically The Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 showcasing pure grindhouse terror with no means of survival
Halloween: Rockabilly meets John Carpenter’s classic that misses the point more instead of creating one
Halloween 2: A Decent horror flick pairing good vs evil ultimately concluding into despair.
31: A garbage fucking movie with a good first half