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3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
The Lords of Salem [DVD]
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on 6 October 2017
It just sort of fizzles out. Derivative I can accept, in what is largely a derivative genre (if anyone comes up with something new it rapidly becomes a formula that is done to death). Loved House of 1000 Corpses, which drew on Texas Chainsaw Massacre etc. A number of reviews have pinpointed the copycat areas/homages. But there are good parts-the jokey radio show scenes are particularly good. It's great to see Judy Geeson, Dee Wallace & Patricia Quinn (& Meg Foster-the second Christine Cagney). The film builds nicely, then Zombie unleashes his inner Ken Russell (Lair of the White Worm style) & then it all seems to sort of splutter out. The story continues/concludes with voice overs in the credit sequence & you're never quite sure if that's it, or the blue touch paper will re-ignite. You stand back & wait. But it doesn't. And it seems to end as an exercise in style & genre, containing clear references & acknowledgements along the way.
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on 21 October 2017
Delivered on time. Rob Zombie triumphs again with another superb horror film. A must see.
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on 18 April 2017
Rob Zombie Touches A Nerve With This On
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on 8 November 2013
Heidi, DJs at a local radio station, and together with Whitey and Munster, form part of the Big H Radio Team.

A box containing a vinyl record arrives for Heidi. She assumes it's a rock band on a mission to spread their word. As Heidi and Whitey play the record, it starts to play backwards, and Heidi experiences a flashback to a past trauma.

Whitey plays the record, dubbing them the Lords of Salem, and to his surprise, the record plays normally and is a hit. Another box arrives presenting the Big H team with free tickets, posters and records to host a gig in Salem.

But Heidi and her cohorts are far from the rock spectacle they're expecting.......

Zombie either makes movies that are either works of genius, or utter pants. Thankfully, this is just as good, if not better than his previous works. And it's all to do with his vision, and his stark, layered imagery.

Every scene and shot is breathtaking, lighting and cinematography wonderful, and this all adds another layer to an already rich narrative.

It's not necessarily scary, just very eerie, and it harks of The Shining, Holy Ground, and The Ninth Configuration.

Zombies movies are involving and important because they do not conform to generic cinema, and that's probably why many don't like his movies.

They simply don't understand them, hence labelling them boring, or rubbish.

They are strangely beautiful, and in many respects, poetic.
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on 12 September 2013
This is a new take on "Rosemary's Baby" done in the Rob Zombie near porno style. Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie) is part of a hip radio talk team in Salem. She lives in a modest apartment building with three elderly women and an apartment that never rents. On Tuesday she finds out the goat has free will and by Thursday she is chasing the rabbit. She is haunted by weird dreams and visions. Francis Mathias (Bruce Davison) plays the investigator, checking out new music by "The Lords of Salem."

Michael Berryman and Sid Haig are in unrecognizable roles, a waste of their talents. Zombie fans will enjoy this blasphemous film. All others I would recommend watching before buying.

Parental Guide: F-bomb, full frontal nudity (some not that pretty), simulated oral sex.
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on 27 July 2014
With his third original effort Rob Zombie has nailed it. The Lords of Salem is a huge departure from his trippy hippy horror films and his two remakes of the Halloween films. This is a dark brooding affair. Indeed I can only think of a few seconds of light comedy involving Ken Foree as a DJ colleague bumping and grinding to some delicious music.

The Lords of Salem uses elements from Ken Russell's best films, also The Devils, Hammer's The Devil Rides Out and Rosemary's Baby. There is even flashes of The Shining. But this all original and all Zombies work. The nature of the movie revolves around Sheri Moon's character, she plays a DJ who gets a request to play a record, that record possesses her and she slowly changes. Just watching her methamorphisis into single fun loving woman to bad natured and possessed is quite brilliant. Satan is at work, but the movie could easily be a metaphor for heroin addiction as she stays confined to her flat and refuses to see her friends. Her landlords are witches and protectors and go to any lengths to protect her. Dee Wallace who has been out of the horror game for ages is great. Hearing her mutter the C word is interesting.

Barbara Crampton is also here and it is so refreshing to see Zombie not forgetting horror's past. The imagery near the finale is breathtaking. And I may annoy a lot of people here, but I feel this film is superior to The Devil Rides Out. I feel Zombie got the Satanic rites spot on, it is a film that leaves you thinking afterwards. A force that cannot be stopped. The film has divided many fans especially Zombies ones, but I can't see why, this is a genuine classic- we're lucky to have him.
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on 17 May 2013
I was honestly quite surprised (in a good way) by this movie. I saw some previous titles from Rob Zombie and he never really appealed to me. I always found him to be a kind of grown-up out of control teenager, too derivative of others' filmography and style, although with a sometimes interesting wild style, but nothing more.
So I was admired by his new movie, because it's elegant, it's stylish, it's dark, it manages to convey you a sense of suspension, a nightmarish atmosphere, almost like John Carpenter's masterpiece, "Prince of Darkness" meeting David Lynch's nightmares.
Of course the film is full of references and tributes to other movies (Shining, Carpenter, Melies, etc...) but it seems that Rob Zombie has finally grown up as an adult, and doesn't really need to shock anymore, but to impress in an almost subconscius way.
But, although switching to an apparent opposite approach, the results are quite the same as before: the story is not so rich and complex, exactly like in his previous movies: here, more than before, there are certainly some great ideas, but they never come together and make a point so you can really enter the world Rob has been so "charmingly" painted before your eyes.
What's missing to be a masterpiece is that you sense that something's gong on, but you're expectations are just met at the end, in a kind of bizarre and, to me, unresolved way: too easily reduce to a kind of dance of death, with not such a deep or dense meaning (the plot is basically about a not feeling good woman who gets caught by witches for a satanic sacrifice).
You're just admiring a string of beautiful scenes, but you' re almost not welcome to touch it and be part of it. So eventually, after so many expectations, you get let down by the movie.
I'm not saying that the ending is not visually "charming", but it leaves you cold: it doesn't develop all the pieces of the puzzle, that don't come alive, they just stay clichès.
Had it been a little more like David Lynch, where you maybe don't understand everything, but you feel the nightmare,the mystery, the depth and the mastermind behind what you see, it would have been a masterpiece.
Instead it's just a brilliant and very fine (maybe too much, and this is the main surprise to me) example of cinematographic talent, who lacks of heart.
Because, at the end of the day, what's the sense in disturbing me during the film and not at the end of it?
But still this is a big leap forward for him and I'm confident his next movie will be, eventually, his masterpiece.
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on 30 September 2017
Great story and cast, Wonderful idea! Highly recommended! AC
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on 8 May 2017
Only 3 stars average, maybe a lot of people don't "get" this thing, not scared enough or not enough substantial plot?

I have seen buckets of horror films, but if I just want to be horrified, I'm off to a loser especially if Satan is involved, because I am an atheist. 100% not even 99%. But that does not mean I can't be thoroughly entertained by films of that genre.

Watching this, it's not about the plot for me, or the Satanic element. I knew from the trailer this movie is about stunning and effective imagery. Colour abounds, things appear in corners of the frame so that you don't see them straight away, wonderful touches all over the place. The blood and gore not all that abundant at all, but used well too. Parts of it, towards the end mainly, look like a direct and unashamed tribute and nod to Ken Russell, when the biblical symbolism and the acid trip hallucinations, dreams, fluidly running into each other with vibrant colourful rapture.

The hypnotic effect of the music is nice too, as a central thread it works really well.

So. If you watch it to get scared, you're wasting your time. Shocks, certainly depending on your capacity for some images you might be shocked. There is a little of the more unadventurous shocking-scene-then-suddenly-she-awakes-and-was-dreaming, type of thing, but it isn't out of place with the plot here, it makes perfect sense. And the Anti-Christ theme is treated a bit differently here too.

As a piece of cinema, as a celebration of images and atmosphere, it's great. And some people definitely would be scared and shocked, but you're missing the point if that's all you want from it and it might then disappoint you. But 5 stars from me, I loved it.
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on 13 May 2013
Whatever you may think of Rob Zombie, he isn't afraid to take chances. House of 1,000 Corpses was bravely insane. Devil's Rejects was courageously relentless and offensive. Remaking Halloween risked a vast amount of ire. And now he tackles a more atmosphere-dependant horror with a tale of witches and modern day possession.
The film sets the scene by filling in some 1600's background as a coven of depraved witches are hunted by devout local Hawthorne, and then segues to a stylistically very different modern-day, where Sheri-Moon Zombie is playing a dreadlocked DJ on a popular Salem area rock radio show.
Nicely, director Zombie makes sure character is once again at the fore, giving all of the DJs very relatable longings and issues, and casting vividly memorable faces and good actors. Everyone stands out as a well-drawn and well performed character. Sheri Moon Zombie probably doesn't get the credit she deserves due to the nature of the films she's in, but each performance of hers is quite different, and here she once again serves the script very well, turning in a nuanced performance with lots of emotional range, and gently underplaying most of it so that it lands with the desired effect.
As a plot, the idea of a record conveying a supernatural message that triggers events is a bit urban-legend hokey, but it works surprisingly well, with the tune just uncomfortable enough to listen to that is builds atmosphere every time it's played, and when events do start to turn weird, they're mostly very effective. Some of the suspense building visuals are starkly arresting and artistic, and the horror moments are suitably shocking and gruesome. Some horror fans may feel a little let down, as this may b Zombie's most restrained film (despite some truly nutso visual moments) - at least in terms of gore. The atmosphere and plot very much surf a cross between Ti West's superior 'House of the Devil' and 'Rosemary's Baby' with the building paranoia and oddball characters. When the climax arrives, it's striking, impressive, and very much justifies being added to the collection of any Rob Zombie fan. If you found his earlier films too excessive, give this a try - you might just find it a refreshing advance of style. Good for Zombie fans, pretty good for tense psychological horror aficionados.
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