Lords Of Salem: A Review


The killing joke about a Rob Zombie film is the unpredictability of what's about to happen. Thus far, his movies have been increasingly confident - a term I wholly dislike because it sounds like I know what I'm talking about as a film-maker but in this case, I mean nothing other than how obvious it is that Rob is getting pretty damn good at this sideline of his. Is it a sideline? Perhaps not. In Lords of Salem, Rob has created a rare beast. It's a movie that embraces everything that was great about seventies horror - it pulls and tears at Don't Look Now, Rosemary's Baby, Altered States, The Devil Rides Out, acts like it was made for $8000, looks like it cost more than it probably did and will either leave you with a bad taste in your mouth or feeling like you got clipped by the wing mirror of a passing car.

More arthouse than multiplex, its success lies in how unsettling it is. The plot is solid (if not well trodden) and simple enough to allow RZ to do what he's done to it. If it were any more complex, it would have lost an awful lot of its visual appeal that's for sure. It's certainly not a movie to rip to shreds in the search for a reason why either - more something to live through and experience - and that's what makes it far superior to the dirge normally dished out in the name of shock and awe.

Worthy and of note here - which makes a change as this usually comes as an afterthought - is the casting and the soundtrack. Both are pretty damn flawless. Sheri Moon puts in the best performance of her career but she is far from the only one - both Bruce Davison and Judy Geeson form solid lynchpins within the movie, Geeson particularly so with her superb performance as a landlady.

The soundtrack on the other hand, is absolutely not something you'd listen to at home - spellbindingly crafted by John 5 (no surprises there), it sits in the movie like a member of the cast. It must have been thirty years since that much thought was put into a soundtrack. So strong is it that the aural experience of the movie is just as important as what's going on visually. I swear, if the man could have found a way to drop taste and smell into the movie, he would have - it's that kind of sensory overload.

When they come to write the history books, Roman Polanski and Ken Russell are unlikely to be alone when mentioned. There will be somebody else lurking in the darkness. He probably doesn't believe he belongs there, but that would be a lie.

I have nothing bad to say about Lords of Salem. I loved it from one side of hell to the other. If you get a chance, you should do this. Here's the trailer if you have absolutely no idea what I've been talking about: