The white, crisped edges of a cigarette burn slow with colorful embers, and as we see Heidi smoking her cigarette’s we can’t help but realize The Lords of Salem burns slow like her puffing.
Rob Zombie’s new flick is dark, sick, and full of evil. But evil exists, and unfortunately it rots at all of our lives in someway. This daring tonal test of horror shows that fate doesn’t discriminate, but destiny is our only chance to be shielded by our fate; any sins of your past, like Heidi’s drug addiction, will creep in when the evil knocks, and if you let that sin rule you, you let evil control you.
Alejandro Jodorowsky and Dario Argento were blended in Rob Zombie’s mixer as he baked this movie in his visually haunting oven, melting under the heat like film in a fire. A movie, about a radio DJ who receives a gift from “the Lords” and begins feeling ill upon hearing the music, which slowly possesses the women of a town riddled with evil history, while Satan himself tries to take back Salem, could not be more beautiful, and that’s because the artist knows what makes genuine horror stand so boldly in the mist and fog. Zombie has a library of art in his repertoire (music and movies both included) that I hope has its day to shine in a museum. Until then, Lords of Salem will stand in the swamp of movies waiting as a spiritually dark but thought-provoking gem to be discovered, while others will spit at the demon-baby as the first witch on the opening scene.
House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devils Rejects made for a great start to a hopefully long horror film career for Zombie. But the rebooted Halloween franchise worried he pissed it down the drain. What a bold step he thrashed with his new challenge. To make horror art, you must accept you will not please everyone. But as I mentioned earlier this week, Rob’s an artist who values honesty and discovery, and will make what his zombie brain tells him to. But to have such a surreal and artistically crafted film about shock horror and evil gore come together so vividly is impressive.
The biggest criticism I found lay in his ability, or absence, to communicate where the story goes. But I don’t believe that’s Zombie’s fault. I blame society for expecting such little abstract from horror. Santa Sangre by Jodorowsky was a building block to surreal horror, and I believe Zombie has achieved a new auteur state of mind. The unraveling deterioration of Heidi as hell rises above her is straight creepy and wears on your soul. But it made me feel like Zombie was asking me to deal with my own sins before fate devoured me. Using my control of my own destiny to protect myself from the evil fate always looking to attack.
Rob Zombie, please keep making art you can stand by, because it’s important and valued, even if it doesn’t please everyone. And lets keep pushing horror to a welcomed home in the art-houses.