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Lords of Salem Review

Lords of Salem

I’ve enjoyed most of Rob Zombie‘s films and even liked Halloween II at times though I can’t say I liked that particular film overall. I have been looking forward to The Lords of Salem with an uncontrollable excitement, especially since the movie has been completed and on shelves for some time now, delayed, for whatever reason.

After just watching it now, I’m neither disappointed nor overjoyed. However, I did enjoy the film just fine.

In its most simplest form, I would describe the film as a cross between Kubrick‘s Eyes Wide Shut and Polanski‘s Rosemary’s Baby with the originality of Zombie’s touch. I mean that as a compliment with the utmost respect.

There was only one moment in the film where I started cringing at the cliche nature of it and was quickly brought back to Zombie’s world.

SPOILER ALERT

It was the moment where Heidi (our lead played by Sheri Moon) is seemingly seeking solace in the Church as is so often depicted in films about possession, demons, witches, and other lore and we’re (the audience) expecting a priest to comfort her and perhaps quote something poignant from the bible. Instead, we’re greeted with the priest becoming violent and forcing fellatio from her and putting our preconceived notions into check.

The film is much slower and has very little action from Zombie’s other films, which I say without criticism. I enjoyed the thoughtful and beautiful pacing, again, very akin to Stanley Kubrick. Subtlety and nuance is a very fine art and some of this is new territory for Zombie.

I was wanting more when it was over and I suppose that’s only a compliment as opposed to hoping the movie would be over soon.

BIG SPOILER ALERT

For me, the ending was clear. Heidi was apart of a bloodline. A bloodline used as a catalyst to birth the devil himself into our earthly reality. I think there was some subtext there at the end that she had become the queen of Hell so to speak and that all the other women were sacrificial pawns to this means as she stands there crowned above a pile of dead women.

We’re also treated with a final shot of Heidi playing with her dog and then cut to black. To me, this signifies that Heidi (as we knew her) or her soul has died or been taken. Unfortunately, I think this was also to be a very sad and poignant moment that unfortunately I failed to connect to as I simply didn’t have that strong of an emotional attachment to the character. I found myself more concerned with the rampant macabre that may lie around every corner.

The film makes sense, but does have a bit of an independent, art, and abstract piece feel to it. With an estimated budget of $2,500,000 (which is insanely low [if true] for a typical film that makes its way to theaters, much lower than Zombie’s first film House of 1000 Corpses from over a decade ago) and Zombie as one of the producers I think it may very well be at least a partially independent project. I don’t claim expert knowledge of movie business finance.

The real show-stealer for me was Meg Foster‘s performance as Margaret Morgan, the leader of the coven. Very, very excellent.

On a final note, I’m somewhere between liking and loving the film. The biggest criticism I see is that the film basically lacked any sort of traditional climax or that it really went nowhere in the end. While there is subtext and a deeper meaning to find there with some of the symbology throughout, ultimately, I don’t think it was meant to have a punchline or poignant ending. I think the film was intended to carry a sense of dread in the pit of your stomach and merely end on bleakness.

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Black

Crypt Keeper at Halloween Love
I ♥ Halloween. I am the creator, editor, and keeper of Halloween Love. Although you'll find new creeps about helping me to maintain these macabre archives of dread. Reach me at black@halloweenlove.com.

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  • Greg Sutton

    I like your assessment of the ending and another thought popped into my head. Do you recall in House of 100o Corpses or in Halloween 2 when Annie died and Brad Douriff found her body, we saw flash cuts to happier moments in their lives.?
    Could this be an extension of those techniques? Zombie likes to show people as real characters, with a life lost when meet a tragic end. Heidi atop a pile of dead woman, damned for the rest of time, bringer of the Devil’s child, is made more tragic by the moment she herself flashes back to which is playing with her dog. As a former struggling addict this simple action could be what she clings to, almost her happy place in trying times.. This could show the audience her last moment of sanity in her damnation.
    I would be interested in your thoughts about this theory of mine.
    Thanks for the great analysis above.

  • I don’t think that was a literal flashback of Heidi’s, I think it was simply a “moment” shown to the audience through our magic viewing window if you will to tell us that she’s gone.

    I think it was meant to be a sad/sentimental moment, but unfortunately, I simply didn’t care enough about the character to have those feelings.

    I think this should have been a two hour film with extra character building and/or backstory time. I also think it needed a bigger budget. If I ever become a multimillionaire I would happily give the likes of Zombie, Eli Roth etc an unlimited budget to make their dream movie.

    Also, I think this is one of those movies that I’ll appreciate more upon second viewing.