The Lords of Salem Blu-Ray Review -

Blu-ray Review

Mania Grade: D

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  • Rated: R
  • Starring: Sheri Moon Zombie, Bruce Davidson, Ken Foree, Meg Foster, Dee Wallace
  • Written By: Rob Zombie
  • Directed By: Rob Zombie
  • Original Year of Release: 2013
  • Distributor: Anchor Bay Home Entertainment
  • Special Features: Audio Commentary with Rob Zombie
  • Series:

The Lords of Salem Blu-Ray Review

Witchcraft film derails right from the beginning

By Tim Janson     September 09, 2013

I appreciate the fact that Rob Zombie has a love of horror both modern and classic, and that’s what makes this review sad to write.  After seeing The Lords of Salem, and Zombie’s two ill-fated Halloween remakes, you have to wonder if this is the same guy who directed the depraved but entertaining House of a 1000 Corpses and its sequel The Devil’s Rejects.  If Zombie was looking to leave an impression on viewers he certainly succeeded.  The sight of a half dozen fat, naked elderly women has definitely left me scarred for life.

The Lords of Salem gets its fuel from the infamous Salem Witch trials in the 1690s.  Zombie’s wife Sheri plays Heidi Hawthorne, a distant relative of Reverend Jonathan Hawthorne who presided over the witch’s executions.  Heidi is a recovering drug addict and co-host of a local talk radio show along with partners Whitey (Jeff Daniel Philips) and Herman (Ken Foree).   A strange wood box arrives for Heidi at the radio station containing an album by a band known only as “The Lords” which they quickly dub the Lords of Salem.  The strange, rhythmic music has a hypnotic effect on several women of Salem who become almost entranced upon hearing it.  The music is also heard by a guest on their radio show, Francis Matthias (Davidson) a local writer who penned a book about the Salem Witch Trials.

After hearing the music, Heidi begins to experience terrifying visions.  She investigates a supposedly empty apartment in her building where she finds a neon crucifix and sees a hag-like witch named Margaret Morgan.  Heidi’s visions become more and more alarming, causing her to slip back into drug use and miss work.  Whitey attempts to help Heidi but runs into opposition from Heidi’s landlady Lacy and her two sisters.  As Heidi descends further and further into madness, a concert by The Lords of Salem becomes the stage for a ceremony for the witches to summon Satan with Heidi as the coven’s leader.

The Lords of Salem is as about as disjointed a film as I have seen in some time.  It’s a rambling wreck of incoherent scenes completely lacking in logical narrative.  The film is like one of those 1970s Satantic themed movies as if it were written by a 10 year-old on hallucinogenic drugs.  Zombie borrows liberally from films like Rosemary’s Baby and The Sentinel but without a shred of those film’s style and horror.  Zombie is also wildly off with his facts about witchcraft trials and executions in Salem.  Witches were hung, not burned.  One of the presiding Judges in the case was John Hathorne, not Hawthorne.  The early American writher Nathaniel Hawthorne was related to the judge and added the “w” to his name in order to distance himself from his notorious ancestor.  Perhaps this is nit-picking on my part but at the very least, Zombie could have got the history correct.

Sheri Zombie has appeared in all of her husband’s films but in supporting roles.  Here she is asked to carry the film almost entirely and she is simply not up to the task.  She’s emotionless and lacks charisma and spends much of the film mumbling her lines even in the scenes where she is not supposed to be under the influence of drugs.  Oh and when she’s not mumbling and stumbling about, Rob makes her feign performing oral sex on a priest.  Nice…

I will credit Zombie for featuring several 1970s and 1980s horror stars like Ken Foree, Meg Foster, Dee Wallace, and Michael Berryman.  But it’s just a shame that they all show up in such a disaster of a film.


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mellowdoux 9/9/2013 10:21:19 AM

 No way am I picking this up yet. I'm waiting for the special edition complete with Sheri Moon commentary, 70 hours of Sheri Moon footage that ended up on the cutting room floor, choice of 6 different Sheri Moon covers, 2 hour documentary "Sheri Moon: The Life of a Screen Legend So Far...", Sheri Moon statuette, Sheri Moon drink coasters and $10-Off coupon for any of the next 10 Rob Zombie movies that feature Sheri Moon...

joelr 9/9/2013 11:34:35 AM

I really dug it. It's the only new horror film I've seen this year that actually takes its time. I'll take that over all the other films that give us 5 minutes of paper thin characters before the mayhem starts. LoS does build to things that don't end up panning out, but I believe that was done to highlight the idea that the conclusion was always inevitable.

It's also the most gorgeously shot horror film (or any film) of the year.

Easily Zombie's best.

tjanson 9/9/2013 5:21:21 PM



fatpantz 9/9/2013 11:24:31 PM

I loved Mellow's comment...

I am going to do the "free" preview before deciding if this deserves a home in my movie collection.

mellowdoux 9/10/2013 10:47:53 AM

 Thanks guys. ;)

Moz72 9/10/2013 11:36:03 AM

I watched it last night on XBOX and I give it a grade of: WTF???

I couldn't believe how messed up this movie became, but stiil I couldn't stop watching this train wreck. The whole hallucinigenic scene with the naked fat ladies and demonic bishop was so disturnbing and blasphemous that my wife had had enough and had to leave the room. Rob Zombie is one very disturbed and mesed up individual.

I gotta give credit to Rob Zombie though for having the balls to make this movoie..this movie hits you with a one-two punch, and what I mean is that this movie impacts you both viscerally and psychologically. and you can tell in some that Lords felt inspired by the horror movies of the late 70's,early 80's. It kind of had a throwback vibe to it.



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