The Lords of Salem
As the end credits rolled, I stood up and surveyed the emptying theater and said, "What the fuck?" Then my husband said "What the fuck?" And my best friend said "What the fuck?" And her man said "Yeah, what the fuck?"
Indeed, the question of the night was, "What the fuck did we just watch?" A horror movie about witches...yes, but witches that performed little witchcraft, instead preferring to jam out in the woods like a pilgrim-era Nirvana. Apparently, the nearby pilgrims found the musical stylings of "The Lords of Salem" so appalling that they were quickly burned at the stake. Waiting over 300 years for revenge, The Lords...wait. If all the witches were female, why did they call themselves "The Lords of Salem"? Anyway, "The Lords of Salem" cut a record...don't ask me how...and send it to a local DJ, played by Rob Zombie's wife and muse, Sheri Moon Zombie. Then shit gets weird. There was a fucking sasquatch in one scene...what the fuck does sasquatch have to do with witches???
Before you ask...I'll confirm that there is plenty of nudity in this film. Although there are many shots of Sheri Moon's ass - Rob is obviously very fond of that ass and wants to share it with the world - most of the nudity is not good nudity. Imagine wandering into a Nudist Retirement Home in the Appalachians...THAT'S what kind of nudity Rob Zombie is sharing with us. I was consumed with curiosity as to why the witches in the flashback scenes, in all their naked glory, did not sport period-appropriate pubic hair. The remarkable lack of merkins was quite appalling - one witch had a landing strip!
I usually move quicker to write reviews on films I see in the theater, but I held off until Texas Frightmare Weekend, knowing that there would be a panel discussion. We did attend the panel discussion - which included Meg Foster, Dee Wallace Stone, Patricia Quinn, Judy Geeson and Bruce Davison - but the short discussion focused more on what it was like to work with Rob Zombie and how awesome he is, instead of what the fuck was going on with this damn movie. (Neither one of us could muster up enough courage to ask the panel about the remarkable lack of merkins...) But later that night, my bladder finally did me a solid by sending me into the ladies room at the exact time as Patricia Quinn and my best friend and I ended up chatting with her for about 20 minutes. (Maybe it helped that we were both wearing Rob Zombie shirts at the time?) After a nice discussion on why us Southerners insist on calling everyone "Ma'am," we talked about The Lords of Salem. She told us how Rob was going to cut her palm-reading scene and how she, um, got him around to her way of thinking. Good thing she did, because that was one of the best scenes in the film, in terms of sheer uncomfortableness. She was amazing and I hope I look as drop-dead gorgeous as she does when I'm 69!
I'm gonna get real boring for a paragraph, so either bear with me or skip it. Having taken a dozen or so film classes in college, I was able to infer some of Rob's inspiration for the film. The atmospheric horror movies of the 70s & 80s that rely of mood and foreboding, instead of cheap gross-outs - Hammer Horror, The Wicker Man, even The Shining. More than anything though, I was reminded of Polanski's Repulsion, another film in which a young women feels the world closing in on her, with attackers that may or may not be all in her head. Even though I know what he was going for...his execution was flawed. I can't pinpoint what the flaw in execution was, but I wasn't able to immerse myself in enjoying this film. Throughout watching the film, I would go from bored to annoyed to obsessed with the actresses' pubic hair. If I'm worrying about pubic hair grooming while watching a film, it's a bad sign.
I didn't 100% hate the film. I did appreciate the lack of computer effects in the film. The last 15 minutes of the film was really fun - fun like a bad mushroom trip, but fun nonetheless. The soundtrack was also kickass...except of course for the RUSH. Lots of Velvet Underground and Nico...Nico is hard to appreciate, much like this film. Maybe that's why the theme song of the film seemed to be "All Tomorrow's Parties"? Things that make you go hmmmmm...