When I found out that rocker turned director Rob Zombie had a new film coming out I was more than excited. Being a huge fan of his first feature House of a 1000 Corpses, I was eagerly anticipating his new creation. He did follow up his first film Corpses with a sequel The Devil’s Rejects as well with an animated feature and two Halloween remakes. All of which I didn’t feel were as good as his first. So after seeing the first teaser trailer for Lords I had hope that Rob was back on track and ready to go.
If any of you have seen the trailer you know that this is a witch story that takes place in Salem Massachusetts, home to the infamous Salem witch trials. The story itself is a very simple one and somewhat traditional. Heidi Hawthorne, played by Sherri Moon Zombie who is Rob’s wife, is a local disc jockey in Salem who receives a record from an unknown party. When it’s erie music is played, it seems to unlock something very old. Once this has happened I guarantee a creepy ride through the town of Salem.
What is nice about this film is that it reminds you how creepy and down right scary witches should be. This is not the same type of hollywood big budget gore porn horror film that comes out every few months. This is a well crafted tale of something we all know about on how witches can and should be. Full of bizarre chanting, cackling, nude dancing around the fire, sacrifices, horrific nightmares, demented music, rats and lots of Satan. Just what you would expect from the traditional witch stories that came out of Salem 300 plus years ago.
Another treat about this film is the cast itself. Zombie likes to cast older veteran actors, some of which you don’t see that often anymore. So we have Bruce Davison, news anchor Howard Finnigan from Robert Altman’s Short Cuts and many others. Patricia Quinn, the one and only Magenta from Rocky Horror. Dee Wallace, the mom from E.T., who is very convincing in her crazy role. And Meg Foster, the lead female role in John Carpenter’s They Live. Not to mention a few other good cameos from actors in Zombie’s other films.
Watching this film I couldn’t help but think back to those creepy horror films from the seventies and early eighties like Don’t Look Now or The Dunwich Horror. Two films I recommend as well if your looking for something like that. The pace of the film is slow but it is a nice slow because I didn’t want to be rushed through the experience. It is also beautifully shot in and around Salem, which is an amazing backdrop that emulates the oldness of the town and it’s witch story.
People will love it and people will hate it. That is usually how it is when it comes to Rob Zombie’s films. He already has a reputation for violent horror films but this strays from that. Yes there are a few graphic scenes but this is very tame based on his other films. So do yourself the favor and go enjoy something we don’t get to see everyday, a good creepy witch film.