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Saturday, October 12, 2013

BLOOD: Review - 'Lords of Salem' nightmarish revenge tale

Bowie V. Ibarra

When you're dealing with a Rob Zombie movie, you can always bet on intensity and horror.  'Lords of Salem' delivers both in spades.

The movie is about a lady named Heidi who is voice talent at a radio station.  She moves into a bizarre apartment complex run by a mysterious old woman.  After receiving a record at the station by 'The Lords of Salem', she begins to experience horrific visions.  A local historical author named Francis Matthias appears on the show for an interview when she lets the record be played over the airwaves, which affects the women of the city listening to the radio.

The name of the band spurs the historian to do a little research, and he discovers not only the name of the band but the song they're playing goes back to a coven of witches executed in Salem centuries before.  It isn't long before shit gets real for both Heidi and the professor as the revenge curse of the executed witches is unleashed on Salem.

Rob Zombie's currency has always been in surreal nightmares.  And sitting in the director's chair again, he brings these nightmares to the screen.  Even babies are not spared being victims of the atrocities commited in this movie. 

Cribbing classic images from the early days of silent film like the moon with the rocket in the eye from 'Le Voyage danse la lune' (1902), RZ applies it to its occult meaning as a kind of set up for Heidi and her destiny as a pawn of the witches.  His shots are always meaningful pictures.  The nightmarish music always sets up a nightmarish shot.  Lighting in portions are reminiscent of "The Shining".  And he ratchets up the 'Satanic' themes with images of sacrilege and blasphemy throughout that attack The Church.  It's definitely not a flick for movie night at the Vatican.

Truth is I found the surreal images created as Heidi's character falls more and more under the spell of the witches beautiful in their horror.  The movie provides just enough story for the actors to really bolster the flick, and end up being the real strength to this movie.  The witches from the Salem days led by Meg Foster put on frightening performances.  And the witches that initiate the curse at the apartment Heidi lives at, played by Judy Geeson, Dee Wallace, and Patricia Quinn, are masterfully menacing in the tradition of Pinter plays.  Sherri Moon Zombie as Heidi does an amazing job, but Bruce Davidson as Francis Matthias, the historian that unwittingly gets in over his head, is the standout star with a very truthful performance and delivery of his lines. Strong, nightmarish finish as well.

The movie is a giant quality nightmare, so if you're in to that stuff, then you need to check out this flick.  It is completely approved.

And if you appreciate zombie horror, you'll love the 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from  Down the Road, Down the Road: On the Last Day, and Down the Road: The Fall of Austin.  Pick them up in paperback or Kindle today.

BOWIE V. IBARRA earned his BFA in Acting and MA in Theatre History from Texas State University.  Network with Bowie at his official website, today.

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