The Lords of Salem (2012, Rob Zombie)

“Bleed us a king”

Whoa. The witchiest, most satanic movie of our time. House of the Devil cries back home to its mother while Lords of Salem goes out and burns down the neighborhood. Zombie knows how to build atmosphere, but his movies have also had portions of gleeful camp and self-awareness until this one, risking playing it straight up to a final burst of 1970’s psychedelia.

Sheri Moon Zombie is a Salem radio DJ alongside her sometime-boyfriend, beardy Jeff Phillips, and Rob Zombie regular and Dawn of the Dead star Ken Foree. But she starts to have headaches and experience weird visions and dreams after receiving a record by the titular Lords.

Meanwhile in way-back-story, Sheri’s ancestor Reverend Hawthorne (Andrew Prine, deputy of The Town That Dreaded Sundown) tortured and burned a bunch of suspected witches to death. In typical movie fashion, the modern witches (led by Sheri’s landlady and her “sisters”) now want revenge through the Reverend’s descendant, using her to summon some great evil. But atypically, they succeed. Local historian Bruce Davison (deadly dreamer of The Lathe of Heaven, mighty morphin’ senator in X-Men) learns more and more about the history and current events then is suddenly killed by Sheri’s landlady (Judy Geeson of To Sir With Love) and her two “sisters”, Dee Wallace (House of the Devil, The Frighteners) and palmreader Patricia Quinn (Rocky Horror). The Lords “concert” begins, everyone in attendance ends up dead with Sheri missing, and the Devil only knows what happens next.

Funny that Bruce Davison’s role was suposed to be played by Bruce Dern since I thought Meg Foster rather looked like Dern – until she got naked, which she did often. Saw Sid Haig’s name in the credits and kicked myself for not having recognized him, but IMDB says he was cut. It also says there were no digital effects, but I guess that doesn’t account for the melting-Jesus animation in one of the freakout scenes. Good use of a couple VU & Nico songs, speaking of those.

Oct 2023: Yep, it’s a good one.