So hubby and I just finished watching this tonight, and we both really loved it. This will be a spoiler-free review, so read on in peace.
I love Rob Zombie as a musician; both White Zombie and his solo work are some of my favourite stuff to listen to. I also love his whole vision—he's a Monster Kid, through and through, and a New Englander to boot (born in Haverhill, MA); he's got that love of autumn and the Spooky that we all seem to have in our blood.
When he decided to branch out into film, I was really excited. However, unfortunately, I really didn't enjoy House of 1000 Corpses; it just wasn't my thing. As a result, I didn't see the follow-up. Nor have I seen his two takes on the Halloween franchise; slasher films aren't my favourite, and I'm a heretic and like Halloween III the best out of the series (and I will defend that when asked).
So when I heard about The Lords of Salem, I was cautiously optimistic. Here was subject matter near and dear to me, and obviously to Zombie. And happily, he came through.
Fair warning: this is not a movie for general audiences, or even general horror movie fans. Rob has crafted a horror-movie-aficionado's film, and he wears his influences proudly on his sleeve. It is very much a love letter to Hammer films, 60's- and 70's-B-movie horror, giallo, and Mario Bava. The pacing, colours and filters he uses all hearken back to those influences very heavily, but he handles them with skill and grace, and the end result is a pleasure to watch.
The film moves slowly, in its own time. There are very few outright scares. There is a lot of nudity (both male and female). And the last third is completely and totally blissed-out gonzo; Zombie knew where he wanted to go with it, and what he wanted to do, and simply did it, with no apologies.
It was shot in Salem, so I did a lot of "Oh! I've been there!" while watching, and it made me homesick. His wife, Sheri, is improving—she did quite a good job here. The movie also stars Patricia Quinn, who we all know as Magenta from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
The soundtrack was really great, especially the main "theme" from the Lords of Salem—it's an especially creepy little melody. I also find it amusing that recently, it seems that Mozart's Requiem has become the classical music shorthand for "shit's about to go down"; you know when you hear any of the movements from that piece, nothing good is going to come of it (they use "Lacrimosa" in this case, which happens to be my favourite out of all of the movements, so I was happy).
I think Rob Zombie took a risk making this film; it's obvious it was a labour of love for him, but if you enjoy a certain kind of horror film, I really recommend giving this one a go. The Lords of Salem will be getting a spot on our yearly list of Halloween movies.