Sunday, June 15, 2014

live blogging the lords of salem [2012]

i like much of rob zombie's cinema.  many many years ago zombie hosted a monter movie marathon on basic cable.  along with his hosting duties zombie also broadcast a couple of his band's, white zombie, videos.  the dude has an eye for the colorful and the macabre.  call me a fan.  most of his films are more miss than hit.  but even at their lamest these movies have some very beautiful imagery.

zombie has studied the masters like dario argento and lucio fulci.  argento figures prominently in this flick.  sheri moon zombie is a radio dj who receives a vinyl record with all kinds of weird shit in it.  the lords of salem were a coven of witches in the 17th century.  the lived, yep, in salem, massachusetts.  sheri moon zombie, is now getting all sorts of argento inspired visions.

the acting is a bit too baroque.  the acting matches the imagery.  moon zombie is all sorts of indie hipster with dreadlocks and tattoos.  she is an attractive woman and it is cool to see a 40-something woman in the lead of any film.

i said live blogging so let's get to it.  moon zombie went to see a priest.  a young guy.  who starts intoning some kind of biblical language.  she gets up to run away and he, the priest, seems utterly normal.

now there is some hardcore 17th century witchery imagery.  leave it to rob zombie to anti-prettify these witches.  these hags are filthy, wild maned, and tough.

what the fuck is this!?  a witch condemned to death by fire with an iron mask and shots of a goat nearby.

back to one of the radio dj's listening to the record of the lords of salem and trying to figure it out.

okay, the dj's are on air.  what up?  we have to wait and see.

hmmm. . .the lords of salem are a band?  the dj, ken foree [awesome actor!] announces a concert by the lords.

playing the ambient lords of salem music moon zombie looks like she was about to orgasm.  17th century witchery was playing. my guess, in her head.

okay, rob zombie can compose a shot.  lots of great spooky lighting and editing.  but the writing could use a bit more umph!

the bruce davison character, one third of the late night radio dj triumvirate, interviewed an 'expert' who gave davison a gloss on the history of the salem witches.

holy shit, you guessed it, moon zombie is cursed.  she is coughing up blood in her apartment.  she is freaking out and seeing zombie doctors who want to slice and dice our star.

might i speculate a little and say that our heroine will be dragged permanently into lord-dom.  the poster in her bathroom, a cool 1930s robot design, just leaked blood out of one of the robot's mouth.

huh!?  moon zombie's character is a crack addict?!  she is smoking some shit and listening to a french language lesson.  now, the three ladies from the 17th century coven are at her door bearing companionship and food.

the 17th century ladies are all over moon zombie who has passed out.  they are walking our chick down a corridor.  because she is a witch?  hang on.

now moon zombie is sleep walking in to a cathedral, her face painted, with classical music.  fuckin' a.  the priest is one fat fucking scary monster. 

the deed is done.  moon zombie is i think one of the witches.  why not. 

she just declined a date, via phone, from a non-witch kind of dude.  what does that mean? 

she's a fucking witch, that's why!

the bruce davison character, one of the three dj's, is now speaking to two of the 17th century coven.

the third part of the coven just walked into the room.

he just got brained with a frying pan.

again and again and again.  my guess is the davison character is dead.  somehow moon zombie, from a cut-way shot, was able to feel his pain.

i don't know what the fuck is happening.  the nice guy whoo wants to date moon zombie head to go past the three 17th century witches who were sitting on the steps of  moon zombie's apartment.  a quick shot to a zombie in full catholic priest regalia complete with red lighting.  now the hipster doofus is in the apartment.  a curtain was closed on him.

now the three 17th century witches are in a theater, chanting, 'satan come to us, we are ready.'  the witches who were burned at the stake appeared on stage too.

moon zombie is in the audience and is stripping down for the witches.

go figure.

now moon zombie is on stage writhing with a goat, a goth dude, and lots of other sorts of deviltry.  what's going on?  a whole lot of naked writhing by the witches.

 the scene cutaway to our three witches who seem to have been waiting for moon zombie.  who stands on top of a pile of bodies.  a few images of moon zombie playing with her dog.  now the credits role with a news anchor voice over about suicides related to the historical witches.  what happened?  moon zombie was fated to become one of the lords of salem.

satisfying as a movie?  there are some very lovely, haunting imagery but the script could use a some help.  


At 6:40 PM, Blogger William Keckler said...

This one didn't work for me either, Richard. Some of his previous movies are pretty taut/ horrific. But for reasons you cite here, it really just came across as slack, almost a hopelessly overextended dark music video. I think he was trying to cross genres and this hybrid just didn't take at all.

At 11:04 PM, Blogger richard lopez said...

i still give an a to zombie for his effort. this movie is one hot mess of fantastic imagery. such imagery works well with many of argento's movies. the best of argento's movies are anchored by a narrative that might not be linear but works upon a kind of dream logic. zombie learned to recreate argento's imagery but forgot that such an acute visual language requires a solid foot in narrative. hence this flick is adrift. bummer. but it is, the movie, i mean, pretty to look at.

wonderful stuff, sir, that you are posting on your blog!


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