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FLICKS: Lords of Salem

Posted on 25 April 2013 by LeslieM

Dave Montalbano with picture of Samantha from "Bewitched"

Dave Montalbano with picture of Samantha from “Bewitched” in Salem, MA

By Dave Montalbano


Whenever I visit my sister’s family in Massachusetts, New England offers a variety of vacation experiences. When visiting Gloucester, one feels the rustic romance of Captains Courageous and The Perfect Storm. The city of Boston features the fine arts of The Boston Pops with the blue collar partisanship of the Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics. Just north of Boston is the seaport town of Salem, made more famous by the Salem Witch Trials.

Modern Salem derives much revenue from this dark mark of history with wax museums, new age shops and ghost tours.

Written by Marilyn Monroe’s ex husband, Arthur Miller, The Crucible was written to parallel the Salem Witchcraft Trials with Senator Joe McCarthy’s blacklisting in the 1950s. Filmed in 1996, The Crucible was a box-office disappointment, despite a cast headlined by Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, Paul Scofield and Bruce Davison.

Davison returns to Salem for Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem, a horror movie that challenges Salem witchcraft trial lore. In Zombie’s world, the witches are guilty-ascharged with plans to enact revenge upon Salem descendants.

Heidi Hawthorne (Sheri Moon-Zombie – Rob’s wife) is the descendant of the historical figure of Judge John Hawthorne. The woman has enough of her own problems; she is a recovering drug addict.

Hawthorne is a disc jockey who works Whitey (Jeffrey Daniel Phillips-Geico’s Caveman) and Herman Jackson (Ken Foree). The three deejays receive a strange vinyl record album and broadcast the song on the airwaves. Bad things happen to the townspeople.

The Lords of Salem is Rob Zombie’s 5th motion picture. Unlike the manic editing of The Devil’s Rejects and Halloween, this film is a static motion picture that creeps up on you. Given the low budget, the shot composition is amazing with a color palette of mind-jarring visuals.

With such breathtaking visuals and empathetic characters, this film is dirty horror with grungy witches (led by Meg Foster, Dee Wallace, Patricia Quinn, Judy Geeson) and an open-ended conclusion. The Lord of Salem will not appeal to many tastes, but is definitely a horror film.

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