Rob Zombie has gone from grindhouse to art house with "Lords Of Salem," his most stylish, atmospheric, and terrifying film to date.
Rare is the horror film that actually scares its audience nowadays. Rob Zombie himself has not managed to genuinely scare me with his movies. He's entertained me. He's made me squirm. But he hasn't scared me. Not until now.
Here's Rob Zombie's ode to Argento and Fulci. The story is simple. A woman becomes unglued by listening to a strange recording that was sent to her. She starts hallucinating. Soon, her hallucinations become so intense and frequent that reality and illusion become one. That, in a nutshell, is the trip Rob Zombie takes you on in "Lords of Salem."
This is like Polanski's "Repulsion" set in the nutty world of 80's Italian horror. Visually, this is crazy, outrageous, blasphemous, and shocking. Zombie creates a dream world with little more than the right lighting and sound. "Lords" has the most dark, brooding, oppressive atmosphere of any recent horror film I can think of. And if the score doesn't get under your skin, you must not be listening.
There are a few missteps. A shot of what I believe was supposed to be the devil looked like a man-turkey. That's right. A man/turkey creature. Disturbing, yes, but not in the way I think it was intended to be. A similar shot shows us a creature that looks like the title character from "Harry and the Hendersons." Also, Sherri Moon Zombie is the lead again, and although she isn't bad, she's definitely out of her league with the rest of the cast, who are excellent.
So, this won't be for everyone, even casual horror fans. But the horror geeks and lovers of old-school psychological horror should eat this up. It is one strange trip.