DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Rob Zombie
Sheri Moon Zombie, Bruce Davison, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Judy Geeson, Meg Foster, Patricia Quinn, Ken Foree, Dee Wallace
Writing Credits:
Rob Zombie

Heretic. Witch. Devil.

From the singular mind of horror maestro Rob Zombie comes a chilling plunge into a nightmare world where evil runs in the blood. The Lords of Salem tells the tale of Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie), a radio station DJ living in Salem, Massachusetts, who receives a strange wooden box containing a record, a “gift from the Lords.” Heidi listens, and the bizarre sounds within the grooves immediately trigger flashbacks of the town’s violent past. Is Heidi going mad, or are the “Lords of Salem” returning for revenge on modern-day Salem?

Box Office:
$2.5 million.
Opening Weekend
$642.000 thousand on 345 screens.
Domestic Gross
$1.163 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 101 min.
Price: $30.99
Release Date: 9/3/2013

• Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Rob Zombie
• DVD Copy


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


The Lords Of Salem [Blu-Ray] (2013)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 3, 2013)

After a moderately successful career as a rock musician, Rob Zombie embarked on a change of pace: he became a moderately successful movie director. Actually, “moderately successful” might be a stretch, as Zombie’s movies tend to fare poorly at the box office. His résumé boasts one decent gross: 2007’s Halloween remake took in $58 million, which is more than respectable for a low-budget horror flick. Its sequel managed $33 million; again, that’s not a lot by Hollywood standards, but I’m sure the movie made a profit.

On the other end of the spectrum comes Zombie’s latest flick, 2013’s The Lords of Salem, which earned a microscopic $1.1 million in the US. Since the film cost only $1.5 million to make, it didn’t turn into a disaster; heck, after home video, the film might even find its way to a profit. But it’s still not what you call a promising development for Zombie’s career.

Halloween represents my sole screening of a Zombie film, so despite the poor reception given to Lords, I figured it was time to give him another look. In a prologue, we see a Satanic ritual from Ye Olden Dayes before we hop to the present time. We meet Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie), a DJ for a rock radio station where she pairs with Herman Salvador (Jeff Daniel Phillips) and Herman Jackson (Ken Foree). At the job, she receives a mysterious wooden box with a vinyl record in it.

Apparently from a band called “The Lords”, Heidi and Salvador spin the album and it produces a strange reaction from her, as it makes her disoriented and tired. She and the Hermans play it on the air the next day and inspire similar unusual behaviors among the women who hear it. From there we slowly learn more about “The Lords” and how their plan impacts Heidi.

Given that I thought Zombie’s Halloween was a pretty terrible film, I can’t say I came into Lords with high expectations. Nonetheless, I anticipated something better than this messy, sloppy, pointless excursion into genre idiocy.

Apparently Zombie took in many viewings of The Shining and Rosemary’s Baby, as he steals from them quite a bit. We see numerous stylistic rip-offs and other elements that reveal a substantial influence from those efforts.

Unfortunately, visual choices don’t make one Kubrick or Polanski. While I’m not a huge fan of The Shining, I’d take it eight days a week over this inane tripe. At his worst, Kubrick remained pretty good, while at his best, Zombie apparently can’t make anything better than “Z”-level schlock.

Lords starts poorly, as the Satanic ritual delivers no scares or chills; instead, it brings us campy laughs that signal the ridiculous journey we’ll soon take. Once that ends, we find seemingly endless shots of Heidi as she starts her day. Granted, I don’t particularly mind the long, lingering image of Heidi’s bare backside, but that shot – and subsequent visions of Heidi puttering around her apartment – serve no narrative purpose.

Zombie demonstrated this trait in Halloween as well. He apparently doesn’t possess a basic understanding of editing or pacing, as he likes scenes that run too long and offer nothing of value. Perhaps Zombie thinks these moments of quiet add to the shock of later scenes, but they don’t; instead, these lulls just come across as slow and pointless.

As also occurred during Halloween, Zombie produces large lapses in logic. For instance, why does Heidi’s rather mainstream radio station play the Lords’ atonal music? I get that its first airing exists as a joke, but then they continue to feature the album - and they even promote a concert from the band! Zombie likes his plot contrivances, as he’s happy to stretch logic to suit whatever overall narrative he hopes to advance.

None of this produces a coherent or even vaguely interesting movie. Indeed, Lords often plays like a parody, and maybe Zombie intended some of that, but I don’t often get that impression. I think Zombie believes he creates tales of eerie terror, not cringe-worthy laughfests.

Whatever Zombie’s intentions may have been, Lords winds up as a terrible movie. It wastes a cast with some interesting genre stalwarts like Foree and Dee Wallace, and it trashes a premise that came with theoretical promise. Outside of a quick and appealing nude shot of a woman about to shower, nothing good comes of this stinker.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus C

The Lords of Salem appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This was a generally positive presentation.

Sharpness was good most of the time. A few shots could be a bit on the soft side, partly due to the style of photography used for the film. Overall clarity remained fine, though. I saw no signs of jaggies or moiré effects, and edge haloes failed to appear. Print flaws also didn’t mar the image.

In terms of colors, Lords went with a highly stylized palette that favored sickly yellows. A few other monochromatic elements appeared as well, but the yellow dominated. The tones didn’t look especially good, but they represented the intended hues. Blacks were fairly dark and deep, and shadows demonstrated reasonable delineation. Nothing here excelled, this remained a more than competent transfer.

In addition, the film’s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack worked fine for the material. The soundscape tended toward creepy ambience, as the story didn’t lend itself toward a lot of more dynamic moments. On occasion, more active components came to the fore – such as during satanic ceremonies – but those were the exception to the rule. Still, the mix used the different channels to complement the tale and they meshed together well.

Audio quality seemed fine. Music was bold and dynamic, and speech came across as natural and distinctive. Effects showed good range and clarity, with detailed highs and warm lows. In the end, this turned into a mix that suited the film.

One extra appears on the Blu-ray: an audio commentary from writer/director Rob Zombie. He delivers a running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, sets and locations, cast and performances, music, editing and deleted/altered sequences, cinematography, and some other areas.

I’ve seen two Zombie movies and disliked both. However, I’ve listened to two Zombie commentaries and enjoyed both very much. Zombie comes across as a direct, amiable presence and he tells us a lot about his films. He delivers plenty of good notes and his personality helps make this a positive track.

A second disc delivers a DVD copy of Lords. It also includes the Zombie audio commentary.

Though I disliked the first Rob Zombie film I saw, I gave him another chance via 2013’s The Lords of Salem - and immediately regretted it. Inane, incoherent and ridiculous, the film rambles along in search of scares it never finds. The Blu-ray comes with fairly good picture and audio as well as an enjoyable commentary. Avoid this pointless attempt at terror.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.8333 Stars Number of Votes: 6
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main