A couple of filmmakers exist, that simply mentioning their name on any type of public forum causes people to spit venom. Rob Zombie is one of those filmmakers, along with Eli Roth. Some people haven’t matured enough yet to genuinely understand the meaning of opinion. Is it possible that a person could just not like certain things? Of course it is. But you and I, as well as those that constantly spew vitriolic responses when somebody mentions liking one of Rob Zombie’s films realizes that, whether or not we like his movies, claiming that he has no talent for the trade is absurd. Equally absurd is the claim that any one particular movie of his is the “worst movie ever”. If you don’t like it, great, you’ve formed an opinion. But, without the somewhat anonymous veil that the social media and the internet creates, you couldn’t look at me with a straight face and tell me that any film he has directed is the worst movie you’ve ever seen. One of the things I see on a daily basis that annoys me greatly, is people that feel they have to dump all over anything they perceive as popular. I’ve got news for you, almost every movie you love, despite how underground you think it is, could be considered popular. So please, take it down a notch, and lets start discussing the things we love like adults, please.
Now that I’ve gotten that little rant out of my system, let us discuss the Blu-Ray release of Zombie’s latest film, The Lords Of Salem, which retails tomorrow, September 3rd 2013. Whereas Zombie’s previous films have been released by Lionsgate and Dimension, The Lords Of Salem was picked up for distribution by Anchor Bay. What this generally means is that the chances of a wide theatrical release are next to nothing. Think back to yourself, just how many times in recent years you can recall seeing the Anchor Bay logo splashed across the screen at a theater, and I would wager to say that the count is pretty low. Knowing this when the film was released to theaters, my wife and I planned a weekend trip to Cincinnati, so that I could be within driving distances of one of the theaters I knew for certain would be playing the film. Of course, a week later, the number of theaters seemed to expand a bit, and it was playing at one of the local theaters, but I didn’t mind getting out of town for a few days, so I’m okay with that.
Seeing The Lords Of Salem in a theater was an interesting experience. I pretty much knew what to expect before going in, and I tried to prepare my wife for what was to come as well, but seeing the expression on people’s faces as they witnessed the oddities of this film, was quite a sight to behold. A lot of people went into this, not only expecting another Devil’s Rejects, but expecting a film with a straight forward narrative. Neither of those things are delivered by The Lords Of Salem. Zombie found a way to make both a more restrained film, as well as his strangest film to date. This means that audiences are going to be divided, even among fans of Zombie’s previous films. So much of the story is told through surreal visuals, rather than scenes of long-winded exposition, that it immediately alienates some viewers. Those of us that are familiar with the films of David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick or even Alejandro Jodorowsky will have a much easier time digesting The Lords Of Salem.
A lot of people complain about Zombie’s usage of his wife, Sheri Moon in all of his films. And, I will be the first to admit that I think her role in Halloween II made that film a little less enjoyable than it would have been otherwise, but I think she is unfairly targeted by people that claim that she is a terrible actor. Sheri Moon can act, and if she had aspirations of being a star outside of the world of Rob Zombie, I have no doubt she could do so. Add to that that she is absolutely gorgeous, and has a tremendous, bubbly screen presence, and for the most part, I don’t mind if he uses her in every film he ever directs, so long as there is a good reason for her character to exist. Sheri plays the lead role in The Lords Of Salem, and I think she does an incredible job with it. Those of you that have yet to see the film, but find her as attractive as I do, will be happy to know that she gets extremely naked in this movie.
The Lords Of Salem is one of Rob Zombie’s best films. One thing that his detractors would claim when bashing his previous films, was that his scripts are bad, and that he lacks the ability to write believable dialog. This was nonsense even before this movie was released, but even more so now. I don’t know why it was so hard to accept that a group of sociopathic white trash serial killers would use excessive profanity, but there is pretty much none of that at all here. All of the dialog feels very natural, and compared to something like The Devil’s Rejects, there is almost a complete lack of profanity. Couple that with some solid performances, a great score and visuals reminiscent of a Lynch/Jodorowski lovechild, and if you can deal with the fact that you will not be spoon fed elements of the plot to coddle your comprehension of the narrative, you should have all of the information, to make an informed decision as to whether or not this is the type of film you would enjoy.
As mentioned before, The Lords Of Salem was distributed by Anchor Bay. What this means to you as a media collector, is that there will not be nearly the same amount of extras you’ve grown accustomed to with previous home video releases of Rob Zombie’s films. In fact, the Lords Of Salem Blu-Ray is about as vanilla as you can get, as far as Blu-Rays go. There is only one extra feature on the disc, and that is Zombie’s director’s commentary. I watched the Blu-Ray twice, once with and once without the commentary, and while it’s still somewhat informative if you’re a fan of the film, I found the commentary itself to be a bit lacking in comparison with commentaries that Zombie has done for past films. I think the difference is, previously he would record the commentary early on in the process, whereas with Lords, he recorded the track after the fact, meaning the film had already come and gone, and he had already gotten sick of seeing it so many times, that he just comes across as disinterested at times. I don’t know whether or not there will be a special edition release down the road with added features. It would be great, and I would purchase it if it came to fruition, but it’s really hard to tell with Anchor Bay. I suppose it depends on how well this release sells. The Blu-Ray is still well worth the purchase though, because like I have said already, it’s a great film and definitely one of Zombie’s best. It looks and sounds spectacular on the format, and this is likely the best release we’re going to get until a few years down the road, so if you plan to make the purchase, there really isn’t a good reason to hold out for a special edition that may or may not even happen.
The Lords Of Salem Will Be Released On DVD & Blu-Ray on September 3rd, from Starz/Anchor Bay. You can pre-order the disc here.