Rob Zombie channels Kubrick for ‘The Lords of Salem’

Sheri Moon Zombie plays a besieged metal DJ in Rob Zombie's "The Lords of Salem" Credit: Anchor Bay Films
Sheri Moon Zombie plays a besieged metal DJ in Rob Zombie’s “The Lords of Salem.”
Credit: Anchor Bay Films

‘The Lords of Salem’
Director: Rob Zombie
Stars: Sheri Moon Zombie, Bruce Davison
Rating: R
3 (out of 5) globes

Odd as it may sound that the frontman of a ‘90s alt-metal bound can be taken seriously (by some) as a film auteur, in five films Rob Zombie has eked out a niche all his own. His is a cinema of grimily underlit visions and trash-mouthed redneck banter swapped by a cast of half-forgotten cult movie stars. Plenty of filmmakers play this Tarantino game, but only the former White Zombie frontman has nabbed Ken Foree (“Dawn of the Dead”) and Judy Geeson (“To Sir, With Love”). More importantly, his passion for horror goes beyond mere affectation. He understands the tortured feelings roiling underneath the genre’s gory facades. In “The Devil’s Rejects” and his two “Halloween” films, evil wins, survives or is even, in some ways, if only briefly, sympathetic.

In “The Lords of Salem,” he does his own perverse version of “Rosemary’s Baby.” Sheri Moon Zombie, his not untalented wife, once again appears as Heidi, a tattooed recovering junkie who’s now a DJ on a hit metal show with wacky sound effects. (As ever, Zombie’s sense of humor manifests itself in odd places.) Much like in the ‘80s metal horror curio “Trick or Treat,” a mysterious record unleashes hell. In this case it makes her susceptible to a coven of witches who wish her to sire Satan’s baby.

Largely missing from “Salem” are the brutally unpleasant murders and complicated audience identification structures that made Zombie’s previous films so effective. It’s a slow burn — a very slow burn, with aimless investigating (much of it casually performed by Bruce Davison) punctuated by noisy shock cuts to horned goats and shrieking naked witches (including Meg Foster, she of the distressing light blue eyes). Each day is punctuated by a shocking title crash, much like — in fact, exactly like — in “The Shining.”

It becomes evident that this isn’t leading to a showdown climax, but the one it gives us instead is even better. Zombie’s conclusion is a mad fever dream montage with the self-aware boldness of the capper to “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Irma Vep,” had they fed viewers Satanic imagery against the Velvet Underground. It’s not simply the brazenness, especially after a long, not always rewarding journey, that makes it original. It’s the way it clamps down suddenly on a narrative that seemed to be building to standard, comforting redemption. Instead it goes the other way.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Drive charged in fatal hit and run, police…

The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit and run in Manhattan last weekend. Doohee Cho, 33, was hit…

Local

Mayor de Blasio raises minimum wage for some…

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday morning that will raise the minimum wage for workers employed by private companies that receive more…

National

3 myths about the working poor

Linda Tirado works to debunk some common stereotypes about the working poor in her new book, "Hand to Mouth."

Money

Lawsuit funding advances: friend or foe?

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Many plaintiffs awaiting resolution of their lawsuit or legal claim often find themselves in a tricky financial…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

Entertainment

Interview: Metro chats with filmmaker Meir Kalmanson, man…

A New York filmmaker hands out smiles to its residents.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 30: 'Selfie,' 'Utopia'…

'Selfie' This modern day take on the "My Fair Lady" story stars John Cho in the Henry Higgins role. Perhaps instead of "the rain in…

Music

Can't-miss weekend events continue to attract the masses

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Earlier this summer, the Firefly Music Festival drew crowds of tens of thousands of people to Dover, Delaware.…

MLB

Mets 2014 report card

The Mets wrapped up their eight straight season without a playoff appearance last weekend. Needless to say, they fell a bit short of general manager…

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

Style

Products that support breast cancer awareness and research

Asics GT-1000, $100 Asics’ third pink collection in collaboration with Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women includes this pink-accented version of its best-selling GT-1000 3…

Wellbeing

Dr. Marisa Weiss: Where we stand on breast…

As an oncologist and a survivor herself, Dr. Marisa Weiss knows the urgency felt by those diagnosed with breast cancer. Genetic testing has accelerated the…

Wellbeing

Bees' stingers hold new hope for cancer cure

A promising new lead in the search for a cancer cure has turned up in a place that most people naturally avoid. A team from…

Home

Emily Henderson on small space design

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us how to upgrade our cramped quarters.