New Trailer: Lords of Salem

salemHorror is an incredibly difficult genre to do well. And while I’ve seen hundreds of horror films over the years in search of the ultimate terror experience, I would have to say that there have been very few that I would consider great. When I say great, I suppose I refer to those films that are not just scary (which is very rare in itself) but those that are actually deemed qualitatively impressive beyond the confines of their own community of genre fans. Re-Animator is very funny, for example, and will always hold a soft spot in my heart, but it is neither scary nor a particularly well made film.

It will surprise many (perhaps most) people to hear me say that I believe Rob Zombie is one of the few filmmakers who makes great horror films. I’ll stand behind House of 1000 Corpses, and more importantly his remake of Carpenter’s over-canonised Halloween, any day of the week. I expect most people will disagree, but I see in his work a technical proficiency and deep understanding of what horrifies that I don’t see in many other filmmakers who have worked within the genre. Having said that, he does cross lines that I’m not always particularly comfortable with – but I suppose that’s the horrifying part!

All this is an elongated way of saying that the trailer for Zombie’s new film, Lords of Salem, is out and I’m excited. Take a look:

James Curnow is an obsessive cinephile and the owner and head editor of CURNBLOG. His work as a film journalist has been published in a range of print and digital publications, including The Guardian, Broadsheet and Screening the Past. James is currently working through a PhD in Film Studies, focused primarily on issues of historical representation in Contemporary Hollywood cinema.

25 thoughts on “New Trailer: Lords of Salem

  1. I am anxious to see this one although I am bummed that it’s theatrical release is limited since it’s not playing anywhere around where I live. No less, I agree, Rob Zombie does have a lot of filmmaking talent and he is able to perfectly combine his influences with his own recognizable vision. I don’t prefer his Halloween to Carpenter’s but I feel that House Of 1000 Corpses and it’s sequel The Devil’s Rejects are both exceptional modern horror films that carry the spirit of the 70s era of the genre beautifully.

  2. I haven’t seen enough of RZ’s films to judge, but from that trailer alone, all I can think is, “boring, boring, war in Heaven,Baphomet, boring.” Can anyone point me to a horror film trailer in recent years which did NOT Baphomet? Does anyone care that it wasn’t until LaVey adopted it that the Baphomet symbol was even considered Satanic? Zombie clearly doesn’t. Sigh. Sorry for the rant. 🙂

      • I totally agree that it wouldn’t occur to most people, which is fine. It just bothers me that filmmakers use such lazy short-hand. It’s like, “Look, it’s the BAPHOMET, therefore evil shit’s going down!” which at this point in the history of cinema isn’t powerful. Maybe the first time audiences had seen a man-goat with Hebrew letters around his head it looked crazy-scary, but I doubt that they’re instantly shocked by such imagery anymore.

        Same thing with upside-down crosses.

        And white face paint.

        And pseudo-mediaeval woodcuts.

        And creepy, 8-year-old white kids with bowl haircuts.

        And…

        • Fair enough.

          Although, in the case of Rob Zombie, he is obsessed with cheesy 70s hokum and horror iconography – Charles Manson, dirty mos, sepia tones etc. I’m not surprised that he would use that particular symbol, and most likely for its filmic history (although I imagine he would be aware of its background, given his interest in such things).

          But the film certainly won’t be for everyone, and subsequent to writing this the review material I’ve read suggests it is a bit soft compared to his earlier work.

          • Only a couple of reply levels allowed? 🙂

            I guess I can get Zombie’s obsession, though part of me feels that there’s, therefore, no incentive to watch his film, but rather watch whatever he’s drawing inspiration from. That was certainly the case in the recent The Thing vs. the original. Though I understand that that wasn’t necessarily the same situation and it was sic-fi horror, which is different from Oh-no-Salem-witches-ho-hum-color-by-numbers horror.

            Now sepia tones I’m all for! 🙂

            • I think I •may• have seen some of 1000 Corpses. That was with Dr. Satan, wasn’t it? If so, meh. However, I do wanna check out (I think) Halloween solely for Brad Dourif.

            • I should’ve clarified that I don’t think I’ve seen all of 1000 Corpses all the way through. I think I’ve only seen bits. I probably do lean anti-Zombie, but I recognize that I haven’t really bothered to check him out.

              I’ve never seen Carpenter’s Halloween, so i can’t comment on that, but anyone who casts Dourif must know •something•. 😀

  3. I haven’t liked any of Rob Zombie’s movies, but this looks very promising. I, too, am always in search of a new and genuinely good horror movie. I feel like they’re few and far between.

    Glad you found my blog so I could find yours! Excited to read more.

  4. I love Rob Zombie, though his films all look so…. ’90s? But I loved House of a 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects, yet to meet someone who didn’t!
    I’ll have to see this one. And I’m the opposite, I’ll be scared by anything. Easy to scare. On the other hand I can’t be sucked into dramas / romances very well. Not the best person to watch films with haha.

  5. Can I triple like this post?

    I whole-heartedly agree that Zombie’s “House of 1000 Corpses” was a great horror movie. The almost music-video-like cuts and strange imagery kept me unsettled between the horrific scenes and his remake of “Halloween” was masterful. Without humanizing Mike Myers, he was able to demonstrate how the villain became what he was. He also took the camp out of a pretty good horror movie and transformed it into a brutal and vicious slasher movie.

    I also feel you’re quite correct in your assertion of where horror comes from. Moving into areas that make people uncomfortable is important in horror. Good horror strips us down to our raw emotions and shows us the brutal aspects that reside within us. It’s a terrible mirror that can reflect us more clearly than any other genre.

  6. Horror. Always a difficult one. What makes some scream, makes others laugh. Time also takes its toll on this genre. What was considered terrifying in 1960, would hardly cause concern now. I well remember being slightly disgusted, and feeling very uneasy, after seeing ‘The Exorcist’, on the week of its release. Now it is lampooned in sketches, and shown regularly on TV. I will have to think about this one James.

    • True, I suppose. Although, in defense of The Exorcist, I saw it for the first time in several years about a month ago and I would still consider it to be one of the great films in the genre – although I wasn’t around at the time of its original release. In fact, I’d suggest the parody is not so much a sign of its diffused power as it is a sign of it becoming recognized as a landmark cultural achievement. I’d probably say the same in regards to The Shining, Nosferatu and many other older films. I’d even suggest that Psycho has maintained at least some of its impact.

      • Completely agree about The Exorcist. It is a superbly made and completely terrifying film. However, I didn’t see it for the first time until it was re-released in theaters many years ago (remember that?), and while I was curled up in my seat in the fetal position, people were actually laughing and walking out (the theater was packed). I get that some people laugh when they’re uncomfortable/scared, but it’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen, and I had nightmares for weeks. I really don’t think any horror film can, or has, topped it.

        • Absolutely, I suspect it’s the use of imagery and dialogue that goes so far beyond what’s expected that makes people laugh awkwardly. I also think people who hadn’t seen the film often came to see the rerelease with the misapprehension that they were going to see something a little more hokey and ‘fun’.

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