Zombie’s “Lords of Salem”

A Satan-worshiping rock band. “God is the unholy pig,” says the lead singer. “We serve the butcher.” Their song brings the devil—a huge werewolf in one scene, something much more stout and strange in another. It possesses a radio DJ. She can’t get a break from demented hallucinations getting progressively worse. Demon doctors and priests torment her.

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My wife wouldn’t watch “Lords of Salem,” the new Rob Zombie movie just out on DVD. She made it through the witches’ obscenely blasphemous naked fire dance ceremony at the beginning, then she was out. I thought we had a standing rule she has to watch horror movies with me every Halloween week, just like I watch “The Notebook” every Valentine’s Day. (Yeah, right.)

Rob Zombie is a personal hero. He made two of my favorite snowboarding songs, the fast-blasting “Feel So Numb” and “Never Gonna Stop.” Once when I was in high school, I went to watch my friends play on the soccer team and “More Human Than Human” started playing over the loudspeakers during warmups. It starts with 20 seconds of a woman moaning through sex. A bunch of the parents got this look on their faces like something stank, and started huffing like offended uptight nuns. One went to the announcer’s booth and got the song turned off. Ha!

Zombie’s movie “House of 1,000 Corpses” remains my favorite scary movie. In horror films the characters are usually afraid of being killed. In “Corpses,” the poor kids just want to be killed so their suffering will end. A lot of it is psychological trauma—pure fear—from watching what happens to the members of their group lucky enough to die first. It’s scary. Craziest clown ever. Faces are cut off and worn like masks.

There’s skin melting in “Lords of Salem,” as a coven is burned at the stake. The movie includes atrocious violence against babies. Its story takes place over a week, with each day announced on-screen. Things slip so far out of control by “Tuesday” that the thought of how bad it can get by “Friday” fills ensuing scenes with pronounced dread. Zombie doesn’t disappoint. There are creatures, and crazy religious symbols. After a demon birth like this, what can Zombie possibly do next? Something even more insane.

I didn’t see “Lords of Salem” in the theater and felt a little guilty when the flick appeared to bomb. Like Zombie’d needed me. I’m glad I waited until this week to watch it, though. Halloween is when witches should burn and the devil should rise. Zombie rules.

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