A scary thing happened on the way to the Movie Forums - Horrorcrammers

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The friend I'm doing Sunday Horror Movie Club with and I were having a conversation early on. I was trying to figure out what kind of horror she might like and what her boundaries might be in terms of themes/content/violence (because, for example, she has a young daughter, is freshly out of an unhealthy relationship, etc).

I said, "So what horror have you seen that really put you off the genre?"

And she said, "Have you seen any Rob Zombie films?"

Anyway, despite me not seeing them I did tell her that they were operating off of a base of exploitation films from an earlier era, and that it might be harder to take them at more than face value if you didn't know (and love!) those earlier films.
I'm gonna go ahead and say that you should watch Lords Of Salem if you haven't.
Keep in mind as you watch it that the budget is low and Zombie had lost a lot of faith from the industry for the Halloween debacles (the second of which actually really has a lot of good stuff but is just too bizarre and violent for most people and certainly makes a few missteps as well) but he really did try to make a pretty neat little supernatural horror movie with LoS while still keeping in his very, very dark style. At times, he's basically using like four pieces of sheetrock and some neon to try to get the effect he wants on the budget and, in that context, some of it actually really looks great and you can get a sense that if he would get out of his own f*cking way, he might actually be a pretty good filmmaker bordering on a low-grade auteur. In my opinion.
It's a dark movie (in terms of how it feels) but it is not a mean movie. Which is a nice change of pace for him. And I actually like the movie.



What Wooley said.
I'd also like to add that, pre-Eggers, LoS was responsible for some of my favorite witchcraft-related imagery of recent times.
Agreed.



It's a dark movie (in terms of how it feels) but it is not a mean movie. Which is a nice change of pace for him. And I actually like the movie.
Added to my watchlist, but if I don't like it *shakes fist*



Added to my watchlist, but if I don't like it *shakes fist*
I can accept that.



Added to my watchlist, but if I don't like it *shakes fist*
Psssh, you call that a fist shake?








Lords of Salem, 2012

Radio DJ Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie) receives a strange record in the mail from a band she's never heard of called Lords of Salem. On playing the record, Heidi begins to experience strange visions and sensations. When the radio broadcasts the song, other women in Salem are impacted. Meanwhile, a local historian (Bruce Davison) is shaken by the band and the music and looks into where the record came from.

Okay, good call, Horrcrammers.

There were two things that I really dug about the film.

The first was just the slow-burn nature of it. On one hand, this is the kind of film that I think of as a misery spiral. Like, ten minutes into this film you're like, "Oh, okay, this main character is going to give birth to the antrichrist by the end of the run time." But the development of the main character's experience and the way that it was conveyed visually was really neat.

Related is the second thing I liked, which is the way that the film crafts its own witch mythology. Witches can be tricky. As we have discussed many times before, presenting a reality in which witches are real has the troubling effect of essentially justifying the torture and murder of many women whose only crime was being a little weird or unmarried landowners. Witches are villains in this film, but they have a clear point of view and a somewhat coherent internal logic. The story and the images make sense together, and that elevates both of them.

I also was a fan of the music---the general soundtrack and also the "witch track". The idea of a song "activating" the women of Salem could have come off like some sort of dumb Satanic panic element, and it's to the credit of the film that it comes off as fun and spooky.

On the downside, well, I did find the story a bit predictable. Films with that "dark" vibe sometimes have the effect of feeling too obvious, and that's how I felt here. I knew the ending of the film after the first ten minutes. It takes away some of the stakes to feel as if everything is predestined.

My only real complaint was the character of the historian. At one point, he just turns into an exposition machine. I couldn't tell if this character was meant to be a parody of this type of character, but it didn't matter. The character of his wife was great, and I really liked their scenes. But the scene where he's researching on the internet was painful. And he's also talking to himself?! Like we watch him google "family tree" and then he says out loud "Let's see who you're related to." Dude, WE KNOW WHAT THIS MAN IS DOING ON A WEBSITE CALLED FAMILYTREE.COM! I did feel like this character was meant to be meta commentary, but he mostly felt like a huge waste of runtime.

Generally speaking I thought that this was a neat little flick. I dug the imagery and I liked the mythology it built around witches, even if it wasn't entirely complete.






Lords of Salem, 2012

Radio DJ Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie) receives a strange record in the mail from a band she's never heard of called Lords of Salem. On playing the record, Heidi begins to experience strange visions and sensations. When the radio broadcasts the song, other women in Salem are impacted. Meanwhile, a local historian (Bruce Davison) is shaken by the band and the music and looks into where the record came from.

Okay, good call, Horrcrammers.

There were two things that I really dug about the film.

The first was just the slow-burn nature of it. On one hand, this is the kind of film that I think of as a misery spiral. Like, ten minutes into this film you're like, "Oh, okay, this main character is going to give birth to the antrichrist by the end of the run time." But the development of the main character's experience and the way that it was conveyed visually was really neat.

Related is the second thing I liked, which is the way that the film crafts its own witch mythology. Witches can be tricky. As we have discussed many times before, presenting a reality in which witches are real has the troubling effect of essentially justifying the torture and murder of many women whose only crime was being a little weird or unmarried landowners. Witches are villains in this film, but they have a clear point of view and a somewhat coherent internal logic. The story and the images make sense together, and that elevates both of them.

I also was a fan of the music---the general soundtrack and also the "witch track". The idea of a song "activating" the women of Salem could have come off like some sort of dumb Satanic panic element, and it's to the credit of the film that it comes off as fun and spooky.

On the downside, well, I did find the story a bit predictable. Films with that "dark" vibe sometimes have the effect of feeling too obvious, and that's how I felt here. I knew the ending of the film after the first ten minutes. It takes away some of the stakes to feel as if everything is predestined.

My only real complaint was the character of the historian. At one point, he just turns into an exposition machine. I couldn't tell if this character was meant to be a parody of this type of character, but it didn't matter. The character of his wife was great, and I really liked their scenes. But the scene where he's researching on the internet was painful. And he's also talking to himself?! Like we watch him google "family tree" and then he says out loud "Let's see who you're related to." Dude, WE KNOW WHAT THIS MAN IS DOING ON A WEBSITE CALLED FAMILYTREE.COM! I did feel like this character was meant to be meta commentary, but he mostly felt like a huge waste of runtime.

Generally speaking I thought that this was a neat little flick. I dug the imagery and I liked the mythology it built around witches, even if it wasn't entirely complete.

Very happy you didnít hate it!

My memory has likely been kinder to the film that it deserves as I donít even remember the Historian character.

What I do remember, is how strong visually the film is. Zombie makes his influences abundantly clear, riffing on Kubrick, Polanski, Jodorowsky and Russell, but it amounts to something distinctly his own.

The closest film in his filmography to this one is the unfairly maligned Halloween 2, which bears a strong resemblance to this one in its implementation of psychedelic imagery to depict a fracturing mind. He uses it to explore both Michael and Laurie, which results in some really great stuff.

Unfortunately, youíd have to watch his Halloween (avoid the directorís cut if you ever do. For some reason he replaces a great sequence that brings in the Devilís Rejects crew in favor of a rape scene and itís terrible) and while I donít hate that film, it has most of his weaknesses and few of his strengths.

I do think H2 can almost be viewed as a sequel to LoS though.



Very happy you didnít hate it!

My memory has likely been kinder to the film that it deserves as I donít even remember the Historian character.
He delivers solidly 80% of the exposition in the film (the other 20% is given in unnarrated flashbacks). In one scene, by going and talking to *another* middle-aged male historian.

The closest film in his filmography to this one is the unfairly maligned Halloween 2, which bears a strong resemblance to this one in its implementation of psychedelic imagery to depict a fracturing mind. He uses it to explore both Michael and Laurie, which results in some really great stuff.
I'll keep it in mind, thanks!



Is Zombie’s Halloween 2 unfairly maligned? Most horror fans in the previous forums defended that movie to death and would rank it as their second favorite Halloween movie.



The trick is not minding
Is Zombieís Halloween 2 unfairly maligned? Most horror fans in the previous forums defended that movie to death and would rank it as their second favorite Halloween movie.
I donít know if itís unfairly maligned, but I wasnít a fan. I didnít like how it changed Loomis Into a fame chasing whore prone to tantrums.
Didnít care for a lot of the decisions with the film, such as the hallucinations.

My bias towards the first two, which I consider the best, may play into it slightly. But not by much.



Is Zombieís Halloween 2 unfairly maligned? Most horror fans in the previous forums defended that movie to death and would rank it as their second favorite Halloween movie.
It absolutely is. At the very least, itís extremely polarizing. It does have its vocal fans and has experienced growing appreciation ala Halloween 3, but to make a post about it on Reddit or Twitter which pools a wider audience and many if not most seem to hate it.

Heck, the second most ďhelpfulĒ review on IMDb gives it 1 star and calls it the worst halloween film. It has an average of 4.8.

Iíd rank it 3rd favorite of the entire franchise after the original and 2018.



I donít know if itís unfairly maligned, but I wasnít a fan. I didnít like how it changed Loomis Into a fame chasing whore prone to tantrums.
Didnít care for a lot of the decisions with the film, such as the hallucinations.

My bias towards the first two, which I consider the best, may play into it slightly. But not by much.
I think the key to appreciating it (I believe the Directorís Cut of H2 is the superior one, unlike his first remake) is to completely divorce it from the expectations of what a Halloween sequel should be, as it isnít like any of the others.

The way that it focuses on psychological trauma is something I find very interesting. Most slasher sequels only give lip service to the concept but through the way he delves into the perspectives of Michael, Laurie, Annie and her dad (played BRILLIANTLY by Dourif) really capture the trauma of these extreme acts of violence. Itís an intensely heavy film and seems to really respect the horror of the situation rather than reveling in the fun of the kill.

Itís not what I want from every slasher but itís an ambitious, accomplished and highly interesting approach that Iím glad exists.

If Scout were a stronger actress and it didnít have the most poorly placed ďF-wordĒ in cinema history, Iíd be willing to toss around even more hyperbolic praise.



The trick is not minding
I think the key to appreciating it (I believe the Directorís Cut of H2 is the superior one, unlike his first remake) is to completely divorce it from the expectations of what a Halloween sequel should be, as it isnít like any of the others.

The way that it focuses on psychological trauma is something I find very interesting. Most slasher sequels only give lip service to the concept but through the way he delves into the perspectives of Michael, Laurie, Annie and her dad (played BRILLIANTLY by Dourif) really capture the trauma of these extreme acts of violence. Itís an intensely heavy film and seems to really respect the horror of the situation rather than reveling in the fun of the kill.

Itís not what I want from every slasher but itís an ambitious, accomplished and highly interesting approach that Iím glad exists.

If Scout were a stronger actress and it didnít have the most poorly placed ďF-wordĒ in cinema history, Iíd be willing to toss around even more hyperbolic praise.
Oh i agree with you. I do try but it isnít something I can shake easily sometimes. *

I really liked how the first remake began. Going into Michaels last as a child was bold and intriguing. I wish it could have kept that pace up.



Oh i agree with you. I do try but it isnít something I can shake easily sometimes. *

I really liked how the first remake began. Going into Michaels last as a child was bold and intriguing. I wish it could have kept that pace up.
I really wish Zombie had just made a slasher flick inspired by Halloween. The worst elements in his films are when he apes Carpenter, only not as good, and bastardizes characters we already know and love.

Itís why I vastly prefer H2, as it was him almost fully liberating himself from the shackles of what a remake ďshouldĒ be and doing his own thing.



The trick is not minding
I really wish Zombie had just made a slasher flick inspired by Halloween. The worst elements in his films are when he apes Carpenter, only not as good, and bastardizes characters we already know and love.

Itís why I vastly prefer H2, as it was him almost fully liberating himself from the shackles of what a remake ďshouldĒ be and doing his own thing.
Him bastardizing Loomis is what ruined 2 for me, mostly. I havenít seen the directors cut yet.
We did finally get a proper on a few years ago at least. And Kills is due out a few months. Looking forward to it



The original Halloween is the only great film I've seen from the franchise, and Season of the Witch the only other I full heartedly endorse. Zombie's H2 would be next on that list, by a wide margin. It's a bit of a messy, and has possibly the most annoying onslaught of Zombie's dialogue which is consistently the worst part of his movies, but it's at least....something. It's unique, and I'm okay overlooking all the stuff I don't like because of that.



It must’ve been the old RT I was on when H2 came out. People were OBSESSED with it.



Man, I know DaMU got chewed out for thinking Season of the Witch kind of sucks, but I'm with him 100%. I should love that movie, but there's something a little too slack about the whole package that it falls apart for me.


After the original, Rick Rosenthal's Halloween II is definitely my second favourite. The second act is a bit generic, but I love the dynamic in the first and third acts, and the visual style is on point. (I don't know much about the production history, but wouldn't be surprised if Carpenter ghost-directed parts.)



My only real complaint was the character of the historian. At one point, he just turns into an exposition machine. I couldn't tell if this character was meant to be a parody of this type of character, but it didn't matter. The character of his wife was great, and I really liked their scenes. But the scene where he's researching on the internet was painful. And he's also talking to himself?! Like we watch him google "family tree" and then he says out loud "Let's see who you're related to." Dude, WE KNOW WHAT THIS MAN IS DOING ON A WEBSITE CALLED FAMILYTREE.COM! I did feel like this character was meant to be meta commentary, but he mostly felt like a huge waste of runtime.
Was the historian the Bruce Davison character? I remember him being my favourite part, haha. But pretty sure that was entirely the strength of his performance.


I do like the movie, and appreciate Zombie going for a more purely visual form of storytelling here. Do I think he's good enough to pull it off? Not really, but I respect the effort. Like I said earlier, his sincerity goes a long way for me. I'm also willing to give it a rewatch to see if I warm up to it more.