Movie review: The Zombies are the incompetent 'Lords of Salem'

MCCLATCHY NEWS SERVICEApril 26, 2013 

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“The Lords of Salem” is 101 minutes you’ll never get back.

  • THE LORDS OF SALEM

    1/2

    Rated: R for disturbing violent and sexual content, graphic nudity, language and some drug use. Starring: Sheri Moon Zombie, Bruce Davison, Jeff Daniel. Director: Rob Zombie. Running time: 101 minutes. Theaters: Edwards 22.

Let's give Rob and Sheri Moon Zombie, the Sonny and Cher of sadomasochistic horror, the benefit of the doubt and assume they set out to make "The Lords of Salem" some sort of instant bad cult film about witches.

That still doesn't excuse how dull this one is, how slowly those dull things happen, how the heavy metal rocker-turned-horror director Rob seems to have forgotten how to make even his simplest jolts pay off.

And it doesn't explain how Sheri could have made as many of these movies with her husband (the high mileage shows in her tattoos) and not learned a damned thing about acting. Sleeping nude in the opening scene, yes. She's got that down. And sleeping with her jammies all bunched up down her thighs.

But from the moment her character, Heidi, the recovering addict and late-night DJ, stands in front of a neon cross, holding her hands out with maybe the dumbest expression I've ever seen on a leading lady's face, it's no wonder nobody but Rob puts her in his movies.

A tale of a curse dating back to a not-really-vanquished coven of witches from the 17th century, "The Lords of Salem" sets that curse in motion by having an oddly atonal dirge LP boxed in a weathered wooden case dropped off at the radio station. Playing that song by "The Lords" puts a few people in town on warning that Our Lord Satan is on his way back. But the script is dreadful. Seriously, Rob - if you can't write a better incantation than "You are the dragon, Lord Satan!" maybe it's time to go back to "Halloween" remakes.

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