On The Lords of Salem and Surrealism in Films
Stay with me, this one gets in to some pretty heady concepts.
Let me start off by saying I’m relatively new to Rob Zombie’s oeuvre. I’ve seen all of his films but his Halloween 2 remake but only long after they were released on DVD. In my opinion, The Devil’s Rejects was his best work before now but I don’t really consider it a “horror” film. NOW however, I think Lords of Salem is easily his best and most mature effort. Its’ plot is weak sure, but his other films didn’t have strong plots either and in Lords, he makes up for it with some EXTREMELY striking images and great moments of surrealism that are reminiscent of a David Lynch. If, y’know, Lynch was down with The Devil. While I’m on the subject of Lynch, let me briefly provide a short anecdote:
At the end of the film, my friend and I sat in the theater just kind of, letting the film sink in. Some audience members in front of us were talking (rather loudly) about how the film would one day be a cult classic because “it’s fucking horrible.” The man who said that then asked us, “what’d you think?” I replied, “I didn’t understand it but I thought it was really cool.” I didn’t note the obvious surrealist elements n’ the clear influences on the film for fear of sounding like a pretentious asshole. Let me say that I’m the first to admit that surrealist films are REALLY difficult to enjoy. Even when you respect the work being done in a film, it’s a lot harder to watch one more than once. Mullholland Drive is a classic example. While I was watching it, I absolutely hated it and I had already seen some of Lynch’s work and liked it. After though, the conversations that I could see the film sparking made it a much more interesting movie and I theorize that movies like Mullholland are much more fun to talk about than to watch. When I brought up the similarities between Lords of Salem and Mullholland Drive, my friend, who loved Mullholland Drive, said, “yeah but I feel like Lynch was trying to say something.” He didn’t say what Lynch was trying to say or that he knew what Lynch was trying to say (who the fuck does?) but that he feels like he’s trying to say something. In other ways, it seemed more profound that Lords. I guess that’s understandable, but not really fair to Zombie. What he’s not allowed to say something insightful because he’s the same guy who wrote the song “Pussy Liquor?” but I digress. Back to Lords of Salem.
To me, the whole point of surrealism is blending dreamlike (or in this case nightmare-like) imagery with real life to symbolize some aspect of the unconscious being manifested in reality. In other words, the “wtf?” moments are weird and can be creepy yeah, but they signify something related to the story. This is a major reason I prefer Lords of Salem to the aforementioned Mullholland Drive. The surrealist elements serve the plot, whereas Mullholland Drive, doesn’t seem to have a plot and if it does indeed have one, it’s so deeply imbedded in the surrealist elements, you have to spend hours/days deciphering them just to understand what you just saw. Which is what I’m sure people like about the film. The possibilities. With Lords, you get a plot. The plot comes first. The surrealism slowly blends in to the narrative as the film goes on until the third act where you’re assaulted with tons of images all at once. This is where I should use the phrase “slow burn” in reference to the film. While it’s becoming a cliche phrase, it very much describes the film. Lords of Salem is indeed a fuse slowly burning until it reaches the powder keg and explodes in to a dark fusion of psycho-sexual and heavily satanic images. Trying not to give much away from the plot here, but it deals with the birth of Satan’s son, so it makes perfect sense later when several reaper-eque figures wearing bishop’s robes are seen masturbating dildos. Never thought I’d ever write a sentence like that. Thanks Mr. Zombie.
So….those are my extremely unorganized thoughts on Lords of Salem. If I had to sum them up I guess I’d say something to the tune of “Lords of Salem is Rob Zombie’s most mature directorial effort yet. He continues to grow as an artist with this great surrealist horror film.”
Until next time.
Just a quick note…
I’m gonna start writing on here again. It’ll mostly be about movies probably but won’t really be formal reviews just my thoughts n’ general ramblings on them. First one will be on Rob Zombie’s new surrealist-horror film “The Lords of Salem.” So uh….yeah.
Anonymous asked: Dating anyone?
I’m sure this is waaaaaay late, but no.