Thursday, May 30

The problem of humanizing Leatherface and why Texas Chainsaw 3D screws it up...

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Illustration by Don England
After watching the latest, now third tier of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, Texas Chainsaw 3D, its hook was bound to happen in the series. One of the unsaid touches behind the Leatherface character, his child-like demeanor and family-bred reasoning behind his vile actions, is placed front-and-center in John Luessenhop's quasi-direct sequel to Hooper's '70s horror classic. I remember my 13-year-old self; in an attempt to sound insightful, telling friends who had seen the original about the character actually killing out of fear and his butchery being a product of his upbringing. So it seems natural that a sequel would finally try to flesh out that concept Hooper always intended.

Before getting into that, this newest installment is so ho-hum you'd think Leatherface was a leading gimmick in the WWE right now and their film division decided to capitalize. A few stock twenty-somethings run afoul of the momma's boy Sawyer with some gruel and chainsaws flying at the camera to appease the "3D" moniker. It's unchallenging with forgettable performances and somehow manages to look much cheaper than the similarly-budgeted Platinum Dunes Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003). Some of the original series cast return, but most only appear in a fleeting opener that the writers seemed barely to have bothered with while speeding into territory that's easier on the minds of dunderheaded teenagers.

(Spoilers henceforth) Such banality damns Texas Chainsaw 3D from getting into the "meat" of the dilemma of Leatherface. We're supposed to believe that after his family is burned to death by an angry mob, Leatherface is taken in by his grandmother who secretly cares for him in her basement for over twenty years. During all that time were his perverse inclinations softened? Does he still continue to kill and cannibalize? It's unclear, but he seems all too prepared to commence blindly slaughtering pretty young people once they stumble upon his lair.

And that's what the character does for the remainder of the movie. There's never any pause for emotion, no matter how primitive, from this totally silent Leatherface. Remember Hansen sitting down to wring his hands in anxiety or cowering after being scolded? The quirky amorous feelings in Hooper's sequel? Confusing a picture of a clown as "FOOD" in Texas III? Even Robert Jacks' ridiculous turn in Kim Henkel's abomination of a fourth sequel has more feeling. The best this one musters is a bit of uncomfortable silence between Leatherface and his newfound caretaker/cousin at the very end.

That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of missed opportunities. Before discovering the blood relation, Leatherface is in pursuit his cousin, Heather, through the woods when they happen upon a carnival. Naturally this rendition saws through the fencing and rampages through the screaming crowds without a second thought for the purpose of a Saw reference and CG 3D effect.

But what would the "old" Leatherface do? Immediately upon seeing the flashing multi-colored lights in the near distance, drop his chainsaw and slowly approach the fence in awe of the spectacle and laughing children. He'd place his ham hock of a hand on the fence and suddenly notice how filthy and bloodied it is. Feeling his skin mask, he'd whimper in anguish over the realization yet again he's nothing like them and it's something he can never have. There's some instant needed depth instead of the boring maniac with a chainsaw witnessed in this movie.

There's also no sign of any personal rage toward the men that slain his kin. Be it some random innocent girl or the ringleader of the mob that destroyed everything he knew, this Leatherface just barrels into them like their meat. During the climax, he uses his saw to force the man responsible for his family's death, now the town's sheriff, backward into a large cow grinder with some terrible CG as the pay-off. Why not have Leatherface get "hands-on" with the bastard and rip a chunk of his face off using his teeth and then consume it while screaming with rage? Despite many satisfying possibilities, Texas Chainsaw 3D is just lazy and uninventive.

Ultimately, it's hard to tell what the hell a follow-up could do considering this set-up of Leatherface as an anti-hero who has already destroyed his only arch-nemesis. What possible beef could Leatherface and Heather have now? Luessenhop's effort just feels like a stab at a quick opening weekend buck primarily aimed at those with the "only good horror is stuff in English after 1998 from Hollywood with blood, guts, and hot chicks and everything else fucking sucks" mentality. Might be the worst insult yet to Hooper's original creation and intention. "Maybe it's just time to just shut down. Time to shut down the show, yeah. Yeah, pull the plug. Where's that fuck you Charlie?"
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Wednesday, May 29

Basket Case 2 (1990) - Japanese Video Store Mini-Display

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Too cool not to share! Found this display for TCC's VHS release while cruising Google Images...

Sunday, May 26

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Part 2 (1986) Behind the Scenes SFX Shots

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Yesterday I was checking out Freddy in Space's latest entry about props from Tobe Hooper's follow-up to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre showing up on eBay from a storage buyer who happened about a locker once owned by camera operator Eric Lasher. One of these items is a lot of three negative rolls detailing special effects work by Tom Savini and his team.

I figured I'd attempt to color correct the pictures of the frames provided in the listing for the sake of prosperity. Who knows who'll win these and if we'll ever see this footage or these images again. Conveniently the images show the process of Savini casting a bust (of the Mercedes driver?). The sixth picture shows Hooper on set (with Richard Lynch?). These were processed on April 16th and 17th of 1986.

Here's the auction's description: "Last week I purchased a room by the Eric H. Lasher Cinematographer of The Howling 5, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Tales From The Crypt, Guyver and Nightmare on Elm Street Freddy's Nightmares to name a few. Highest Bid will get these Texas Chainsaw Massacre II Original Pre-Production Cinematographer Negatives. There is lots of rolls of film here."

(click to enlarge)

Saturday, May 25

Blu-ray has gotten stale...but I'm unsure exactly why... (long ramblin' entry)

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Maybe this was inevitable. Maybe it's just me. Either way, the Blu-ray format has become stale. Which feels strange to say since I was an early adopter of Blu-ray (and HD DVD), possess two players, and a couple hundred BDs. I also championed the formats and understand their merit as a potentially fantastic means of home entertainment. I can talk your face off with a litany of technical mumbo-jumbo regarding Blu-ray and put up a good argument as to why you should buy into it if you haven't already.

Yet lately I find myself not caring as nearly as much about the format. It's gotten to the point that it's tough to fathom paying even twenty bucks for a single movie on disc. It's not a cash or Netflix issue, it's more a "why pay that much nowadays" issue. And I can hear it now, "Dude, do you realize how much DVDs were when they first came out?" Of course, remember all those Anchor Bay horror multi-packs of previously released individual titles a couple years ago? Yep, I bought all those when new when they averaged twenty-five to thirty a pop. That might be a big part of the reason. There comes a certain point where you start wondering about weird abstracts like how and when a given film was shot versus the benefit of seeing it in 1080p or simply whether it's worth upgrading to the Blu-ray over the good ol' DVD. Even with brand new titles, if the movie was shot to look dull as dish water, I'll gladly opt for the standard def coaster and save a couple bucks.

Then there's dealing with the marketplace reality of the format compared to its technical potential. As time has passed, Blu-ray has become less a means providing a truly premium viewing experience to being another home video medium to move product. Naturally, that's what it always has been, but there's been this ongoing "settling effect" between what purists want and what the general public accepts as enough quality to warrant buying Blu-rays. So more-and-more I find myself disappointed in new titles with regards to their video quality. Good but not great is the new mantra...

Not to pick on Scream Factory, they have some great titles, but their output so far has exhibited this phenomena. Much like the U.K.'s Arrow Video, SF seem to place more focus on cranking out titles and getting the presentation surrounding the movie itself perfect. The problem is that they don't appear to be concentrating on providing definitive video transfers and as far as I can tell all of their titles have utilized licensor-provided HD masters (like Universal and MGM). In other words, they haven't created any new masters from fresh telecines, only pre-existing ones of varying quality and age.

Take their They Live Blu-ray for example, the same pasty transfer wouldn't have received such high marks by most BD review sites if weren't for the extras, the nifty cover, and attractive slipcover. It would be another wishy-washy BD effort from Universal if they had handled it instead. That's the thing, most can't seem to resist the thrill of "Wow, [insert cult classic] is coming to Blu-ray!" while heaping praise upon Scream Factory for the simple fact they're releasing favorites to get to the heart of the matter.

Better than DVD but mediocre for Blu-ray simply isn't good enough. I'm tired of the whole inevitably double or triple-dip game, if the quality isn't there from a master created years ago, it doesn't matter how cool the cover or extras are. I'll wait until the film's treated right and that goes for all Blu-ray releases. I'm not expecting something shot decades ago to look like 2011 material, but I want the best approximation currently possible of what the film material actually looks like represented on Blu-ray. No digital tampering or filtering.

If anyone can recall the days of LaserDisc and early days of DVD, you may remember how willing major studios were with licensing out even their big titles to smaller distributors. Eventually, once the DVD format really began cranking, this willingness contracted and studios produced their own editions to reap the format's immense popularity. Now that DVD is in decline and catalog titles don't have the moving power they once had (blame Netflix and the like), we're now back to the old days and another gripe.

I've already mostly covered this in this old entry about Twilight Time's limited edition BD of Fright Night (1985). This exclusivity deal still pisses me off especially considering their trumped up "limited" runs, inflated price points, and the aftermarket driving the prices far into the rarefied air of "go fuck yourself with the disc". Sorry, it's garbage like this that sucks the fun out of the format to such an extent that I had to mention it.

What makes this even more irritating is how Mill Creek Entertainment, known for their recent cheap DVD/BD collections at Wal Mart, has also acquired some licenses from Sony. What do they do with them? Pair them up onto double feature Blu-rays with decent transfers at a fraction of the cost of Twilight Time's holier-than-thou releases, like Mr. Sardonicus (1961)/The Brotherhood of Satan (1971) with a list price of only $9.98. That's what it should have been all along instead of giving elitist collectors another reason to be pricks with Twilight's faux-valuable releases.

As you tell, I don't ascribe to those who purport that we should "thankful" distributors care at all to release these catalog titles onto Blu-ray. Steaming video has altered the home video landscape, but given how cutthroat the niche market has been, that's a weak excuse. Yet compared to streaming, I'll pick physical media any day even if I've gotten bored with Blu-ray. It's just the wavering commitments to quality and annoyance of history repeating itself that personally hamper the enjoyment I once found. Not to mention the sheer nostalgia and "discovery" factor of owning vintage VHS certainly beats the pants off ordering a brand new Blu-ray off a pallet of thousands, no matter how hipster that might sound...
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Tuesday, May 21

Dracula: Prisoner of Frankenstein (1972) - 1987 Sony Exciting/Mount Light Japan VHS

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Jess Franco's Drácula contra Frankenstein certainly isn't a shining moment in the late director's filmography. It's cheap and schlocky with all kinds of dubious filmmaking choices and inebriated actors. Or yeah, the classic junk Franco was known to churn out in order to continue eating between striking upon flashes of real genius behind the lens. Unless you must in your Jess Quest or wish to torture a Hammer fan into total submission, tread with extreme caution.

Regardless, Dracula:PoF's dodgy quality didn't prevent this Japanese VHS release from becoming damn rare. According to a trusted friend who specializes in the country's VHS output and has owned many of the rarest, only about five have surfaced in collector circles with only one displaying zero UV damage.

Unfortunately during its lifespan that particular copy had a hard crease applied to its cover running in-between the spine and the front. The copy below that I was lucky enough to purchase a few weeks ago might be in the best overall condition to ever appear. The spine has an extremely soft touch of fade, but otherwise it's in mint shape with no creases, stickers, or cassette damage.

This very nice, uncut English language presentation is also special for being the only release so far to present the film in its original 2.35:1 Techniscope widescreen aspect ratio. For some unknown reason, even the few DVD releases feature zoomed-in 1.85:1 presentations. In a nice touch, the Japanese subtitles are placed out of the actual frame with the picture moved up slightly to accommodate the text.

Saturday, May 18

Class of Nuke 'Em High Alternate TV Cut on YouTube

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Troma just uploaded the television version of their Class of Nuke 'Em High (1986) with scenes not included in the "Director's Cut" to fill out the runtime from trimmed footage deemed to risque for '80s TV. I can't say for sure, still tracking a copy down, but I believe the long out-of-print and friggin' rare Japanese Creative Axa DVD combines all material from both of these versions into one 96 minute version.

Thursday, May 16

More Wizard Video VHS Bootleg Proof? Fulci's Zombie Big Box...

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A few days ago Wizard Video made their "discovered" white-banner big box of Lucio Fulci's Zombie (1979) available (limited to 270, signed, unsigned, no idea). I immediately noticed something odd about the covers on their site. There seems to be a rectangular band of discoloration running up the left side of ol' Wormhead's rotted face. Why? My educated guess is that an original copy that at one point had a sticker across its front was utilized. The sticker was removed to reveal a slightly more colorful segment than the rest of the cover that was exposed to some sunlight during its lifetime. Scan! New box! Voila, warehouse find!

I've made up a little unscientific comparison below. Number #1 is the scan of an original white-banner Zombie from VHSCollector.com which can be seen here. Disregard the obvious differences for now. Number #2 is the untouched flat cover image from Wizard VHS Collection's page. Number #3 is that image regraded to bring out the odd segment more. Number #4 indicates the outline of the "removed sticker" segment. Number #5 is the U.S. Theatrical one-sheet just for the hell of it.

Back to #1; yes, it's very faded, but exhibits no such segment and would if originally present even in its poor condition. Also notice how the red outline on the original is thinner than the "new" Wizard. I'm still unsure why the top outline differs so much on the original despite matching the exact place to the zombie's head with the new big box. Hell, maybe the scale of the image on the new box is larger/skinnier? The new Wizard also has a small line/cease to the left of the zombie's ear rot that the original lacks.

Bootleg? I'm unsure as I don't have this new big box and no one that I know has received one in the mail yet. It's just another interesting tidbit given the sticker shadow embedded on the cover of the new Headless Eyes (pointed out in VHSCollector.com's initial Wizard re-release video that began this brouhaha). Of course, as I've said before, at the end of the day this all won't matter. Band isn't going to change his story or admit to anything and his apologists will continue to shovel over big for repro imitations.

(click to enlarge)

Wednesday, May 15

So I'm browsing Godfrey Ho kung-fu actioners on YouTube...

Stay classy Mr. Automatic Thumbnail Generator!
 

Tuesday, May 14

The Hills Have Eyes (1977) - 1986 Toshiba Japan Betamax Glassbox

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Here's a nifty little Beta glassbox of Wes Craven's seminal The Hills Have Eyes'77 that came in yesterday. One of the reasons I love Japanese tapes is the varied, subtle color and this cover certainly typifies that. Dreaded UV fading from many of these ex-rentals being sold in outdoor swap meets would destroy such a composition (this copy stills suffers a touch of that, here's an example of a much worse off copy).

"Glassbox" refers to the style of case being a thick clear plastic case that's slightly larger than the cassette. The paper cover basically lines the inside of the case with the Beta sandwiched in the middle with one side completely left open to easily slide the cassette out. As such, this one's a baby in size even compared to many other Beta case styles (kinda resembles an audio cassette on the shelf, only bigger). It's still amazing this ultimately failed format wasn't more widely accepted on this aspect alone. I don't have a functioning Betamax player that the moment, but I had to have this beaut!

Saturday, May 11

Tidbits concerning this Wizard Video Bootleg Fiasco...

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Yesterday I posted a now deleted entry about the Tokyo-based movie shop Video Market tweeting out an image (see here) showing that they now have Wizard's new big boxes on their shelves. Well, I wanted to post about that, but I was also hesitant to point out another bit of interesting news from a few days ago. Forgoing any names; no one wants Charles Band crawling up their ass, a fine young entrepreneur has created an answer to this shady line of Wizards--a high quality bootleg Wizard VHS of Troll (1986).

If you've been following this drama, you're probably aware that with every order of a new Wizard big box comes a "exclusive" Full Moon DVD of the John Carl Buechler film. Wizard proper never released Troll onto VHS, so this sly bootleg was made both to parody and commemorate the whole farce. Sticking it to the Band, sort of speak...

The extremely limited VHS (only 20) was set to go on sale today at the 2nd Annual Horror VHS Collector's Unite VHS Convention at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, PA. Sorry about not saying anything sooner, but given how unpredictable Band can be defending his own licenses while disregarding those of others; I didn't want to post this beforehand to catch any potential ire. It's safe to expect some copies sold there to pop up on eBay sooner rather than later. Considering the wild auction prices for new cult VHS releases lately...let the wars begin.
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Thursday, May 9

A Slew of Horror Coming to Blu-ray from Happinet in Japan...

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Happinet is set to debut From Beyond (1986) and Dolls (1987) on August 2nd, Flesh for Frankenstein (1973) and Tourist Trap (1979) on September 9th, Blood for Dracula (1974) and Dracula (1979) on October 2nd, and Halloween II (1981) and Castle Freak (1995) on November 2nd onto Blu-ray. Each sport 1080p transfers in their respective aspect ratios and English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 tracks (English 5.1/2.0 DTS-HD MA for Halloween II).

Supplemental material for From Beyond nearly mirrors MGM's Special Edition DVD including a Stuart Gordon interview, Richard Band interview, Editing Room featurette, and theatrical trailer (absent is the audio commentary). Dolls includes an exclusive Stuart Gordon interview and theatrical trailer.

Supplemental material for Tourist Trap mirrors the Full Moon/Koch Media DVD with an audio commentary and interview with David Schmoeller and theatrical trailer. Dracula '79 appears to have zero supplements (not even a theatrical trailer).

Supplemental material for Flesh... and Blood... mirror the now out-of-print US Image Entertainment DVDs with audio commentaries by Paul Morrissey, Udo Kier, and film historian Maurice Yacowar, screen tests (w/ commentary by Morrissey), photo galleries (w/ commentary by Morrissey).

Supplemental material for Halloween 2 represents a stripped down version of the stateside Shout Factory Blu-ray with Deleted Scenes, Alternate Ending, TV/Radio Spots, and theatrical trailer while Castle Freak mirrors the Full Moon DVD with Videozone featurette and trailer.

Wednesday, May 8

"Texas Splatter Collection" Coming to DVD in Japan

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Budget distributor FORWARD are releasing Blood Suckers from Outer Space (1984), The Dark Dealer (1995), The Abomination (1986), and Ozone! Attack of the Redneck Mutants (1986) to DVD on May 24th (Blood Suckers/Dark Dealer) and June 21st (Abomination/Ozone) in Japan. Each appear to be in English and retail for about $15USD. Here's each over at Amazon.jp, they come out to about $30 a pop shipped to North America. Yes, Amazon.jp shipping is crazy as they only offer International Express. Still, that's much cheaper than your average non-budget Japanese DVD and delivery is lightening quick, the trailer for the collection is below.


Monday, May 6

Some Screenshots from the British Lords of Salem DVD

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After posting my review of The Lords of Salem, I received a few requests for captures from the new British DVD to which I'm happy to oblige. As stated in the comments of that entry, Entertainment One's R2/PAL DVD is a barebones affair with ugly, unrelated cover art and only the theatrical trailer and English subtitles. Even the menus are static and bland without titles for the chapters, just small stills. The anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen picture quality is sharp, though the palette is dark and drab, and the Dolby 5.1 is robust. I failed to mention prior but Zombie utilizes the extra wide ratio nicely again and runs wild with lens flare here.

The exact runtime is 1:36:56, but with adjusting for 3% PAL speed-up, this presentation runs around the intended 101 minutes. The BBFC lists the movie as uncut and I'd wager nothing has been omitted. The case comes with a cardboard slipcover and a double-sided insert advertising Rob Zombie's new album, Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor.

Being so basic with no accompanying Blu-ray edition, eOne either doesn't have much faith in sales or perhaps Anchor Bay somehow nudged the distributor into going low rent due to the timing of the film's stateside theatrical debut. Considering this and the difference of opinion Lords generates, just wait for U.S. DVD/BD. They're bound to be packed with commentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes, and other stuff you'll only watch once. On a sidenote, I had an enormously hard time getting this DVD to playback at all through VLC Media Player (latest update) for these screenshots. So be warned if you're region free viewing method is VLC and you intend on ordering this disc.  

original size with matting cropped away, no spoilers, click to enlarge

Saturday, May 4

Some thoughts on The Lords of Salem (2012) (Long Entry)

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A Salem radio DJ, Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie), is sent a cryptic vinyl from a group dubbed "The Lords" and upon the needle drop descends into a worsening hallucinogenic malaise. A local historian (Bruce Davison) becomes suspect of the track's origin during an on-air interview about his new book detailing the infamous witch trials. At this time the station innocently broadcasts the ominous grooves, sending other select female residents across the town into a trance-like state. Three women in Heidi's apartment building; played marvelously by Judy Geeson, Patricia Quinn, and Dee Wallace, entrap the increasingly despondent young woman in a cycle of codependency for her ultimate, sinister fate...

Oh did the negative word spread fast after Rob Zombie's latest debuted theatrically a week ago or what? Curiosity got the best of me and I broke one of the cardinal rules by browsing some of these scathing reviews before seeing the film. In doing so I ran across news that the United Kingdom was already getting a straight-to-video release, non-affiliate Amazon.uk linkand promptly ordered a copy to judge for myself.

To the chagrin of most, Rob Zombie has yet again cast his wife in a prominent role and she finally gets lead status here. Before you grumble, Moon turns in her best performance; however, she's not given much to work with. All we really know is that Heidi is an independent, single woman with a lovable dog who works as local DJ and lives in an old building with an odd lack of other tenants (besides the insidious trio that sets their sights upon her). There's nary any detail about the character's past, family, and her only friends appear to her two fellow broadcasters (Jeff Daniel Phillips and Ken Foree).

Maybe this vagueness was an attempt to convey the possibility of this type of grand doom befalling anyone? If so, the opposite effect is achieved, as it's hard to care for Heidi or her plight since we hardly know her. Or perhaps director/writer Zombie intentionally wrote the part broadly knowing Moon would have trouble with such depth? Of course, whether or not he'd ever admit that considering his circumstances might be another story.

Whatever the case, Moon's failings are evident when contrasted with the fantastic turns of the veteran actresses on hand. Geeson, Quinn, and Wallace quickly transform from quaint old hens to agents of the damned who'll stop at nothing to ensure the rite of several hundred years will come to pass. Their simple scene with a too curious Davison over some tea and increasingly intense conversation is better than the film's much lauded third act. Meg Foster's primal performance as the coven head burned alive by a witchfinder only to haunt a forbidden apartment space is spectacular. She boldly cavorts around in the nude with filthy hunks of matted hair spitting blasphemy with utterly believable relish. All four actresses accomplish this much higher degree of credibility in only a handful of scenes making Moon's Heidi all the more diminutive. Again, that might have been something Zombie was reaching for, but it's so lopsided Moon comes off as easily outclassed. They might be the sole reason to see The Lords of Salem.

As a filmmaker, Rob Zombie shows important growth exhibiting restraint on certain past tendencies. We all love to see aging genre actors get work, but the "look, there's that one guy!" factor to many of these appearances in his filmography is becoming distracting. Zombie himself might actually be realizing this, but that didn't stop him from casting some horror regulars to only cut their scenes away entirely.

And for the better, especially when some goofy looking short/interlude/thing entitled Frankenstein versus The Witchhunter with Udo Kier, Richard Lynch, Clint Howard, and Camille Keaton didn't make final cut. Sorry, but a horror film going this dark doesn't need this crap and thankfully Zombie came to his senses (even though I'd like to see this as a DVD/BD extra). Sid Haig and Michael Berryman also barely appear despite originally having longer scenes. Ken Foree as one of Heidi's radio colleagues makes out the best in terms of screen time. Still, the now RZ veteran's character is again some funky dude with '70s 'tude sporting another bad hairpiece. Yawn.

Zombie's love for kitsch does creep in and possibly at the worst time. For the most part, The Lords of Salem is a welcome slowburn with a very surprising lack of bodily crimson. Obviously, the outright satanic panic was saved for the climax. The following will have major spoilers, so if you don't want any, please skip to the final paragraph.

Okay, about that climax, I've read some a couple reviews that claim the third act is incomprehensible. No, it's not, as it's obvious Heidi is destined to be the chosen recipient of a christening in Hell to become a witch priestess demigod. How does Rob Zombie, a clear longtime lover of the horror genre, approach this opportunity? Some of the imagery is interesting, the best probably influenced by Francis Bacon's incredible Pope Portraits. But Heidi writhing with a Black Metal frontman? Riding atop a stuffed goat against a neon flame backdrop? The entire screen taken up by flashing collages of dimestore religious iconography?

This stuff is old-hat to fans of Zombie's music, recalling his artwork and videos of now decades old White Zombie albums up to his present solo work. It's tough to think of Zombie as a bold screen force when the big reveal of the din and chimeras of Hades includes an idiot in corpse make-up and tacky Jesus spin art. When it's time to get crazy, the creativity never goes deeper than that of a music video. Maybe Zombie was trying to make a statement about the commercialization of Catholicism? But that's just overthinking a letdown that sours the film to a considerable extent. You've probably had bad nightmares that are more frightening.

[end spoilers]So The Lords of Salem is certainly a Rob Zombie film--warts and all. There's some signs of continued development behind the camera. There's some really stupid aspects in front of the camera. Sheri Moon is of course in the feature and the surrounding actors just make her look bad. Just like every past entry in Rob's screen career. I'd love to see Zombie tackle something without his hands ever touching the screenplay or helm a piece that takes him out of his shallow comfort zone. Either wish would probably make his own future work better. Rent this one first and judge for yourself, but I know the same weird infatuation I had with his generally hated Halloween II (2009) (read more about that here, here, and here) simply isn't with these Lords...
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...do you dare tread upon the staircase?
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