The Lords of Salem

The Lords of Salem ★★★★

I first watched this early last year, as my first Rob Zombie film I believe, and thought it to be merely ok. This time around I liked it far better. A lyrical descent into hell, as dreadfully hopeless as one could imagine. It’s more of an expressionistic bricolage of all the fear, horror and self-hatred that consumes us once we feel the pull of addiction or depression or whatever your vice is, summoning us into the darkest fixtures of our mind and swallowing us whole. I’m not sure if it’s explicably about triggers - Heidi is initially sucked back towards the dark place thanks to a mythically gloomy record - or whether that’s simply the catalyst to her beginning to succumb to her vices once again. Zombie paints the phantasmagoric entities of witches, pigs, crumpled faces and corpses pulling Heidi down to hell as a place of acceptance and worship. She’s set to be heralded as giving birth to the antichrist, worshipped for her sacrifice, mimicking how our habits bid to consume us with promises of happier thoughts or better feelings in order to get us to relinquish our hold upon them and begin slicing our lives up with the sharp knives of our weaknesses. It’s also sad that Heidi has people in her life trying to help her and save her, but they’re eliminated or simply pushed away as obstacles needed to get past in order to get a glimpse at that ostensible drip of happiness and pleasure. It’s a sad, doom-laden film feeling like a desperate cry for help into the bleak, unforgiving night, yet that yelp is only answered by demons and satanist goats. Perhaps the scariest thing is how calm the final few shots are; we can torture ourselves, spill dark blood and slip off the face of the earth, but life continues on as normal, like we never existed in the first place.

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