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The Lords of Salem

The Lords of Salem, a Rob Zombie Film

The basis of the film is The Curse of Margaret Morgan (played by Meg Foster), and her coven of 6 women (The Lords of Salem) that were making Satan’s music to possess the Salem women.  A diary written by an Obsessed reverend John Hawthorn who believed Margaret and her women were hiding out in the woods plotting to raise the spawn of Satan through one of the Women of Salem.  When the women were taken to be burned at the stake, Margaret put a curse on the women of Salem and Hawthorn’s family line.   One of his descendants would birth the child.

The music is interesting, just a few notes played over and over again to induce trance.  A Salem author published a book called The American Witch, which contains a few pages from the diary that contained the notes of the music.

When Margaret Morgan speaks the words during the rituals, it sounds like excerpts from The Satanic Bible (Anton LaVey).

A record is dropped off at the Radio station where the main characters work as disk jockey’s, specifically left for Heidi LaRoc (Sherri Moon) and the record is played on air, any woman who hears it goes into trance.  The group “The Lords of Satan” are coming to town for one night only, all the events leading up to their arrival focus on how Sherri is specifically effected by the music (her real name is Elizabeth Hawthorn).  Visions, Hallucinations, Nightmares, and her slip into insanity.  She was also trying to kick a drug habit, so she goes off the wagon during her trials.  Her landlord and 2 sisters are slowly plotting to bring her into their fold.  Incarnations of Margaret and her coven.

Some of the special effects are pretty campy but I think it adds to the overall feel of the film.  The writing and directing was pretty good and the dynamic of the characters seal the coffin.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, I admit I hated House of a Thousand Corpses, when I first saw it until I saw The Devil’s Rejects and now the two are inseparable for me.  Halloween was extremely well done (I own all 3 on DVD), I’m happy to see Rob Zombie is still making films and hasn’t lost momentum.  I really enjoy the characters he chooses, some of my favorite actors that don’t get enough press!

Some of the writing cracked me up, especially the little mini-speech about Witches given by Francis Matthias.  ”There’s no such thing as Classical Witches!” and “Wiccans are peaceful…”

I’ll have to dig around for a response from the infamous ‘Salem Witches’, and any press that highlights responses from the locals of Salem, MA.  Coming from Mass myself, the area is full of rich history but people sure do get upset when that history is used in Horror films.

Another tidbit in relation to the ‘real Salem Witch Trials’ (1692):

There was Puritan judge named John (not Jonathan) Hathorne, who was an ancestor of author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Although Judge Hathorne wasn’t cursed during the Salem trials, the Reverend Nicholas Noyes was.

According to legend, Sarah Good told him from the gallows that “God will give you blood to drink.” The reverend reportedly died from choking on his own blood. Nathaniel Hawthorne built the plot of The House of Seven Gables around this legend and his own ancestral guilt.

 

Rob Zombie seems to have been inspired by a mixture of history, lore, legend, myth and artistic rendering.  There was a Rosemary’s Baby tone to the film too, especially with the ‘neighbors’ constantly bothering Heidi with their ‘hospitality’ and diabolical plotting.

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In one particular scene, the women seem to be emulating the famous Goya image of the Witches Sabbath.  A woman is held down and forced to give birth, the baby is examined by Margaret, and after inspecting it decides its unworthy, and a vile thing.  She licks the afterbirth off its skin, then its sacrificed.

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Cast:

Sheri Moon Zombie Sheri Moon Zombie

Heidi Hawthorne

Bruce Davison Bruce Davison

Francis Matthias

Jeff Daniel Phillips Jeff Daniel Phillips

Herman ‘Whitey’ Salvador (as Jeffrey Daniel Phillips)

Judy Geeson Judy Geeson

Lacy Doyle

Meg Foster Meg Foster

Margaret Morgan

Patricia Quinn Patricia Quinn

Megan

Ken Foree Ken Foree

Herman Jackson

Dee Wallace Dee Wallace

Sonny

Maria Conchita Alonso Maria Conchita Alonso

Alice Matthias

Richard Fancy Richard Fancy

AJ Kennedy

Andrew Prine Andrew Prine

Reverend Jonathan Hawthorne

Michael Berryman Michael Berryman

Virgil Magnus

Sid Haig Sid Haig

Dean Magnus

Bonita Friedericy Bonita Friedericy

Abigail Hennessey

Nancy Linehan Charles Nancy Linehan Charles

Clovis Hales