Rob Zombie originally started writing The Lords of Salem, several years ago, just before he turned his attention to remaking the cult classic Halloween (and then its sequel, Halloween II).
“My initial inspiration was a book I was reading about the Salem witch trials,” he says. “I was just reading it for the hell of it. It spurred the idea for the film, but I was caught up in middle of other things at the time. I think I was finishing up the first Halloween, so I filed the idea away and forgot all about it until recently. At first, I did a bunch of research because I wanted to be familiar with [the witch trials]. Then, the movie is not an accurate portrayal of the witch trials or something. It’s important to know the facts because you can’t vary from the facts too much if you don’t actually know them. But I didn’t rely too much on actual history.”
The film stars Zombie’s wife Sheri Moon Zombie, who plays Heidi, a dreadlocked radio DJ who receives a mysterious album in the mail. Predictably enough, the album becomes a big hit, and Heidi and her fellow DJs receive a set of tickets to a concert that turns out to be some kind of satanic meeting involving the witches of Salem.
A veteran heavy metal singer who has fronted shock rockers White Zombie for over 20 years, Zombie set part of the film at a radio station where a group of eccentric DJs work. The scenes recall a time when jocks had some control over what music they put on the air, something Zombie says he misses.
“There’s some of that still, but it is a dying thing unfortunately. Maybe people will miss it. But people can’t miss something they don’t remember. I love everything about it. I like the fact that radio stations in different cities are different in the way they do things. But now, you just turn on satellite radio and it’s all the same all the time.
While Lords might be a bit campier than the Halloween films, both of which featured brutal scenes of death and dismemberment, it still features plenty of gore. And while violence in popular culture seems to always be under the microscope, Zombie doesn’t feel like it’s anything he needs to justify.Well, I mean, what’s excessively violent?” he says. “What does that even mean? I don’t think you need to have a justification for it because it’s not real. I think it’s kind of funny that the things that cause real violence are the things that everyone wants to protect and the things are fake are the things that everyone wants to attack. It’s absurd. It’s a cultural thing. The biggest cliché of all time is if you go to Japan. Their animation is so fucking violent but they don’t have any violence over there. It’s all bullshit. It’s all a diversion. None of it is real. If someone wants to talk about real issues, they spin the stories toward video grams or music or movies or something that’s fairly unrelated so they can put up violent images from movies and then nothing ever changes. So it’s all a bunch of bullshit.