The Lords of Salem (blu-ray)

Production Year: 2013
Release Date: 03/03/13
Studio: Anchor Bay
Collection Number: 1174

I caught Zombie's latest effort back in April when it was originally released.  While I thought it was better than his last two films, I still had a few issues with it.  Below is a small excerpt from my previous review.
"Even though I did not care for his last two outings I've always felt Rob Zombie was a good director.  Halloween and (especially) Halloween 2 suffered in the dialogue department while the latter just had a bit of an inane story.  Visually though, the guy know's what he's doing and occasionally he does pump out a very good movie (Devil's Rejects, anyone?)  When the first trailer for his newest effort was revealed I was a bit surprised, while it certainly featured some of the insanity the guy is known for the preview seemed to show a different style.  Gone were some of his more hectic filming techniques seemingly replaced by a much more composed style.  Read More.

I recently purchased Anchor Bay's blu-ray release of the controversial film as I found myself (oddly) yearning to take another trip to Salem.  Truth be told, I think I just wanted to see Meg Foster nude again...Okay, maybe not so much.  But one thing still rings true for this film, the imagery of the witches is not just creepy it's the strongest part of the movie.  Rob really nailed it, and revisiting these images really makes one wish Mr. Zombie had just kept it a period piece about this nasty coven.

Don't get me wrong, the film has more going for it than just Meg Foster's disgusting character, Sherri Moon is (surprisingly) wonderful in the film, as is Bruce Davison.  The music, set design, and cinematography are also on key.  My biggest issue with the film is still the last 30 minutes...There such a great tone and flow with the first hour, but once midget satan struts around on screen I feel the film derails and heads into (almost) comedic territory.  Now I'm not one to spoil films, so I won't say much more than that.  Zombie has always been one to put style before substance and with the last act of the film he is very heavy handed.  I'm afraid it just didn't work for me.

As far as PQ and AQ go this is a very solid release.  The Lords of Salem is a great example of how something in high definition should look and sound.  The picture is very natural, and while the colors of the film are a bit dark and muted, there still remains to be a lot of detail present.  The sound is on par with the picture, a definite five stars.  John Five's contribution to the film is a good one, and his "Lords Theme" has a really creepy vibe going for it.

The Lords of Salem blu-ray really leaves a lot to be desired.  If you catch the credits you might notice a few big names in the horror game.  Now if you didn't follow the production of the film, those few names will really leave you scratchin' your noggin wondering "where were they?"  Say what you will about Rob Zombie, but one thing he has always been great about is creating a universe for his films and The Lords of Salem was certainly no different, there's actually a short film he created titled Frankenstein versus the Witchfinder.  Starring Clint Howard and Udo Kier this movie within a movie could have easily been the highlight of this blu-ray but sadly it's no where to be found.

While Barbara Crampton was briefly seen, her role was supposedly a bit deeper as she and Christopher Knight had characters involved in Lobster Joe's Fishy Fun Show.  Lastly Sid Haig and Michael Berryman made up the Magnus Brothers, a very dangerous witch hunting duo that can be in one of the film's many flashbacks.  It's pretty obvious the film has been trimmed, and honestly, I'm sure it was likely for the best.  But the question still remains, why aren't any of these cut scenes on the disc?  Is it laziness, or is Anchor Bay hoping to cash in on a "special edition" down the road?

One thing's for certain, The Lords of Salem takes you on a ride.  Whether or not you'll enjoy that ride is really up in the air.  As I mentioned earlier, I'm all for it right up until the end...That's when the film loses me.  The hour getting there is creepy, grimy, and enjoyable.  As far as Anchor Bay's blu-ray release goes, it's a pity the supplements aren't on par with the picture and audio.  The release feels incomplete, because of that big issue it's one that I'd recommend picking up when it's on sale.

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