It’s still a few months out from when Rob Zombie will truly begin his work on Lords of Salem with the Paranormal Activity producers at Haunted Films. Taking a look at Zombies’ twitter feed this morning got me exploring his blog, where he has answered questions and let loose a few pictures over the past few weeks. There’s also a very bizarre synopsis for the film floating around the wild these days, so I figured it was time to get a chewer up to date…
Let’s start with the synopsis, which definitely sounds like it’s coming from the cheesy, comic-bookish end of Zombie’s horror sensibilities. This came from ShockTillYouDrop, and bear in mind that it’s not an officially worded logline/synopsis.
Heidi, a blond rock chick, DJs at a local radio station, and together with the two Hermans (Whitey and Munster) forms part of the “Big H Radio Team.”
A mysterious wooden box containing a vinyl record arrives for Heidi, a gift of the Lords. She assumes it’s a rock band on a mission to spread the word. As Heidi and Whitey play the Lord’s record, it starts to play backwards, and Heidi experiences a flashback to a past trauma.
Later, Whitey plays the Lord’s record, dubbing them the Lords of Salem, and to his surprise, the record plays normally and is a massive hit with his listeners.
The arrival of another wooden box from the Lords presents the Big H team with free tickets, posters and records to host a gig in Salem. Soon, Heidi and her cohorts is far from the rock spectacle they’re expecting. The original Lords or Salem are returning and they’re out for blood.
Considering I only popped into the world at the tail end of it my impression may be a bit suspect, but that storyline strikes me as being 80s as fuck. It also seems like a breeding ground for Zombie’s more goofy sensibilities (which are like nails on a chalkboard for a lot of audiences). Despite the silly premise though, this may be something a little bit different, and more cerebral. He’s also specifically mentioned that CGI isn’t part of the Lords of Salem equation at present.
At this time there are no plans to use any CGI in LORDS. I am not a fan of it although I think it can be very effective it used in very subtle ways. But no one uses it that way. To me most live action films are basically turning into animated films. I also think even great actors come off as stiff and awkward when shot on a green screen.
Zombie has continuously described this as more of a slow-burn type horror film, and on the Rob Zombie blogspot he’s mentioned a few things to expect from the tonality of the film, especially in regards to the music.
Q: I wanted to ask you if Jesse Dayton gonna make some crazy music for your next movie? Becouse Banjo & Sullivan and Captain Clegg were awesome and it will be nice to hear some new crazy JD’s country tunes in The Lord of Salem.
A: Yes, there will be crazy music but I don’t think Jesse will be part of it. I love Jesse’s music and the music he has done for me is amazing, but I don’t think his style fits the film this time around.
Having grown up in MA the Salem Witch Trials were always a very interesting topic to me so I knew one day they would find their way into my work. As far as the score, it is a little early to say by I am taking a different approach to this score that the others. I want a more hauntingly melodic score that really sticks in your head. Simple and beautiful but creepy.
In a more detailed interview he posted on his blog, he discussed how working with Haunted Films and beginning pre-production while he’s still on tour has been different from making his other films.
We’re in early pre-production. It’s a very effects-heavy movie so the effects department had to start much earlier than they have on my other films. They’ve been working for a month or so now, building and working on things. Once I finish the tour with Slayer, then we’ll go into full-blown pre-production with everything. The difference with film as opposed to the other films I’ve done, the producers on this are the guys who did Paranormal Activity. They have a different company and they run it a different way. I’ve been working on this movie for a while in different ways. Usually, you’re not working at all and the studio goes, “Okay, green light! We need it done by this time” and you’re in complete madness. Whereas this time, I’ve already location-scouted many times so I have a lot of locations. It’s a more drawn out process which is good because you get to dig deeper into the project. From the moment Halloween II started to when it was in theaters, it was a period of about seven months. That’s complete madness. You’re just racing like maniac every single day to get it done. It’s nice to have a little more time to reflect on what you’re trying to accomplish. We’ll start shooting at the end of the summer.
Along with the interviews came a few pictures of special effects wizard Wayne Toth toiling away at prosthetics and props for Salem. Toth often works with KNB, and has done effects on everything from Drag Me To Hell and Grindhouse to Transformers 2. Take a look at the photos below.
And while none of them are guaranteed to be in the final product, a number of location scouting shots Zombie posted up definitely promise a genuinely creepy backdrop for the film.
You can keep up with Zombie’s feed for more, but we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for you. There won’t be extensive news until the film starts rolling, but there will more than likely be some casting news emerging during the summer. I keep my fingers (lightly) crossed that a fully original piece from Zombie will take him back in the promising direction of The Devil’s Rejects, so I’m staying optimistic for the moment. I expect to be quite alone. That said, he’s working with a very supportive and empowering group of producers and I know for a fact that of late he’s been very satisfied with the production crew that has assembled around him. If there were ever circumstances for him to shine… Here’s hoping for more good horror.
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