Rob Zombie, the founder and lead singer of the heavy metal rock band, White Zombie, has agreed to direct a movie based on his song “The Lords of Salem.” The deal was penned with Haunted Films, a production company run by Paranormal Activity‘s Jason Blum, Steven Schneider and Oren Peli.
“The Lords of Salem,” a song from Zombie’s Educated Horses album, already has an impressive animated music video to go along with it. Zombie will write the film’s script this year, while on tour with his band, and plans to start filming next year.
“The thriller is set in contemporary Salem, where the inhabitants receive a demonic visit from a 300-year old coven of witches.”
The video for the song (which you can watch below) tells a completely different story, about a group of Protestant men (the “Lords”) who hunt down women accused of practicing witchcraft. The women are then put to death through a number of violent methods.
The story for the The Lords of Salem film adaptation doesn’t appear to share many similarities with the music video, so maybe it follows the lyrics of the song instead?
I speak the truth, I dare not tell a lie.
One child is in fits, the other child dies.
Now the yellow bird a specter lost to linger.
Do you think the suffered, up on Gallows Hill?
Burn me and hang me and I always will,
Tumble like a swine a victim of the fury,
Glory to the saint before you start to bury.
God hates The Lords of Salem, No one can ever save them.
God hates The Lords of Salem, No one can destroy them.
Nope. The inspiration for the movie’s storyline didn’t come from the lyrics either.
Zombie is not a bad director per se, House of 1000 Corpses, for all its faults, showed promise and the sequel, The Devil’s Rejects revealed that Zombie has some talent behind the lens – given the right material. The singer/director’s remakes of the Halloween franchise were a mixed bag, loved by fans and loathed by detractors.
Zombie blames the lack of critical praise on studio meddling – and failing to give him enough control over the films. Zombie won’t be making the same mistake with The Lords of Salem:
“What excited me most was Jason [Blum] saying, you can have total control over the script, casting and final cut.”
Zombie was enticed by the promise of full control – since he believes the DVD Director’s Cut of the Halloween films have enjoyed a warmer reception than the theatrical releases. According to him, the theatrical cuts suffered when the studio chopped too much material (about 15 minutes of Halloween ended up on the cutting room floor).
“It’s so hard to make a patient movie, and if a classic like The Shining was being made now, you know some studio executive would say to cut 70 minutes out of it. People who’ve seen the director’s cut of Halloween on DVD like it better, and these theatrical releases are being cut to little more than the length of a TV show.”
I respectfully disagree. It’s unlikely that anyone who didn’t enjoy a film in theaters will watch a director’s cut – just to see if its better. Usually, fans of a theatrical cut will like the director’s cut better, since it gives them even more of a film they enjoyed the first time. Technically, he is probably right that people like the director’s cut better but those people were, very likely, already fans – not new converts.
At one point last year, Zombie said he disliked remakes and sequels because he only wanted to work on original material, a point he reiterated by dropping out of The Blob:
“I wanted to break away from anything related to preexisting material. The remake train is getting pretty tired now and when I made Halloween, everybody complained, either that it was too much like the original or too different. But when you do an original premise, they take it on face value and after three years of not being able to win on Halloween, I just couldn’t go through that again.”
I can empathize with Zombie’s frustration, working with “the man” and dealing with all the negative criticism, but when he makes a statement like “I want to break away from ANYTHING related to PREEXISTING material” and then a short bit later announces he’ll be making a movie based off one of his PREEXISTING songs – well, it’s hard not to smell some hypocrisy in the air.
If Zombie wants to make movies from original material, then by all means he should go for it. As he showcased in The Devil’s Rejects, he does have talent as a filmmaker. Or, if he wants to make movies that are remakes or adaptations of other materials, then he should do that instead.
Personally, I just wish he’d stop acting like an upper-tier director, claiming he is above doing remakes, and make the best film he can produce (whatever the story). Maybe he’d even silence some of his detractors.
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