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Movie Review: 'The Lords of Salem' -- 1.5 stars

Sheri Moon Zombie in "The Lords of Salem"

Sheri Moon Zombie in "The Lords of Salem" Credit: Sheri Moon Zombie in "The Lords of Salem"

The Lords of Salem
1.5 stars
Directed by Rob Zombie
Starring Sheri Moon Zombie
Rated R

Rob Zombie’s sixth effort as a feature film director finds the metal icon shifting away from the saga of Michael Myers and “Halloween” and toward a centuries-old coven of witches from Salem, Mass., another potent horror institution.

But “The Lords of Salem” is a jumbled mess in which Zombie evokes the stylized, production design-centric approaches of a Roman Polanski or Dario Argento (“Suspiria”) but fails to generate a story that amounts to more than a blur of sights and sounds and half-formed ideas.

Sheri Moon Zombie, Rob’s wife, stars as Salem radio DJ Heidi, who begins experiencing terrible visions after hearing a vinyl record that’s been sent to her station and labeled “a gift from the Lords.”

Turns out there’s a whole lot of supernatural terrors on the way, including demented visions, hellfire imagery and Heidi’s underlit, decrepit apartment building that’s just waiting to be haunted.

The imagery is there — Zombie has become an astute visual director with a clear sense of classical cinematic modes — but these cornball terrors hardly qualify as scary.

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