Earlier this month news broke out that Rob Zombie’s next project would be Lords of Salem, funded by the Paranormal Activity crew’s new production house. This was great, except the same news broke months before and literally the only new piece of information was that the film would “shoot in spring.” I skipped that particular story for that reason (though I couldn’t help but tweet a bitchy little notice), but today brings something a little more substantive in the form of an actual interview with Zombie.

Speaking with Empire, Zombie gives the most complete synopsis we’ve yet heard about the film, which is an old idea of his that has spawned a grammy-winning song in the years before someone grabbed onto the movie pitch.

“There were twenty people that everyone knows about – obviously all innocent – executed as witches in Salem… The basic premise of the film is that there were a further four who actually were witches, who were killed secretly, and vowed one day to return to wreak havoc on Salem’s descendants. That’s when the movie jumps ahead to the present day and things start to go wrong…”

He also mentions that Tyrannosaurus Rex, which he hopes to do after Salem, is a “violent, 1970s crime biker movie” that gave way to The Blob remake, a film he ditched after tiring of the response to his Halloween films. He goes on to explain why you can’t win with remakes, recycling a lot of what he’s said before about the response to his films. Zombie has had to develop a thick skin for critics, along with the usual kind of spin that turns negativity into tacit endorsement…

“The thing I find with my music and especially the movies, is that people either love it to death, or hate it like it’s the worst thing they’ve ever, ever seen, which to me shows I’m on the right path! You forget about a lot of movies practically before you’ve left the cinema. If I got no reaction at all then I’d know I’d failed.”

I don’t begrudge Zombie his talking points when it comes to critics- there’s only so much shit you can listen to when you’re trying to do your own thing. That said, his career and creative choices have been suspect at best and completely fucking terrible at worst, and he’s yet to prove that the nasty promise of The Devil’s Rejects was more than a fluke. There seems to be an overwhelming backlash of apathy towards that film –completely understandable considering his output since– but I think it’s misdirected as Rejects remains uncompromisingly mean and uniquely old school. It’s still a favorite, and the reason that I’ll give Zombie enough benefit of the doubt to catch at least another original film from him before writing off his value entirely. My hope is that his arrangement with Haunted Films will put him back into the modestly-budgeted, fast-paced, creatively free scenario that he was in with Lionsgate for Rejects.

Rob’s plan is to complete his current tour and get shooting in April, do another tour leg over summer, edit during fall, and release in early 2012. With him busy rocking and rolling until shooting starts, expect more details about the project (character descriptions, casting..) a little closer to summer.

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