It has been awhile since we caught up with Rob Zombie’s Lords of Salem, and now that he is actually in the middle of production, the details have been pouring out.  As usual, his cast reads like a veritable convention roster….

  • Maria Conchita Alonso
  • Michael Berryman
  • Barbara Crampton
  • Bruce Davison*
  • Billy Drago
  • Ken Foree
  • Meg Foster
  • Sid Haig
  • Clint Howard
  • Udo Kier
  • Richard Lynch
  • Lisa Marie
  • Dee Wallace
  • Patricia Quinn (this one he announced literally as this article was posting)

Ernest Lee Thomas, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Camille Keaton, Torsten Voges, Christopher Knight, and Judy Geeson round out the rest of the confirmed cast.  Sheri Moon Zombie has yet to be announced, but considering the lead role of ‘Heidi’ hasn’t been officially been cast…well, you know where I’m going with this.  I won’t be shocked in the least if Bill Moseley, Malcolm McDowell, and William Forsythe manage to snag some sort of roles in the project as well.

I personally don’t have a problem with Zombie continuing as a filmmaker.  His Halloween films had mixed results, but I quite enjoyed both House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects.  Considering the fact that he has been given full creative control on The Lords of Salem, I’m inclined to believe that we’ll get something more in line with his first two films.  Will it be good?  I have no idea.  I do think it will be interesting no matter what though.

This project actually started years ago as an aborted graphic novel.  It was to be Zombie’s third collaboration with Steve Niles and would have had an accompanying concept album from Zombie’s band as “The Lords of Salem”.  The farthest it ever got at the time seemed to be a single track on Rob’s 2006 release, Educated Horses.  After the underperformance of Halloween 2, he seemed to hop from project to project.  He was attached to remakes of CHUD and The Blob, as well as an original project titled Tyrannosaurus Rex (which he still intends to make).  Last year he was approached by Haunted Films with an offer to make whatever he wanted as long as he stayed on budget**.  Since (I’m assuming) T-Rex is tied up with the Weinstein Company, Zombie resurrected this project.

Zombie seems to be reusing his bag of tricks from Halloween 2.  On that film he employed the use of fictional horror host Uncle Seymour Coffins, who popped up in various short videos and messages to drum up interest in the film.  Though the actual character barely had any screentime in the finished film, it still made for a bit of fun before H2 hit theaters.  This time out, he seems to have created a faux “long lost cult film” for inclusion in the project…

It looks like we’re going to be treated to an intentionally schlocky (this is Zombie after all!) film within a film.  I have no doubt that it will be fun. I just hope it’s worked into the film in a convincing fashion and not just there for the heck of it.  Considering part of the plot revolves around a heavy metal band, I won’t be surprised if Zombie & his band appear in the film……….or if the soundtrack/score contains a few new tracks from Rob.

The Lords of Salem should hit theaters in the latter half of 2012.  Whatever the result, I’m sure the reactions to it will be just as strong as they have been for all of Zombie’s films. Myself?  I’m actually looking forward to see if he can deliver something on the level of The Devil’s Rejects again.  If not, then that label of “this generation’s Tobe Hooper” that he has been given in some circles will become more and more apt as time goes by.

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*- Bruce Dern was previously cast, but had to bow out due to a conflict.  Davison is his replacement.

**- James Wan was given the same deal and the result was this year’s sleeper hit, Insidious.