Lords of Salem Book/Movie Comparison

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During October I decided to listen to something witchy.  Considering I’m a huge fan of the movie, The Lords of Salem, I gave the audiobook an opportunity. For those who don’t prefer audiobook, TLOS is also available in print.

Upon finishing TLOS, my immediate thoughts were: I should have read the book first, it seems Rob Zombie’s hands were tied regarding onscreen content, and the studio butchered the Hell out of the movie.  The book is a companion that addresses some of the random scenes featured in the film.  Also, the backstory of the main characters, especially Heidi, seems more developed.  Aside from offering more information, the book is 100% more brutal than what the studios released.

In comparison to the movie, the book doesn’t provide any new twists or scares, and it follows the same concept throughout. The major differences regard ritual sacrifice, the descendants hypnotized by the coven’s music, and the concert sequence.  Movie wise, these scenes were watered down.  Had the movie not utilized nudity, drugs, or explicit language, it could have been pg-13. However, if these very elements were removed from the book, the subject matter would still teeter between NC-17 and R, due to violence alone.

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With gore and character development aside, the book provides a brief reasoning for the delusions Heidi suffered, mostly giving insight to the humanoid creatures.  The way these delusions appear in the movie, makes the viewer feel like something frightening is placed at the most random spot for no reason. The book suggests these creatures are used to put Heidi in a low place mentally, physically, and spiritually.  Furthermore, they are given a brief origin, as the authors suggest these creatures were once human.  Thus allowing the reader to speculate that the entities are the results of damned human souls.

Although, it seems that if one reads the book, they should skip the movie, I assure you, this isn’t the case.  Despite the movie won’t provide the intensity found within the book, it introduces Rob Zombie’s ability to create a visually satisfying art house movie.  From start to end, Zombie unleashes hellish scenes, historic urban settings, and Kubrickian imagery.

However, the eye candy doesn’t end with the artistic angle alone, as the casting is favorable to cult icons.  I think what makes TLOS so frightening is not only the character Margret Morgan, but the way Meg Foster portrays her by image and vocals.  Character wise, Margret Morgan is one of the most frightening witches since The Black Queen in Dario Argento’s Susperia.  Actress wise, this role makes us remember why Meg Foster is an icon to start with.

Even though Sherri Moon Zombie is already iconic, her role as Heidi reinforces her cult status.  My supporting reasons include Heidi’s musical and wardrobe taste, her tangible personality, and her unsettling skull face.  Compared to Moon’s other roles, her portraying Heidi is a great contrast between her prior achievements, such as: Baby Firefly and Deborah Myers.

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Casting honorable mentions include: Bruce Davidson (Willard & The Crucible), Jeff Daniel Phillips (To Die for 2 & Halloween 2), Judy Geeson (Berserk & Goodbye Gemini), Patricia Quinn (Rocky Horror Picture Show & Shock Treatment), Dee Wallace (The Howling & Cujo), and Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead & From Beyond).

From a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the worst, 10 being the best, I would rate the book a 9 and the audio narration a 10.  Bringing my final decision to a 9 ½ total.  Movie, I would rate a 7 ½ .

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