Monday, September 30, 2013

Book vs. Movie: The Lords of Salem

The Book

I wasn't aware that Rob Zombie had released a novel version of his film, The Lords of Salem, until after I watched the movie. I put a hold on the book at the library immediately, hoping that it would clear up some scenes I found confusing in the film - which it did.

I'm unsure how much of the book Rob Zombie actually wrote, since it says "with B.K. Evenson" in smaller letters on the cover. I'm assuming that Rob Zombie wrote the film script and B.K. Evenson turned it into a novel.

The Lords of Salem begins in 1692, with John Hawthorne and a few others executing a group of witches. But before the men have a chance to kill the coven, one of the witches puts a curse on their descendants.

In the present day, radio DJ and recovering addict Heidi Hawthorne is seeing things in the vacant apartment at the end of the hall and is having intense, realistic nightmares. Things keep getting stranger when a package arrives addressed to Adelheid Elizabeth Hawthorne in a wooden box with an odd symbol on it. Inside is a record from an unknown band called The Lords. When the song is played on Heidi's radio show, it puts the women of Salem into a trance which drives them to mutilate themselves and anyone near them. The Lords of Salem are back and ready to get their revenge.

The book adds a lot of scenes that are omitted from the movie. The first 40 pages are dedicated to the execution of the coven in 1692, which is only shown briefly in the film. The book also shows what happens to a few women when the song is played on the radio, while the film only focuses on Heidi. There is also more detail on Francis, the Salem Witch Trial expert, in the book than in the movie, which only shows him in a few scenes.

The story is the same as the movie, but there are still enough differences to enjoy both. It's not like other books made into films I've read that are identical to each other.

The Movie

I love Rob Zombie's non-Halloween horror films, so I knew I would probably enjoy this one, and I did. The Lords of Salem is very different from his other films. It's not a slasher and it doesn't have buckets of gore. Instead it relies more on atmosphere. I watched this alone, late at night, and it gave me the creeps. It has lots of disturbing imagery and made me jump quite a few times.

The cast in the film was awesome: Dee Wallace, Patricia Quinn, Judy Geeson, Meg Foster, Ken Foree, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Sheri Moon Zombie...and the list goes on.

The only thing I didn't like about the film was that it could be confusing at times. Especially the ending, which was the main reason I wanted to read the book.

I actually prefer the movie over the book (possibly for the first time ever) because the imagery in the film trumps what I could imagine in my head while reading the book. The book is still worth a read because it adds more details and it's entertaining, but if you only have enough time/money/effort for one, I would go with the film.

A soundtrack for The Lords of Salem was also released.

Book: 3/5

Movie: 4/5