Rob Zombie brought a new kind of “horror” film to SXSW in the form of The Lords of Salem. He spoke about it and his work as a whole during A Conversation With Rob Zombie with Drew McWeeny, Chief Film Critic at HitFix. Zombie calls Salem a psychological drama because he claims horror has almost become a dirty word in Hollywood. In fact, many actors, according to Zombie, try to dissociate themselves from the horror films they have made and the genre as a whole. Since the found footage revolution (think Paranormal Activity), studios are hoping to make horror for less and less money. His budget was about two
million but he was given contractual freedom and so was able to make the film that he really wanted. Instead of focusing on shooting a large quantity of footage but having each frame be low quality, he ambitiously spent time and money creating beautiful sets and shots. He mentioned his editor exclaimed that there was not enough for a full film at the end of the shooting period, but they were able to produce a movie in the end.
The film throws audience members at first sometimes, Rob Zombie says, because they expect something along the lines of Evil Dead. However, this instead delves into the psyche of the main character as her mental state slips and she finds herself returning to her drug addiction. The casting was a huge part of that and he always puts unconventional people into his roles. The nightmarish quality of the film adds to the scare and while everything does make sense, he never wants it to be obvious.
This is only one example of his alternative voice and genre that have defined his career and he himself is somewhat unconventional too. His next film will likely be based on Broad Street Bullies and will be something of a sports film. This is certainly a break from his past but he will of course bring some edge to it in true Zombie style. He mentioned that, as soon as he is pigeonholed, that is when he knows to switch to something else. Additionally, he shies away from sequels because “I like the idea of things ending” he claims. The same goes for remakes, as his philosophy is that only things that were terrible should be remade. Look for The Lords of Salem which hits theaters April 19.