Friday, April 26, 2013
The Lords Of Salem: Book Review
Rob Zombie has played many roles—musician, director, actor—but in the case of his recent novelization of his newest film The Lords of Salem, he takes on the role of author.
The novel is split into two parts: the first taking place in 1692, Salem, Massachusetts; the second in the same city, but present day.
Zombie weaves some historical fact into his tale; character John Hawthorn was a very real and cruel judge that took a personal interest in the witch trials. In the novel, Hawthorn, accompanied by another judge by the name of Mather and two brutish brothers, is on a mission to stop a coven of witches from raising the Devil. After catching them in the act of ritual the witches are given a “trial” to try and have the Christ beaten into them. However, the leader of the coven, Margaret Morgan, curses the men’s bloodline before they set her ablaze.
This extremely graphic but undeniably gripping opening brings us to part two and our protagonist, Heidi Hawthorn. Along with being an unknowing descendant of John Hawthorn, she is also a local radio DJ and a recovering heroine addict. Poor Heidi’s struggles are far from over when she receives “a gift from the Lords”—a wooden box bearing an odd, cross-like symbol and a vinyl record. Whether the record is played at home or on the air, it gets the same reaction, hypnotizing the women of Salem into a trance that often ends in murder.
Lords of Salem was co-written with B.K. Evenson, an American author who often dabbles in horror and science fiction. This was no exceptional work of fiction, but it was still a fun, lofty read. I’m a big fan of Zombie’s work and I would absolutely pick up anything else he penned, but I think it is safe to say he is much more confident in his screenplay writing.
The characters—with the exception of Heidi—were only half-imagined. Some were given a bright spotlight that winked out of the end of the chapter. More effort should have been put into the characters and less into the pulpy text. While the extensive physical descriptions are lovely, they aren’t always necessary, and not really desired by myself, someone who likes to work for the story rather than have it all handed to me. There was a lot of beautiful, dark imagery but I was left wondering what it all added up to.
I don’t want to sound like I didn’t like the book and I don’t want to nit pick too much because I think The Lords of Salem was a decent work of fiction and a quick, exciting read. You can pick it up at Amazon.com or your favorite bookseller.
The film is now out in theatres and is also available On Demand and on DVD in some places.