North Texas Daily

Interview: Rob Zombie Talks Horror and “The Lords of Salem”

Interview: Rob Zombie Talks Horror and “The Lords of Salem”

Interview: Rob Zombie Talks Horror and “The Lords of Salem”
September 03
15:43 2013

Preston Barta / Film Critic

The North Texas Daily recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk to American musician and filmmaker Rob Zombie (“Halloween,” 2007) about his new original film “The Lords of Salem,” the horror genre and what scares him.

You’ve been quite busy touring for your new album (“Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor”), doing “The Lords of Salem” press tour and now you have your hands full with your upcoming haunted maze/concert festival called Great American Nightmare, which sounds awesome by the way. How has that all been going for you?

Rob Zombie: “It’s been great. I just got home from touring for my album about a week ago. But I don’t know—“

It sounds like it has been exhausting.

Zombie: “It really has been non-stop promoting. I swear to God, once you finish one movie or album, you’re talking about it and going on to the next one. It’s just a never-ending story. [Laughs]”

I can only imagine. So to dive into “The Lords of Salem,” Alfred Hitchcock once said that the only way that he could get rid of his fears was to make movies about them. Of all the films and albums you have done, is there anything in them that scares you, or has scared you?

Zombie: “No. I never really looked at it that way, that’s for sure. In fact, I find that the fact that I don’t have a lot of phobias or fears difficult sometimes because I am trying to guess what might be other people’s. I feel like I am pretty grounded in that fact, so not really. As much as I would like to have a kinship with Hitchcock on that, I don’t. [Laughs]”

Making a horror movie, I imagine your mind has to go to some crazy and dark places. When writing this movie and/or shooting it, what were some of the darkest places that you allowed your imagination to go?

Zombie: “Well, it’s a funny thing because most of the time I feel like I haven’t gotten there. That’s the funny thing about movies sometimes. It’s all in your mind, and once you shoot it, you look at it and go, ‘OK. Now let’s do it for real because we’ve only scratched the surface.’ But I don’t know. It’s a little tricky to explain. You know what I mean?”

Definitely. Actually, I would say your film plays like a throwback to the psychedelic horror movies of the early 70s. As a filmmaker, what’s an aspect from those days of horror filmmaking that you wish you could have experienced?

Zombie: “Well, what I have missed in— Actually, as we’re talking, I have this DVD playing and it’s just playing this loop of trailers, and every trailer is weirder than the next one. All I can think of is none of these movies would have been made today. You know, granted, a lot of them are crap, but within that you always get some that are really great. That’s what I miss the most when I think about that stuff. I wish there was a way that movies could work that circuit that doesn’t really exist anymore—that grindhouse, drive-in circuit.

Back then, movies like that would play for years. While it may not be on 3,000 screens like it is today, they would have these huge cult followings. It was fun when ‘Dawn of the Dead’ came to your little crappy theater in town. But now, movies come out on two screens and it’s gone in a week, or it’s on 3,000 screens and still may be gone in a week.”

In horror classics such as “The Exorcist”, “Poltergeist” and “The Omen”— pretty much any horror movie that has some religious aspect to it— there have been many urban legends and myths of on-set incidences. Working in the genre, did you find anything out of the ordinary going on on-set?

Zombie: “I wonder if anything out of the ordinary really happened on those films, and it wasn’t just people working in the press department.[Laughs] But no, nothing out of the ordinary happened. If it did, I can’t remember anymore. But I question if anything actually happened in those films.”

Putting your wife, Sheri Moon Zombie, through the things that you did in the film, was there anything that caused her to stop and say, ‘Man. Rob. I can’t do this.’ Or was she pretty easy going about it all and accepting of your creative vision?

Zombie: “No, there was nothing that she didn’t want to do that I can remember anymore. The scene that was the worst for her, and everybody on-set that day, was the scene where she was on the slab and all that blood is coming out because for some reason the blood we were using was absolutely rancid and smelled so disgusting. I was in the other room looking at the monitors, but she said, ‘if it was one second longer I was going to vomit.’

I also realized that there was a lot of fire in that scene. One of our camera guys basically passed out because of all the gas that we used in that room. That was the only time she was losing it, but so was everybody.”

Lastly, if you could teach a college course, what do you think you would teach?

Zombie: “Probably the reality of businesses because I think that’s the one thing I talk about when I talk to young filmmakers or young visions. They may be super-talented, but they probably don’t know anything about the reality of businesses.  You know what I mean?”

Absolutely.

Zombie: “You may be in your film class and be super brilliant, working on your final film project for your grade, which is great. There’s nothing wrong with that. I wish I had gone to film school. But the business doesn’t function like that. A dose of reality would be good because I think that’s why a lot of filmmakers are miserable. They’re artists. They come in and don’t realize how harsh the business side is. The business side doesn’t care about you ever. And I think people would really benefit from a course that covers that subject.”

“The Lords of Salem” is available on Blu-ray and DVD today.

 

 

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