The Curious Casting of LORDS OF SALEM

Director Rob Zombie is unabashedly in the category of filmmakers that double as hardcore movie geeks. This is a man, after all, who named his band after a Bela Lugosi flick, and who's stuffed his films with references--often obscure and odd--that span all eras of horror. His casting is no different, as his films read like a who's who of the past four decades of horror, exploitation, and sci-fi. Since mapping out the names and resumes all of his movies' casts requires numerous charts, graphs, and Venn diagrams that I have neither the space nor the mental fortitude for, let's instead take a quick, dirty look at his latest, the Midnight Madness selection The Lords of Salem.

A surprise to anyone is the return of Zombie's wife Sherri Moon Zombie in the role of radio DJ Heidi Hawthorne, as she's appeared in each of her husband's films. Another Zombie regular--and an always welcome addition-- is Sid Haig, who's appeared everything but Halloween 2, and is best known today as the deliciously sadistic clown-- and Marx Brothers' reference--Captain Spaulding. Haig's early career's still remembered for Spider Baby.

Another returning semi-regular is Clint Howard, who's recognized by most for popping up in his brother Ron Howard's films. Howard's appeared in Zombie's Halloween remake and as a voice actor in the oft-forgotten, quite twisted, and infinitely silly animated flick The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, but he's been in literally a billion (give or take a few) other movie and TV shows. A spot that's close to my own heart is his titular role in 1995's supremely odd, schlocky Ice Cream Man.

Udo Kier makes his second appearance in a Zombie production (if we're counting the fake trailer for Werewolf Women of the SS in the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino double feature Grindhouse), and has a long career dating back to the '60s. My personal favorites are Paul Morrissey's beautifully tasteless X-rated features Blood for Dracula (aka Andy Warhol's Dracula) and Flesh for Frankenstein (aka Andy Warhol's Frankenstein, of course). The latter originally showed up in theaters in 3D, and featured the greatest of all 3D effects, Kier's liver dangling over the audience on the end of a spear. Below is the trailer for the former.

Lords of Salem also supplies us with the first appearance of the wonderful Barbara Crampton in a Zombie film. Crampton's best known today for her early, regular work with Stuart Gordon, especially one very specific--and very brave--act committed with a severed head in Re-Animator. Since we're far too classy to show you that, check out this trailer to Gordon's From Beyond, with Crampton in full-on scream queen mode, plus a fellow Salem cast member, Ken Foree.

And with that, we're not even scratching the surface. Eagle-eyed movie nerds will recognize the likes of Maria Conchita Alonso (The Running Man, Predator 2), Meg Foster (They Live), Tim Burton's one-time wife Lisa Marie, and Dee Wallace (E.T., Cujo). There's even throwbacks to '70s TV, like The Brady Bunch's Christopher Knight, and Raj from What's Happening himself, Ernest Thomas. Did I miss someone? Maybe you've got a favorite Rob Zombie cast member or in-reference? Let us know down below in the comments.

Mon., Sept. 10th, 11:59 PM RYERSON
Wed., Sept. 12th, 5:00 PM CINEPLEX YONGE & DUNDAS 6

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