You Spin Me Right Round Baby – The Lords of Salem review

Witches scream and cackle as they strip themselves bare to the flesh and conspire in acts of ungodly debauchery. Yes The Lords of Salem is a film with witches, not broomstick flying ones, but none the less. Think more along the lines of The Wicker Man or even in some cases The Town that Dreaded Sundown. So if the whole cauldrons and Satanism isn’t your thing, then you may wish to avoid this one. Thankfully old school horror had something that the modern medium is often missing, atmosphere; thankfully this is not one of those films. Nostalgia literally oozes from every interior and into each frame of film. We’re taken for a ride that is also decidedly old school as we get to experience not jumps scares or shock tactics but a legitimate building of tension; as to whether that pays off is up to you and your opinion.

Sherri Moon Zombie – The Lords of Salem

We follow Heidi (Sherri Moon Zombie), a now reformed drug addict working on a late night Howard Stern style radio station. Rob’s other half Sherri is not the best actress in the world and struggles at times to make her character work. That said it’s a horror film of the late night type so I don’t expect little golden midget winning performances here. A vinyl (yes vinyl, not MP3 thank f**k) is sent to her workplace with no information other than it’s for her to check out. After some taunts and jokes from her workmates she takes the record home to give it a spin. After some drinks and late night listening we begin a dark and twisted journey. It’s a crazy ride with abstract visions, uncomfortable locations and even weirder people. That’s about as far as I’m willing to go with story though, as part of the fun is seeing how out of the norm this film really can be, particularly compared to say Rob’s Halloween remakes.

It’s amazing how simple the skewed angle of a shot or the uncomfortable droning of the soundtrack can affect you when you’re not being force fed queues like ‘Jump scare here’ or ‘must kill this person’. It’s refreshing to see a Director move from the completely violent to the abstractly barren. Honestly a lot of the discomfort comes from how long, Rob and cinematographer Brandon Trost (the dude shot Crank, The FP, MacGruber need I say more), choose to hold a shot and when to finally make that decisive cut call. John 5 also provides a score that is more than a little unsettling and gives that extra discomfort that a tale such as Lords requires. That said the sound design in this film is impeccable and really helps add that weight of dread to many scenes.

Rob Zombie has suffered from a mixed bag over the last decade while trying to break from his musical trappings into the world of cinema. Many find his films too odd, or confronting to be seen as a commercial let alone watchable film style. His new one will be no different, as he yet again makes some changes to his formula and just lets the ball roll. Now before you go into the film remember this… it’s not a ten million dollar horror film, this doesn’t have earth shattering scares or effects, but it does have atmosphere in spades and a rather old school appearance. This is a creature of nostalgia as much as it is a tribute. Every frame glows with a sense that Rob’s appreciation for all things John Carpenter (In the Mouth of Madness comes to mind) and Stephen King (specifically The Shining) is the centre piece of this film.

– Col B

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Behind the Bionic Eye, a study in self portraiture and digital manipulation

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lightemup       eye2

eye3      light2

light1      light3       ring

Col B Cadell Photography and Video: Brisbane, Australia

Shot on:
Canon 7D, Zeiss Flektagon 35mm f2.4, Amaran Halo, Digicell LED Panel, Manfrotto Tripod

– Col B.

Chk, Chk, Fuck…. Yeah!!!!

I’ve been working on video content for a good year, maybe more now and photographing for close to 10 years. There’s something so tactile and honest feeling about creating with an instrument such as a Camera. The SLR allows the user to perceive a place in the world that we wouldn’t normally think of whether it be Point of View (POV)(internalised or externalised) or possibly an abstract interpretation of perspective. This freedom of choice, combined with the users lust for creation can be a more than potent mix when finger hits shutter. While many reading at this point will be thinking… this is just existential bullshit… and for some of you that could be correct. I just feel strongly that the camera truly is one of the last bastions of human art.

People may love photos and of course I do but have you ever thought what the world would be like without them. If everything were an artists rendering or their interpretation of a scene then we would have a rather skewed perspective of reality. Imagine if the first World War were documented by Van Gogh or even a realist like Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. It would be a strange place to have grown up in. Up until the late 1800’s photography was a heliographic plate with an image essentially scarred into it and not an easily viewable image either.

The invent of film technology and later colour was to be the first and foremost development in the way humans recorded their own history. This was prior to computers and even complex developing techniques so any alterations to the image were out of the question. A photo was a true portrait of what you saw… that’s right you could believe a photo. Sure the lenses weren’t as great and the film stocks were rubbish (mostly during the war years from my understanding) but the idea and ambition were showing in spades. Around this time was also the rise of motion picture cameras and the use of 35mm film.

Flick forward to 2012, we can buy a DSLR that is the size of a standard SLR but has the same features as a stills camera but also can create video works ranging from Music Video to short film. To think that in the space of 100 years we have managed to take two film related mediums, like the stills camera and the motion picture camera, and make it into a hybrid art form that is slowly changing the way we perceive film. Many people will not know it yet but DSLR cameras have already moved from the photographic world to being used as ‘B’ Cameras on full feature film sets. Films such as Captain America, Acts of Valor and many more are starting to use this DSLR technology to recreate the way we view cinema, and in most cases without the audience being aware. Hell you can make a short on an iPhone if you are dedicated enough, with some gear houses making support rigs for mobiles to help stabilise the footage.

With these creations comes the rise of Youtube and various other online video depositories. So many people take for granted the content we can view and how we view it. We are living in possibly the first age where we will be able to, in 10 years time or so, look back and see our world in detail. Not just detail though, we will have comprehensive moving detail. We have personalities, politicians, musicians, regular joes and the guy in the street all posting video and photo content. There are children who’s first steps, big recitals, first kisses etc. have been posted to Youtube and the like. Using Youtube, Instagram and Facebook you could essentially follow the entire life of a child born from 2004 onwards. This would be a first, for the users are now essentially becoming the engineers of their own autobiographical work.

Nothing new has been stated above but I feel it needed to be said. We live in a amazing age, and I’m glad we might be able to look back on it in a way that no generation has before. Many may not see this as a good thing, but I am glad someone in the future can see where we may have gone wrong.

– Col.