November 17, 2011

Rob Zombie in Salem November 2011! [*spoiler alert*]

[the movie's first SPOILER right here!]

Now that October is over you'd think the excitement in Salem would be over, but then on Monday a friend at a local ice cream shop asked me "Oh, do you know who Rob Zombie is?". Apparently she had no idea who he was but said either he or some of his crew had just been in there browsing. I searched all over online and asked around and no one else knew anything, but then Rob posted this on his Facebook page around 8pm:

The Lords had descended on Salem Towne.

Later on I noticed this tweet from the mayor of the city:


So, at this point random people started telling me all the random places they were running into his film crews, all over the city... From the beautiful Greenlawn Cemetery in North Salem, to Essex st., rumors of Pioneer Village in South Salem - he even was filming down The Point!

On Essex st. (picture via the Official Salem Facebook Page)

Now, honestly, I wasn't planning on running around town trying to find him with a Sharpie like a ton of other people were, I understand he is here to work. I left work early to look at an apartment and just happened to stumble upon the crew on Essex st. filming a scene! I just had to watch. Even though it was somewhat boring and to the crew just business as usual I found the entire situation just fascinating. The beautiful cameras and equipment, the way they used umbrellas and special tents to keep the rain off things, the way the crew all worked so well together - I ended up watching for hours and hours.

In the scene on Essex st. (the one I saw, there are others) Bruce Davidson, whom you may remember best from playing the father in the TV series version of Harry and the Hendersons, dressed in casual business attire carrying a leather messenger style briefcase walked down Essex st towards the camera, noticed a newsstand, saw the headline, grabbed a copy of the made-up paper "The Salem Breeze", stared at the paper for a moment and then walked off looking like it was something that made sense to him, surprised or shocked, or otherwise somehow affected him. It certainly made no sense to me, I got up really close and saw the headline "Local Host Lobster Joe Found Dead".

Anyone who is a fan of Rob Zombie or Salem Witch Wiles on Facebook will remember when Mr. Zombie posted the casting picture of Christopher Knight, aka Peter Brady, with a caption including a part that said "Chris plays Keith Williams aka Lobster Joe the host of Lobster Joe's Fishy Fun Show a staple of local Salem television."

So you heard it here first folks, Peter Brady dies in Lords of Salem.

Now at this point, considering how many locals normally walk down Essex st. in November and that they had been there long enough for word to get out online, a significant sized group had formed and lots of people were loudly mentioning how they wanted an autograph in the hopes he would overhear them. Come on guys, he's trying to work. Bother him when he's not working or on break between scenes. I payed close attention and noticed one guy who was making announcements to the crew say "Allright, pack it up. Charter's next and Sheri's on her way." I was the only non-crew person that heard him, no one else was paying attention.

I immediately knew he was referring to the Old Burying Point Cemetery, also known as Charter St. Cemetery.
Here's the lightning-struck oak where lots of local witches leave offerings. (picture courtesy one of my awesome tourists/friends!)
This is the cemetery I do my historic tours in. It's the oldest in the city, second oldest in the country, the one with the lightning struck oak tree, the Witch Trials Memorial, The Hanging Judge John Hathorne is buried here - hell, I got married in this cemetery! I decided to not tell anyone but one friend what I had heard and we snuck away from the crowd as the crew began packing up and the noticeably impatient people started getting closer and closer to all running up and asking for autographs in a frenzy. I knew if they knew Sheri Moon Zombie was going to be at the cemetery they would all stampede down there. Honestly, though, I was surprised people stayed out of the way and were as well behaved as they were, New England people can be pushy!

Down at Old Burying Point it started to rain a bit more moderately and they set up all the cameras. They filmed a scene of Sheri slowly walking through the cemetery in deep thought, taking a moment to stop and stare at a few stones before exiting into the area of The Witch Trials Memorial. Because there were hardly any locals in the way at this location I could stand very close. I could see the view through the camera, essentially what the shots will look like, and they were just beautiful.

I had figured her outfit would be able to tell me a lot about her character and hopefully make a few plot points more obvious but it further confused me. She was not dressed stereotypically goth or witchy at all. Firstly, she was wearing wide-leg flare-type jeans that dragged on the ground just enough to get the bottoms all wet from rain. She was wearing a faux-suede looking jacket with faux-fur trim and had an extremely realistic looking wig of luscious gorgeous amazing blonde dreadlocks. (My friend took pictures, I will edit this blog and add them in the moment he uploads them![edit 1/9/12: still waiting!])

Anyways, in the next shot she entered the Memorial and paused there for a few moments reading the quotes by the victims chiseled into the stones and they got a great close up of her from another angle. Then they filmed her walking around the corner and took a very long drawn-out shot of her slowly walking into the distance - it looked great. Very moody.

Based on the way she was acting I think it's safe to assume that her character feels a deep connection to the victims of the hysteria, what could that mean? A lot of things. Maybe she is a descendant of one of the victims, maybe she is a modern witch, who knows...

[edit: Oh, duh. Yeah, her character's name is Heidi Hawthorne so it's pretty safe to assume that makes her a descendant of the character Rev. John Hawthorne. He is taking some creative liberty here: the judge was John Hathorne and one of his descendants, famous author Nathaniel Hawthorne, actually added the 'w' in order to distance himself from the ignorant ancestor. The Reverend at the time was Samuel Parris.]

I was able to chat with a few random members of the crew at certain points and more than one of them made it a point to mentioned that this wasn't as bloody or gory, or as one of them put it "it's not as stabby", as his previous films and that it would be "more psychological". Based on the long shots and deep camera angles I am sensing something. I could be wrong, but I think this is Rob's attempt to be taken seriously by all the fans and critics that think all he can do is shock and gore. Personally, I have always seen how artistic his films are regardless, but I am getting a strong feeling that this is going to be a huge movie and really impress people.

This morning Rob posted this on his Facebook page with a goodbye message to the city saying today was his last day shooting.

Is that Samantha Stevens from Bewitched or William Defoe from Boondock Saints?

Last I heard they were going to put in a full day of filming today and then head back to LA. Let me be one of many people to say thank you to Rob and the crew for filming in Salem and not just doing this all in LA. Salem is a perfect spot for filming, so much to see. Being a native of Massachusetts I think he has more respect than others would, and we respect him back.

Related articles:

Rob Zombie's Latest Visit to Salem for Location Scouting (With new Pics!)

Clues in Leaked "Lords of Salem" Photos with a Better Synopsis

God Hates the Lords of Salem - Rob Zombie Sightings in Salem, MA