Firstly, you've probably read that this movie is a departure from Rob Zombie's usual work, but you may not understand how severely different it is. It's hard to even classify this as a horror movie, and we'll have to wait a while before general consensus chooses exactly what genre it is. It is very slow moving and relies more on creeping you out than in-your-face gore. When hearing people compare this movie to other horror directors over the past week I have heard dozens of names. I think it's fair to say Rob was deliberately paying homage to the genre rather than "ripping off" other styles.
When Heidi begins to have her visions after playing the mysterious record, it was really sad to watch her degenerate. One of the witches describes to her the difference between destiny and fate and I think the audience is supposed to ascertain from that that she has no chance of escaping her fate as the chosen one to give birth to the Anti-Christ. ...That I can understand, but watching her relapse and start smoking crack was probably the most depressing part of the movie. (On a side-note, locals were wondering why the film crew was shooting in the ghetto part of Salem known as "The Point", and appropriately enough, this is where she goes to buy said crack!) In one of the most disturbing scenes, Heidi seeks solace in a church only to fall asleep and have a dream sequence where she is orally raped by a priest while he screams Satanic prayers and black ooze spurts from his mouth.
A lot of what was leaked from the plot ended up being cut from the final product during editing. As I've mentioned previously, this included a lot of murder scenes, like the one in Engine House Pizza, and Lobster Joe - who's character was cut completely.
It was also a bit disappointing that one of the clips Rob chose to leak from the movie is a huge spoiler for the only real murder scene in the entire movie, that of author and local historian Francis Mathias (played by Bruce Davison). He is the only one who realizes something strange is going on but, even as he begins to unravel the mystery of the Lords, anyone who anticipated the movie and saw the clip knows he never stands a chance against these nudist hags.
As Heidi's visions get uncontrollable and her friends lose control of her completely, the audience is treated to the final parts of the movie, which are essentially Rob Zombie's take on strange Satanic rituals spliced with short scenes of reality where fellow radio show host Herman 'Whitey' Salvador (played by Jeffrey Daniel Phillips) tries in vain to help even though he has no clue what is going on. The witches get less frightening and more happy as they seem to revel in the ecstasy of the horror around them. Heidi meets a strange midget chicken-winged goblin thing, phantoms dressed as catholic bishops sit on thrones and fondle large purple dildos, Heidi rides a goat, dry-humps a dude dressed like a black metal mall rat, and finally gives birth to the Antichrist, which looks equal parts mandrake root, insect, and starfish. The witches praise Satan, half the audience gets confused as hell as the entire thing collapses in on itself and turns into a White Zombie video with melting cartoon Jesus' on crucifixes.
I assume in the original plot, the record hypnotizes the women descended from the people of Old Salem and each of them commits a murder while possessed, but in the final product we just see them begin to get hypnotized and then appear right at the end alive wearing the strange animal masks, and then to the final shot of Heidi Hawthorne standing on a pile of their dead bodies dressed as the Anti-Virgin-Mary as Velvet Underground's "All Tomorrow's Parties" plays. Definitely the best shot of the movie, I bet it took hours to get it perfect.
I have heard a few people say things like "How can you like that movie? I couldn't even take it seriously it was so bad!" And my response to that is that people who dislike Lords of Salem are the ones taking it too seriously.
The fucking movie was hilarious.