October 6, 2010 / 7:32 AM / 8 years ago

Rob Zombie plans "Salem" horror pic

DETROIT (Billboard) - Rob Zombie says he’s good at multi-tasking. He’ll need to be for the foreseeable future.

The shock-rocker, who’s co-headlining a Halloween Hootenanny tour with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee Alice Cooper through October 20, is busy with projects these days. Just out is a special edition of his latest album, “Hellbilly Deluxe 2,” featuring a cover of Cooper’s “School’s Out” among its extras, as well as single- and double-disc “Icon” retrospectives. And the “Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses in 3-D ZombieVision” maze is running through October at Universal Studios theme parks in Florida and California.

But “the big project on the horizon” for Zombie is his next horror film project, “The Lords of Salem,” which he’ll write and direct in conjunction with producers of the hit “Paranormal Activity.”

“They came to me and wanted to work together,” Zombie told Billboard.com. “I didn’t even have an idea at the time. They were like, ‘If you want to make a movie, if you have an idea we will give you complete control over casting, the script, the final cut of the picture — everything. You never heard that. Nobody hears that. Everything’s a battle, but these guys were like, ‘That’ll be our deal with you.’ And I was like, ‘Great!’”

“The Lords of Salem” is drawn from an idea Zombie had some years back about witches who were executed in the 17th and 18th centuries and return to Salem, Massachusetts, in the present day.

“I grew up in Massachusetts,” Zombie says, “so the Salem witch trials and all that was always very prevalent. Even when I was a little kid, you take a school field trip and go to Salem to the witch museums and watch re-enactments of the witch trials. I always found it fascinating, so I started writing an idea about ... this group of five witches that were killed back then and have come back to modern-day Salem to seek revenge.”

Zombie is just starting to work on “The Lords of Salem” script and expects to be in production in late March or early April. He also hopes to involve his current band in the film’s soundtrack. “I’ve been thinking about the music in this movie early, early on,” he says. “We’ll probably do the score this time out — not rock music, but a score. I know I want music to play a large role.”

With more touring ahead — including a to-be-announced European trek and a run with Iron Maiden on Australia’s Soundwave Festival in February and March — Zombie and company are starting work on the follow-up to “Hellbilly Deluxe 2.”

But the theatrical aspect of the group’s work remains a priority. “It’s been one of those things that we’ve slowly been building back up to over the years because I’d kind of gotten away from it,” Zombie acknowledges. “We just want to keep building shows that are ridiculous. I used to break it all down, go do a movie and then come back to (the music), but now we’re gonna try to keep it all kind of going at the same time. You can’t tour and make movies at the same time, obviously, but you can do some of the other things at the same time, so we’re going to try it.”

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