Rob Zombie is one of the most interesting filmmakers I’ve interviewed, but I really, really didn’t like his films. So what happens when I sat down with him recently to talk about his work and his latest film 'Lords of Salem?'

To be fair, 'Lords of Salem' offers a marked change from the hillbilly meanness of his earlier work: chronicling the revival of a coven of witches in Salem, Massachusetts, Zombie’s approach is measured, elegant and surreal, evoking vintage work from Mario Bava and Dario Argento.

We sat down with Zombie at the film’s recent Los Angeles press day, where the filmmaker was typically thoughtful and genial – upending the gruff, misanthropic persona he presents through his music. In addition to talking about taking himself in a different direction as a filmmaker, he offered his own thoughts about spirituality explored via his characters, cinematic influences, and the possible personal meanings of casting his wife Sheri Moon Zombie in Lords of Salem’s main role.