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September 8, 2011

A real Zombie visits Salem

SALEM — Zombies are so commonplace in Witch City, they barely turn heads.

Tuesday was an exception.

Rob Zombie, the legendary heavy metal musician and horror movie director, was in town, and everybody — or everybody under 40 — seemed to notice.

"He came in for lunch," said Steve Feldmann of Gulu-Gulu, the downtown cafe. "He was a real sweet guy."

He ordered a vegan dish, signed autographs and posed for photos.

Zombie, 46, was apparently here to scout locations for his latest horror movie, "The Lords of Salem," which movie blogs say is about a demonic visit to modern-day Salem by a 300-year-old coven of witches.

City officials aren't saying much.

"They have done some preliminary scouting in Salem among other places," said Kate Fox, the executive director of Destination Salem, the city's tourism office. "We have no confirmation of what's going to happen with the scouting."

Zombie, a Haverhill native, was spotted over at Greenlawn Cemetery, where he had a photo taken with a fan.

"It was very exciting because I love metal and I love horror," said Meghann Ackerman, the director of constituent services for Mayor Kim Driscoll.

In the afternoon, Zombie stopped at Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery on Derby Street, which has a collection of horror movie figures.

"It was a total surprise," said owner James Lurgio, who spotted the rock star/director standing in the lobby.

"As I turned around, Rob Zombie was taking money out of his wallet. I said, 'Rob Zombie doesn't pay.'"

Zombie took his time wandering through the museum, which has figures of Freddy, Jason, Hannibal Lecter and other famous horror movie characters.

"He asked a lot of good questions about the figures and how they were made," Lurgio said.

Zombie is expected back after October — once the other zombies have left.

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