What’s Happening? Ernest Thomas in Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem

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Rob Zombie has made a practice of taking actors whose stars have long faded and thrusting them back into the spotlight. Things are no different in his latest film, The Lords of Salem, as a very familiar face from the Seventies has joined the cast.

Rob announced today via his Facebook page that Ernest Thomas has signed on to play Chip “Freakshow” McDonald, station manager at Salem’s #1 rock station – WIQZ Salem Rocks. He joins the recently announced Meg Foster, who’ll be playing “Margaret Morgan”, the leader of a secret coven of witches in Salem.

“Of course everybody remembers Ernest as Raj on the hit 70s TV show ‘What’s Happening’!!” exclaims Zombie. “More recently Ernest can be see on Chris Rock’s ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ and [in] the Judd Apatow film ‘Funny People.'”

He’d better hope Dee don’t tell Mama.

Jason Blum, Steven Schneider, and Oren Peli of Haunted Pictures are producing as well as Zombie regulars Andy Gould and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones. More as it comes.

Heidi, a blonde rock chick, DJs at a local radio station and, together with the two Hermans (Whitey and Munster), forms part of the “Big H Radio Team”.

A mysterious wooden box containing a vinyl record arrives for Heidi, “a gift from the Lords”. She assumes it’s a rock band on a mission to spread their word. As Heidi and Whitey play the Lords’ record, it starts to play backwards, and Heidi experiences a flashback to a past trauma.

Later Whitey plays the Lords’ record, dubbing them the Lords of Salem, and to his surprise, the record plays normally and is a massive hit with listeners.

The arrival of another wooden box from the Lords presents the Big H Team with free tickets, posters and records to host a gig in Salem. Soon Heidi and her cohorts find that the gig is far from the rock spectacle they’re expecting: The original Lords of Salem are returning, and they’re out for BLOOD.

What's Happening? Ernest Thomas in Rob Zombie's The Lords of Salem

What's Happening? Ernest Thomas in Rob Zombie's The Lords of Salem

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  • DavidFullam

    Actually, I don’t remember the guy. I was too busy watching Good Times.

  • jkincer

    Say what you will about the quality of his movies, but nobody will ever accuse RZ of casting Twilight-ish thirty year olds pretending to be tweeners in his films. Even though I didn’t enjoy his Halloween movies, I do love his casting flare. Here’s hoping that Lords gets RZ back on track.

    • kiddcapone

      That’s because any self-respecting actor who wants a legit career won’t except an offer to be in a Rob Zombie movie. He needs to cast horror movie B actors and completely irrelevant pseudo-celebs that would except any paycheck offered. That’s why you get Leslie “only known for my tits in Police Academy” Easterbrook and Ernest “Raj from What’s Happening” Thomas. I guess Re-Run was booked on Celebrity rehab or something…

      • MouthForWar

        Zombie used to say, even before he started directing films that he preferred horror films without any big names in them, so I doubt he’s even offered his films to any a-listers (which seems to be what you’re assuming). He has enough famous friends that he could cast (Nicholas Cage, for example), he just chooses not to.