FantasticFest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and action movies from all around the world. Here's a list of some of our favorite movies at FantasticFest.
The successful writer Benjamin "Ben" Mears returns to his hometown Salem's Lot, Maine, expecting to write a new novel about the Marsten House. Ben believes that the manor is an evil house that attracts evil men since the place has many tragic stories and Ben saw a ghostly creature inside the house when he was ten. Ben finds that the Marsten House has just been rented to the antique dealers Richard K. Straker and his partner Kurt Barlow that is permanently traveling. Ben meets the divorced teacher Susan Norton that is living with her parents and they have a love affair. Ben also gets close to her father Dr. Bill Norton and his former school teacher Jason Burke. When people start to die anemic, Ben believes that Straker's partner is a vampire. But how to convince his friends that he is not crazy and that is the truth? Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Without a doubt this television movie based on Stephen King's grand horror opus pales in comparison to its literary counterpart. But isn't that usually the case? Although missing some subplots, many characters, and having some major script changes here and there, Tobe Hooper's Salem's Lot is indeed enjoyable. I watched it right after having read the book, and although I spent a lot of time seeing what it did not have...I have to confess that there were many good points. For starters, let me list some of my major complaints. The whole framed narrative story in the movie is ridiculous and very clumsily made. I also have a big problem with the gaping holes in the script with regard to characters popping up here and there with little or no expository introduction. Some characters were used to help move the plot and then discarded. Names were needlessly changed from the novel. That being said there was a great sense of style to the picture which must be credited to Hooper. Overall the acting is quite good. David Soul is very credible in his leading role, as are Lance Kerwin, Bonnie Bedelia, Lew Ayres and Ed Flanders. James Mason makes a stunning villain. Mason uses charm as a weapon and eats up the scenery with subtlety and wit. The vampire is played by horror veteran Reggie Nalder, and although he says not one word...he is very effective. The make-up on him is very reminiscent of Nosferatu. The lead-ins to commercials show the film to be dated by today's standards, but it has enough in it to be an entertaining diversion. However, PLEASE read the book first as it is one of the best of its kind and will make the film all the more enjoyable if for no other reason than seeing its defects.
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