A novelist and a young horror fan attempt to save a small New England town which has been invaded by vampires.



(novel), (screenplay)
505 ( 165)

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Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bonnie Sawyer
Gordon 'Weasel' Phillips (as Elisha Cook)
Cully Sawyer
Dr. Bill Norton
Clarissa Kaye-Mason ...
Majorie Glick (as Clarissa Kaye)
Barney McFadden ...


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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Do you believe in vampires? See more »


Fantasy | Horror


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 November 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Salem's Lot: The Movie  »

Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(theatrical) | (uncut) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Some of the foreign titles chosen for the film's theatrical release overseas included 'Blood Thirst', 'Phantasma II', and 'Le Notti di Salem' (Italian for "The Nights of Salem"). See more »


In the meeting with Mark, his parents, and the chaplain, Barlow (the vampire) simply breaks into the house without any invitation by its occupants. All of the other vampires in the movie need to be invited in. See more »


Constable Parkins Gillespie: Not bothered by yowens?
Straker: Yowens?
Constable Parkins Gillespie: Kids. Local word. You know how kids like to devil new folks.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The text of the opening credits appear and dissolve piece by piece into each other in a jigsaw puzzle fashion. See more »


Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! Part 2 (2006) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

This is one of a handful of truly scary films
1 September 2003 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

I was fourteen years old when this film was released, and it was really a shocker for its time. Although I can see the points raised by detractors of this film, nevertheless, it is, in my opinion, one of the most truly terrifying movies I have ever seen. The scenes in which first Ralphie and then Danny Glick appear in windows at night, scratching to be let in, were utterly horrifying, as were the scenes with Mike Ryerson in Jason Burke's guest bedroom ("Looooook at me ... I will see you sleep like the dead, teacher") and Marjorie Glick in the mortuary. Along with the original "Halloween," this is a film that really, really scared me, and I feel that a key element was the lack of gore (which is probably a disappointment to younger viewers used to explicit splatter). The nonverbal dialogue of expressions and actions, the music, and the significantly occurring silences resulted in the suspense which makes a film truly frightening in my opinion.

Having said this, I do feel that the book was much, much better than the movie, and I would recommend it as one of the best vampire stories ever written (sorry, Anne Rice, but it's true). But let's be fair and realistic. It's a rare film that excels the book on which it was based. Not one of Stephen King's wonderfully (and horribly) imaginative works has EVER been committed to film in a way that has equaled the written work. Never, ever, EVER. That is something that will just never happen. If it were possible, then nobody would bother to read his books, he would become a screenwriter, and that would be a real loss for the horror genre.

36 of 41 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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