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A Return to Salem's Lot (1987)

R  |   |  Horror  |  May 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 4.2/10 from 2,298 users  
Reviews: 62 user | 21 critic

A man and his son vacation to the quiet vampire populated town of Salem's Lot.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Weber
Ricky Addison Reed ...
Jeremy Weber
Samuel Fuller ...
Dr. Van Meer
Judge Axel
Mrs. Axel
Aunt Clara
James Dixon ...
David Holbrook ...
Katja Crosby ...
Brad Rijn ...
Janelle Webb ...
Sarah (as Georgia Janelle Webb)
Robert Burr ...
Dr. Fenton


Joe Weber is an anthropologist who takes his son on a trip to the New England town of Salem's Lot unaware that it is populated by vampires. When the inhabitants reveal their secret, they ask Joe to write a bible for them. Written by Patrick D. Rockwell <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

May 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Salem 2 - Die Rückkehr  »

Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


Salem's Lot, The Shining, Pet Semetary and It are allegedly the scariest books Stephen King has ever written. See more »


When Joe and Van Meer confront the vampires in the schoolroom near the end, Van Meer shoots Judge Axel twice in the head. He then pretends to shoot himself (around 1:29:00). After the second Axel shot, the slide on his Walther P-38 clearly locks open, indicating an empty chamber and magazine. Yet when he turns away to "shoot" himself seconds later, the pistol appears racked and ready to fire. See more »


Van Meer: I'm not a Nazi hunter. I'm a Nazi killer!
See more »


Follows Salem's Lot (1979) See more »

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User Reviews

Sequel in name only!
12 December 2005 | by (the Mad Hatter's tea party.) – See all my reviews

Joe Weber an anthropologist returns from South America to be with his son Jeremy and they travel to a small, quiet New England town, know as Salem's Lot, where he grew up as a child and that he has inherited a house, which he plans to fix up and live. But soon he discovers the town's horrific secret, it's populated by vampires who live a normal life and the town's judge Axel, wants Joe to write a bible for their kind.

Drum roll please… shock, horror! What do you know? I liked it, quite a bit. Okay, okay it doesn't come close to Hooper's superior 'Salem's Lot', but I found this cheap looking quickie to be hugely enjoyable and I liked that it was ridiculously quirky. Cohen's touch is evident here with the comedic black humour that underlined the story, which translated into plenty of his films that featured Michael Moriarity. Those two just seem to click when they come together. Cohan's got his own sort of style that distinguishes his films from the rest of the genre and that's why he's a cult b-grade filmmaker. For lot of people I can see why it's a big disappointment and why it was put down, but this is really only a sequel by name, as there weren't any real connections from what I grasp between the two films. If you think you are going to get something in the same vein as the classier Hooper film, you'll be sorely mistaken. It's just unfavourable to compare it to "Salem's lot", as it hasn't got a real chance. They should have had a different movie poster that didn't feature Barlow (from the first film), because he is nowhere to be seen, I guess that was one the other disappointments for people. But that's just advertisement for ya.

From watching the 'Island of the Alive: It's Alive 3' (1987) commentary not too long ago, which was shot-back-to-back with 'Salem's Lot'. Cohen originally went to Warner Brothers in the interest of getting the rights for 'House of Wax', but instead they suggested that they would back him for a 'Salem's Lot' and 'It's Alive' sequel. Where Larco production took control and many of the same cast and crew were involved in both products. Both films actually shared the same intro, with its multi-coloured lava effect. Is that saying something about the budget, or did Cohen just liked it and wanted to reuse it again? These double features were intended to be release on Warner Brother video, but they got a small cinema release. Just a bit of trivia for you.

The production is pretty rough, which goes for disjointed editing and the shabby makeup and tacky effects. They might not be up to scratch, but in all, those certain aspects don't destroy the fun and heart of this flick. But one thing did stand out and that it was a well-shot picture. Daniel Pearl's (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) camera work ups the ante and a touch of professionalism. Sadly the score didn't have that approach, it was at times just a bit too much. Cohen might have executed some of the action scenes sluggishly, but that didn't dampen the reasonable thrills that flowed with some nice bloody moments and grubby make-up effects. Slow to get going, but when it kicks in, everything picks up with a sudden burst. What's a Cohen film without the trademark offbeat dialog and campy performances. The script was light on material, but the biting wit and maniac language shined through. The outrageous humour seems to be there to counter-punch the corny horror side of things. The flawed plot has some virtually impossible actions taken or done. But my attention was held throughout and I just went with things. I thought it had some incredibly intriguing ideas in the mix and bizarre aspects that pull you in. I was even thinking of 'The Howling', which the same idea is covered in this film. At least it wasn't a retread. Fine performances are heralded from the cast. Moriarity's versatility shows, and there's fun to be had when he's on screen. Also Samuel Fueller hams it up as a grisly old Nazi hunter and Andrew Duggan plays the Judge Axel with a touch of class and hidden menace. Ricky Addison Reed was painful as a foul mouth brat, Jeremy Weber. There's a notable performance from a very young Tara Reid too. What we get here is a dreary atmosphere that adds a nice pinch of satiric macabre, which kept me in a trance.

Addictively off the wall horror from Cohen, which might be too much for those who aren't into very cheap, campy b-grade horror.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Is it necessary to watch Salem's Lot first? yohumbug
DVD?!!! jmbell5
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