6.8/10
17,895
207 user 74 critic

Salem's Lot (1979)

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

Director:

Tobe Hooper

Writers:

Stephen King (novel), Paul Monash (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
1,305 ( 201)

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Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Soul ... Ben Mears
James Mason ... Richard K. Straker
Lance Kerwin ... Mark Petrie
Bonnie Bedelia ... Susan Norton
Lew Ayres ... Jason Burke
Julie Cobb ... Bonnie Sawyer
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Gordon 'Weasel' Phillips (as Elisha Cook)
George Dzundza ... Cully Sawyer
Ed Flanders ... Dr. Bill Norton
Clarissa Kaye-Mason ... Majorie Glick (as Clarissa Kaye)
Geoffrey Lewis ... Mike Ryerson
Barney McFadden Barney McFadden ... Ned Tebbets
Kenneth McMillan ... Constable Parkins Gillespie
Fred Willard ... Larry Crockett
Marie Windsor ... Eva Miller
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

A masterpiece of horror by the author of "Carrie" and "The Shining" See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 November 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Salem's Lot: The Movie See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD) | (uncut) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

As Cully and Larry enter the living room, a crew member and a boom mic are reflected in the mirror. See more »

Quotes

Mike Ryerson: Look at me, Teacher. Look!
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 »

Alternate Versions

DVD contains 183 minute version which is the complete mini-series. See more »

Connections

Referenced in One for the Road (2019) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

This is one of a handful of truly scary films
1 September 2003 | by VibianaSee 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.


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