6.8/10
18,486
213 user 76 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
1,290 ( 202)

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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:

The ultimate in terror! 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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(uncut) | (DVD) | (TV) | (movie)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The studio interiors for the Marsten House cost the production $70,000 to construct. See more »

Goofs

At the Marsten house when Straker is taking his suits to constable's office, a camera & crew are reflected in the rear door, when Straker open it. See more »

Quotes

Jason Berk: [at a restaurant, asking Ben about his new novel] Marsten House still the centre of the story?
Ben Mears: Yep.
Jason Berk: How about the Glick boys? You connect them with the house?
Ben Mears: Everything in Salem's Lot is connected to that house. You can see it from every part of the town. It's like a beacon throwing off an energy force.
[Mike Ryerson stumbles against the table]
Jason Berk: Mike!
Mike Ryerson: [weakly] Hello, Mister Burke.
Jason Berk: Mike... are you on something?
Mike Ryerson: No.
Jason Berk: Drugs?
[...]
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

The VHS 1987 version omits the scene where Ben and Mark are in Mexico, and a vampirized Susan is laying down on a cot in a hut. Then, Ben enters the room and impales her in the chest with a wooden stake. See more »

Connections

References Frankenstein (1931) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Worth a Look
14 July 2000 | by BaronBl00dSee all my reviews

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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