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Salem's Lot 

PG | | Horror | TV Series (1979)
1:03 | Trailer
A novelist and a young horror fan attempt to save a small New England town which has been invaded by vampires.
1,640 ( 107)




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



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Complete series cast summary:
David Soul ...  Ben Mears unknown episodes


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


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




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

17 November 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Salem's Lot: The Movie See more »


Box Office


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

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The miniseries ends at the small town of Ximico, Guatemala. The town actually doesn't exist. See more »


When Mark goes to the Marsten house to kill Barlow, he pulls out two lock picks from a small case in order to break in. Then he clearly inserts the handle of one pick into the padlock, rather than the toothed end. See more »


Mike Ryerson: [Mike is describing his nightmarish dreams after falling asleep at Harmony Hill Cemetery] I dreamed...
Ben Mears: You slept there all night?
Mike Ryerson: Yeah... All night.
Jason Berk: What about last night?
Mike Ryerson: I remember... a dream.
[gestures with his hand]
Mike Ryerson: Somebody... out there. And I... let him in.
Ben Mears: [engrossed] Who?
Mike Ryerson: [weakly] I don't know.
Jason Berk: Listen to me, Mike. Mike?
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

Broadcast on network TV in the United States to fill a 200 minutes time slot; later cut to 150 minutes. An alternate 112 minutes cable-TV cut was released theatrically in Europe and is available on video in the USA. The 112 minute version contains an altered scene of Cully Sawyer threatening Larry Crockett with a shotgun. Larry holds the shotgun barrel in his mouth, though in the mini-series he holds the barrel in front of his face. There is also an extended scene of Bill Norton impaled on antlers. Also, Salem's Lot: The Movie has some different music from the mini-series version. See more »


Referenced in Post Mortem with Mick Garris: Tobe Hooper (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Bathed in eerie portents
20 October 2011 | by chaos-rampantSee all my reviews

This is one of the most richly atmospheric films in horror, an article of pure latenight seduction and phosphorescent darkness.

Atmospheric not in the sense that a dry ice machine has pumped a catacomb full of haze and cobwebs are strategically placed in some dark corner, but as a place lived, with naturally dark corners and tangible portents: the old dark house on the hill breathing evil, the antique shop downtown, all velvety smell and musty colors, the small town lined with porticoes bathed in the quiet of a lazy night, yet harboring secrets and vice from inside. Prying eyes staring from behind a curtain.

Oh, at some point vampires come flying through the window, and it's still fine by me, it's one of the better vampire films and at 3 hours it's better fleshed than most of them; but I am just not attuned to the whole vampire lore so I leave this part to be enjoyed best by the traditional horror fan. It is actually one of the more potent retellings of the most familiar story in this field, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was not quite Dracula but that older film with longer shadows, so I will not spoil the discovery for you.

But the first part intrigues me in stranger ways, more suggestive, with menace that goes unspoken. The small-town facade that would later resurface in Twin Peaks.

There is a notion that matters in all this, but which is not pursued at all; the writer who feels from his perspective that it was his presence that awakened evil, it's fitting that it's coming from a writer because it's a self-centered, imaginative notion, but which from our end we know is bogus. Evil was already afoot, and was never centered around him. But he wistfully imagines himself at the center so he can write about it.

So I don't know what happened with Tobe Hooper. He was never very elegant with a camera, the way Argento was or occasionally Carpenter, but he was unmatched in his feel for the aural qualities of film. He could make a room hum with evil. My guess is that, being an intuitive maker, the feel came and went, or he forgot how to tap into it (you can see as early as Eaten Alive how he seems to be desperately trying to capture again the muse that gave him Texas Massacre). Or he plainly stopped actively chasing after the right material.

This was just right for him. Only Kubrick has better adapted Stephen King to my mind.

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