6.8/10
18,408
212 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
1,247 ( 97)

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

Photos

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Mason jumped at the chance of playing a servant of evil, loving the script. This was fortunate as he was producer Richard Kobritz's first choice for the role of Mr Straker. See more »

Goofs

The pry bar that Ned and Mike drop on the floor at the Marsten house changes positions between shots. See more »

Quotes

Straker: English
Ben Mears: [holding antique fork in hand] Georgian.
Straker: You have some expertise.
Ben Mears: No, not really. I just happen to know something about silver. My aunt had some Georgian and we had to sell it when she died.
Straker: What an unfortunate way to acquire knowledge.
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

Referenced in Horror Business (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Atmospheric adaptation
4 September 2003 | by ElswetSee all my reviews

Excellent horror flick from Tobe Hooper who gave us Poltergeist (that's Poltergeist 1, the GOOD one)...Lifeforce, Nightmares, The Mangler, Dark Skies, The Others, and so many more!

Written for TV by Paul Monash, screenwriter who adapted the marvelous TV series, "V," and directed by one of the Masters of Horror, Tobe Hooper, this movie (in the extended version) closely follows Stephen King's original literary work much better than expected.

While there are campy moments, and the effects could have been much, MUCH better (it WAS post-Star Wars, after all), there are edgy, frightening moments; moments where you literally hold your breath, if you've allowed yourself to be drawn into the movie. Riddled with "scare you" and "edge of the seat" moments, this film, while a bit dated, is still scary.

I previously owned the "cut" version which aired on cable in 1979.

In writing this review, I purchased the full-length version and I must say that I was delightfully surprised. This version was so much better, followed the original work more closely, and added the depth of character development which the "short" version completely obliterated.

In the wake of the remake to be aired in 2004, I thought a fresh viewing of this movie was in order, and so it was. If you have never seen "Salem's Lot" in its 184 minute presentation, please do. It's a classic in the horror genre and will enrich your perspective of the plot by 100%.

Suspenseful and actually scares you from time to time.

It rates an 8.4/10 from...

the Fiend :.


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