After a deadly plague kills most of the world's population, the remaining survivors split into two groups - one led by a benevolent elder and the other by a maleficent being - to face each other in a final battle between good and evil.
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
After the mini-series aired on CBS with excellent ratings there was talk of continuing it as a regular television series for a while. The idea of making Salem's Lot a TV show never materialized though. See more »
Straker tells Crockett to have Mike and Ned padlock all the doors on the Marsten house after they deliver the "sideboard", and to leave all the keys to the locks on the basement table. Crockett never stops to think to ask Straker how Straker would have gained entry to the house had this been done. See more »
[reading from Ben Mear's typewritten page]
The house was a monument to evil sitting there all these years holding the essence of evil in its smoldering bones.
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The text of the opening credits appear and dissolve piece by piece into each other in a jigsaw puzzle fashion. See more »
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 »
First let me suggest to see the original miniseries version if at all possible. The "movie" version is horribly chopped. The remaining pieces don't fit together and leave gaping holes (such as, "what happened to Susan?")
Salem's Lot is an almost unknown milestone in horror films. This superb combination of the talents of Tobe Hooper and Stephen King bridges the gap between the Hammer-style films of the 60's and the modern vampire films. Two things to especially note:
(1) This takes place in Everytown, USA and the cinematography reflects the ordinary turned extraordinary (which is the same effect achieved by Bram Stoker's original writing for the audience of his time.) It begins looking almost like a Rockford Files episode and goes dark from there. But even the climax in the evil Marsten house looks *real*, just as you would imagine an old decrepit house to look. You can almost smell the dust. Hey, this was the seventies, the decade of naturalistic lighting. Everything coming out of Hollywood now looks just that - like Hollywood.
(2) It is a shame that anyone today viewing Salem's Lot already knows that is about vampires because when it first aired on TV, the unknown aspect is what made the first half so creepy. Now you just sit there waiting for the vampires to show up. (If I thought that even one person might read this without knowing it was about vampires, I wouldn't write this.) The advertising for the show made no mention of vampires and the effect worked well. I was ten years old when I first saw this. I had seen at least a dozen other vampire flicks - Noseratu, Lugasi, the Hammer films - and I had no clue that this was about vampires. All I knew was that something creepy was going in this town and it was getting creepier and creepier. Only in the second episode when you see someone get bit in the neck did it finally click, "Oh my god, they're vampires." You realize it right about the same time that the main characters do. Highly effective.
Also, superb performances by David Soul, Lew Ayres, James Mason.
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