Salem's Lot
Salem's Lot (1979).jpg
Title: Salem's Lot
Directed by: Tobe Hooper
Written by: Paul Monash
Produced by: Stirling Silliphant
Richard Kobritz
Anna Cottle
Music by: Harry Sukman
Cinematography: Jules Brenner
Edited by: Tom Pryor; Carroll Sax
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Television; CBS
Released: November 17th, 1979
Rating: PG
Running time: 184 min.
Country: USA
Language: English
Budget: $4,000,000
Next: A Return to Salem's Lot

Salem's Lot is a television miniseries of the horror genre with an emphasis on vampire fiction. It is based on the 1975 novel Salem's Lot by author Stephen King. The miniseries was directed by Tobe Hooper with a screenplay written by Paul Monash. It was produced by Warner Bros. Television and aired on CBS on November 17th, 1979, and November 24th, 1979.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Ben Mears returns to Salem's Lot.

Novelist Ben Mears returns to his home town of Salem's Lot, Maine, not having lived there since he was ten-years-old. He returns under the premise of writing a book about a local landmark known as the Marsten House - a decrepit manor located just on the edge of town.

Ben rents a room at a boarding house owned by Eva Miller, having been referred there by a local realtor named Larry Crockett. Unbeknownst to Ben, but Larry is having an affair with his assistant "Boom-Boom" Bonnie Sawyer - wife of a local trucker named Cully Sawyer.

Ben learns that the Marsten House has a new tenant - a 58-year-old British man named Richard K. Straker, who opens up a new antiques shop with his noticeably absent business partner, Kurt Barlow.

Ben meets and art teacher named Susan Norton, who also happens to be a fan of his books. Ben asks her to dinner, and Susan invites him back to her place for a meal with her family. She warns Ben about a jealous ex-boyfriend named Ned Tebbets.

The Marsten House.

Before long, strange things begin occurring in Salem's Lot. Straker makes an arrangement with Larry Crockett to have two men, Mike Ryerson and Ned Tebbets, pick up a large crate from a wharf and transport it to the basement of the Marsten House under the cover of night. Tebbets doesn't care for the job, noting that the crate is uncommonly cold. They quickly deliver the crate, but forego locking up the cellar of the house. Straker returns home soon after to find that the crate has been demolished.

Strange events continue to unfold. Mike Ryerson's dog, Faithful, is killed at the cemetery where he works. A boy named Ralphie Glick disappears. Soon after, his brother Danny Glick falls ill and dies. Larry Crockett is found dead in his car, shortly after being ousted from the Sawyer house after Cully found him in bed with his wife.

Mike Ryerson is found stumbling into a restaurant in stupor. He complains of feeling ill, and is speaking incoherently. A teacher named Jason Burke takes note of two strange marks on his neck. After conferring with Ben Mears, they determine that some element of the supernatural appears to be haunting Salem's Lot, and the Marsten House seems to be at the center of it all.

Ben meets Richard Straker

The vampire of Ralphie Glick, having already claimed the life of his brother, now goes after his older friend, Mark Petrie. Mark is a horror movie fanatic however, and knows to ward Raphie off with a crucifix.

Ben tries to convince Doctor Norton that Salem's Lot is infected by vampires. He urges Susan Norton to leave town and go to Boston. Shortly thereafter, Susan's ex-boyfriend, Ned Tebbets, attacks Ben Mears for dating Susan. Ben is hospitalized with a mild concussion and Ned is arrested and thrown in jail.

Shortly thereafter, the master vampire Kurt Barlow kills Ned Tebbets in jail, and turns him into a vampire. Barlow also kills grieving Marjorie Glick, kills Mark Petrie's parents, and has a "Faith vs. Faith" battle with Father Callahan, in which he proves victorious.

Ben wanders through the hospital and makes his way to the morgue, where the undead Margjorie Glick rises from the table. He manages to keep her at bay by taping two tongue depressors together in the shape of a cross. He places the cross on Marjorie's forehead and she disintegrates.

Marjorie Glick rises from the dead.

The following day, Susan Norton goes to the Marsten House, where she finds a revenge-driven Mark Petrie, seeking Barlow's coffin so he can destroy him. Susan warns Mark to go home, but he is adamant about seeing this through to the end. As they wander the dark catacombs of the mansion, they are both apprehended by Richard Straker.

As dusk approaches, Ben Mears convinces Bill Norton to accompany him to the Marsten House to kill Kurt Barlow. The two are separated as they explore the corridors of the house. Straker emerges and kills Norton by impaling him on multiple sets of deer antlers on the wall. Straker then descends the main staircase where he discovers that Ben has found Mark Petrie. Ben shoots Straker multiple times, but it takes a lot to put him down. Ultimately however, he falls over dead.

Crazy-ass Barlow.

Ben and Mark descend into the cellar of the house. Mark finds a root cellar with a padlock and correctly deduces that this is where Barlow keeps his coffin. They break open the locked board and find the coffin as well as the inactive bodies of all of Barlow's other vampires. They drag the coffin out into the main cellar just as the sun begins to die down. Ben Mears opens the coffin and repeatedly pounds a wooden stake into Barlow's heart multiple times until he finally disintegrates. Ben and Mark keep the other vampires locked in the root cellar, trapping them as they set the house ablaze. The Marsten House begins burning to the ground, but there is no sign of Susan Norton.

Two years pass and Ben Mears and Mark Petrie have been traveling the world searching for vampires. They end up at a small church in Guatamala where they find that Susan Norton - now a vampire, has been residing. She tries to seduce Ben, but he manages to shake off her vampiric mesmerism and plunges a stake into her heart. The victory is bittersweet, and Ben and Mark leave the church, knowing that there are still other vampires out there who will come after them.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The tagline for this film is "The ultimate in terror!"
  • There are a total of twenty-four credited cast members in this film.
  • A sequel film, titled A Return to Salem's Lot, was produced in 1987, and received limited theatrical release. It was written and directed by Larry Cohen. Promotional material showcased Reggie Nalder as Kurt Barlow, though Nalder had no direct involvement in the movie, and the Barlow character was never used.
  • Prior to A Return to Salem's Lot, a previous sequel project had been announced, which was going to be produced by Richard Kobritz and airing on NBC, but the project was cancelled before any pre-production could be made. [2]
  • The main character in this film is a novelist. Is anyone at all surprised by this? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

See also[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Salem's Lot: Then and Now (December, 2017); Ian S. Bolton. Wolverhampton, United Kingdom.
  2. Classic Horror Film Board; "Films that never saw the light of day..."; January 1st, 2008.

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