Salems Lot title

Tag line : The ultimate in terror...

Salems LotOriginally filmed as a 2-part TV movie, Salem's Lot stars David Soul (ol' Hutch from cult 70's cop show "Starsky & Hutch") as writer Ben Mears. A troubled author, who's returned to his home town to work on his new novel.

Mears has an interest in the old Marston House, a dilapidated old mansion which stands overlooking the town. The house has something of a bad history, as all it's previous owners have been linked to a string of murders and disappearances. But despite having stood empty for the last 20 odd years, the locals still go out of their way to avoid it and this is to be the focus of his new book.

By some strange co-incidence, Mears finds that someone has recently just moved into the old property. This turns out to be a mysterious antiques dealer named Richard Straker (played by veteran British actor James Mason), who has bought the house with his business partner, a man named Barlow.

However, shortly afterwards, Mears is alarmed to discover that since their arrival, people in the town have started to go missing. Then, other townsfolk have fallen mysteriously ill and died. And if all that wasn't enough, their bodies started disappearing from the morgue.

It soon becomes apparent that evil forces are at work, the local Sheriff is certainly spooked by the recent occurrences, but vampires are just creatures of legend aren't they?

Whilst the film does look a little dated now, having been filmed back in the late 70's, this is still an excellent and chilling vampire tale. I remember seeing this one on TV when I was younger and was scared to death by the "Nosferatu" like vampire preying on the locals.

The film has been released in both its original 183min TV running time and in a cut down 112min version, which was released to European cinemas. The longer version is worth watching as it fills in a lot of back story and sub plots, however fans of modern day horrors may find this version a bit "lengthy". The film spawned a sequel in the late 80's and a remake in 2004. Though neither were as good as the original.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Salem's Lot had started life as a theatrical feature, but then Warner Bros decided to film it as a TV movie for the US networks. However, the individual episodes where later spliced together and edited down for a theatrical release in Europe.

  • The film's budget was $4,000,000.

  • The vampire was played by European actor Regie Nalder, who also played the Albino in "Mark of the Devil".

  • George Romero was originally hired to direct, but dropped out when Warner Bros said they would be turning the film into a TV movie.

  • The vampire make up appears to be based on the look of the vampire from the 1922 film "Nosferatu". In Stephen King's original novel though, the vampire appeared human and spoke, rather than being a hissing monster.

  • Tobe Hooper was offered the directors job after producer Richard Kobritz saw "Texas Chainsaw Massacre".

  • The US TV movie runs for 183mins. The European theatrical version runs at 112mins, which misses out a lot of dialogue, but contains an alternate take of Cully Sawyer threatening Larry with the shotgun, in which he puts it in his mouth instead of against his head. There was also a longer take of the scene where Bill Norton is impaled on a set of antlers and different musical cues were used throughout.

  • There was talk of a Salem's Lot TV series which would have followed on from the film, however the project was never developed.

Extra Info.

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