Salem’s Lot

Well it took me 3 sittings over 3 days to finish this movie but I have finally done it. Salem’s Lot is a 1979 television adaptation of Stephen King’s 1975 novel of the same name. Directed by Tobe Hooper, the slightly over 3 hour film stars David Soul (Hutch from Starsky & Hutch), James Mason, Lance Kerwin, Bonnie Bedelia, Fred Willard & Lew Ayres.

The movie starts off in Guatemala where in a church a man and a young boy are filling small bottles with holy water and one of the bottles begins to glow – the man says “They have found us again!” Two years before author Ben Mears had come to the small town of his birth, Salem’s Lot, to write a book about the Marsten House, an old house on a hilltop that had a reputation for being haunted. Mears asks the local realtor about renting the house but is told that it has been sold. Another new arrival, mysterious Richard Stryker, has bought the home with his yet-to-appear partner Kurt Barlow. Stryker is opening an antique shop in the small town and is busy with preparations. Mears takes a room in a boarding lodge and soon meets and starts a romantic relationship with Susan Norton, a local school teacher. Mears settles in to write his book and also befriends Susan’s father Dr. Bill Norton and renews his old friendship with his former school teacher, Jason Burke. Mears confesses to Burke that he feels that the Marsten house is evil and that as a child, just before he and his family moved away, he felt a presence when near the house.

Meanwhile Stryker has a large crate delivered to the house – he arranges it with a truck & delivery man but the latter in turn delegates it to two other man as he himself is staking his own house, suspecting his wife who works for the realtor is cheating him. The men deliver the crate, which they find to be too cold to the touch, and leave the house. That night Stryker kidnaps a young boy who strayed away from his brother as they were returning home and leaves him to the crate. The boy  is declared missing but appears to his older brother Danny having been turned into a vampire and bites his brother and drains him of his blood. Initially both Mears and Straker are the main suspects as they are new in town but it is soon clear that some other force is at work here – the crate contains a master vampire Kurt Barlow! With the younger boy missing and the older one dead, the town has a funeral for Danny but he vamps and attacks the undertaker. The realtor is also attacked by Barlow. Danny then tries to attack his friend Mark Petrie; however, Mark is a horror film buff who manages to repel Danny with a crucifix. Slowly people start dying as more vampire are being made and only Mears & Burke try to find out what is happening. Jason Burke, however, falls prey to a heart attack following an encounter with the newly vampirised undertaker. Mears & Dr. Norton are attacked by Danny’s mother who was presumed dead and Mears uses a make shift crucifix to vanquish her.

Mark’s parents and the local priest Father Callahan are killed in Mark’s home but the boy escapes vowing to get revenge. Ben makes Susan promise to leave town with her mother the next day but she follows Mark into the Marsten house and both are caught by Stryker. While Mark is tied up Susan is taken to meet Barlow. Mears and Dr. Norton head over to the house to destroy Barlow when they run into Mark who has managed to escape. Inside the house, Dr. Norton is killed by Straker, who is himself then killed by Mears using a pistol. Afterwards, Mears and Petrie find Barlow’s coffin in the cellar and destroy him by driving a stake through his heart. They then lock up all the remaining vampires in a large room and set the house on fire but Susan is no where to be found. As the house burns, the wind begins to carry the fire towards the town itself. Mears and Petrie then flee Salem’s Lot knowing that the fire will drive all the other vampires from their hiding places and purify the town from the evil that has engulfed it but fear that some vampire might survive and want revenge and hence they leave to Guatemala. Then story then moves to the church where Mears & Mark are collecting holy water. The glow alerts them that a vampire in nearby and as they return to their lodgings, Ben finds Susan lying in his bed. Now a vampire, she prepares to bite him as he leans down to kiss her, but he drives a stake through her heart. Filled with grief, he and Petrie leave, knowing that vampires are still hunting them.

Although most consider this to be a classic I found it boring and severely lacking. The scenes in the house are eerie and good but I can’t say that I enjoyed this movie and the vampire was a joke. I had to only watch an hour at a time and took 3 days to watch it completely. 5 outta 10!

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