Total Pageviews

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Salem's Lot

     Tobe Hooper directs the 1979 made-for-TV movie based on Stephen King's grand opus of horror, and for the most part stays true to the nightmarish novel.  King's story of writer Ben Mears, who returns home to his sleepy childhood hometown in New England and finds it overrun with vampires, is already a great story. With the overwhelming success of "Carrie",  adapting this one seemed a no-brainer.  This is one of the most well-known made-for-TV movies ever made- it was even nominated for 3 Emmys. Originally broadcast as a two-part mini-series, the movie was a ratings smash.

      "Salem's Lot" gave me many nightmares as a kid.  Many.  They were (and still are, if you ask me...) the scariest vampires I'd ever seen, especially the lead vampire, Barlow.  The look of Barlow was obviously based on "Nosferatu", and he's very frightening indeed.  "Salem's Lot" offers many terrifying scenes, but one of the all-time creepiest is the one with the boy vampire floating outside Mark's window, scratching and begging to be let in......  absolutely horrifying.

     The movie has such great atmosphere- it's one of the movies strong points, for sure.  It also lays the tension on so thick from the beginning that by the time we actually see the head vampire, we're already scared to death.  The terror in "Salem's Lot" unfolds slowly and deliberately...building gloomy and downright unnerving tension all the way. There's no humor to lighten up the mood whatsoever, it's pretty much straight-forward horror.  Being 1979, and made for television,  there are a few campy moments sprinkled throughout, but "Salem's Lot" is still the stuff of nightmares.  It takes itself very seriously... it's not trying to be hip or snide whatsoever.  It's trying to be nothing more than SCARY- and it pretty much succeeds.

      This isn't Anne Rice- full of melancholy longing and romanticism.  It's not "Blade"- full of vampires spouting sarcastic one-liners and choreographed martial arts.  And it certainly isn't "Twilight"- these vampires only want one thing, and it's definitely not love...  They are SCARY, and I've yet to see a more frightening vampire on film.  "Salem's Lot" has plenty of nicely crafted scare sequences and a great, moody score.  This is classic horror, kids.

     Keep your 'tween vampires- this is still one of the best vampire movies of all time.  As great as the movie is,  I recommend reading the excellent book first.  It's second only to Bram Stoker's "Dracula" as one of the greatest vampire novels of all time, and Tobe Hooper did an excellent job of bringing it to life visually.   If you're going to watch it, and why wouldn't you- make sure you watch it in it's complete uncut form- not the edited version!  Trust me on this!

No comments:

I in no way claim ownership of any image or video used on this blog.