Salem's Lot: The Movie (1979)


Directed by: Tobe Hooper

Written by: Paul Monash
Stephen King (Novel)


David Soul .... Ben Mears
James Mason .... Richard K. Straker
Lance Kerwin .... Mark Petrie
Bonnie Bedelia .... Susan Norton
Lew Ayres .... Jason Berk
Ed Flanders .... Dr. Bill Norton
Geoffrey Lewis .... Mike Ryerson
Julie Cobb .... Bonnie Sawyer
Elisha Cook Jr. .... Gordon Weasel Phillips
George Dzundza .... Cully Sawyer

Release Dates: Made-for-TV: November 17, 1979; Theatrical: September 10, 1980 (France); November 30, 1980 (Mexico); January 16, 1982 (Japan); April 29, 1982 (Colombia); October 27, 1983 (Argentina); Offscreen Film Festival: March 12, 2015 (Belgium)

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A novelist Ben Mears (David Soul) returns home to Salem's Lot after many years is disturbed by the strange behaviour of its people. He seems to be troubled by the eerie old Marsten House that overlooks to the town which is resided by a man Richard K. Straker (James Mason) in which is reportedly haunted.
Next thing he knows that people are disappearing, dying from odd causes as well as having bite marks and the locals are not knowing why this is all happening but some of them are being greeted by the disappearance of the people in which they are not the same anymore along with biting their victims on the neck as well as possessing them to come to them.
Ben must meet up his fears on the house and try to put a stop to Straker as well as the master residing in the house that is causing people's deaths and turning them into vampires one by one with some help by a teenage horror film fanatic Mark Petrie (Lance Kerwin) and the local Doctor Bill Norton (Ed Flanders).


Great close up shots on Ben Mears with his face sweating and a shot on an old house.
There's many nice romantic conversation sequences between him and Susan Norton with them making out which looked nice and natural.
We spot a nice camera shot looking up on Mark Petrie rehearsing for his highschool play and it looked strongly well done too.
A nice goofy discussion between Bonnie and Cully with them getting mushy with supporting character Larry Crockett there watching them and Cully in a goofy way warning him to keep his hands off of her as all of this looked nicely done.
There's a nice powerful discussion with Ben being upfront towards supporting character Ted Petrie in a restaurant telling him about vampires in Salem's Lot as it looked nice and serious and leaving a very good impression for the story.
A good moment with Mark along with his friends Danny and Ralphie discussing about ghouls and goblins which looked nice in the moment that it was taken on kids being kids enjoying the conversations on scary characters.
There's nice shots on both Danny and Ralphie walking in the forest and then the wind blowing with a good dark shadow attacking Ralphie.
We spot a nice moment with Cully loading his rifle and then breaking into his bedroom catching both Larry and Bonnie fooling around with her lying about him raping her which looked quite comedic showing that she's trying to protect her hyde and Willard getting instense to try and save himself telling him that he wasn't. There's also a nice close up shot with Dzundza in another room with her showing an evil grin and holding the rifle at him telling him where to point it acting cold and evil towards him which looked quite tense wondering what he's going to do. We also spot a nice shot on her running outside and a figure grabbing him which really makes you jump showing perfect timing.
There's a nice shot on Danny in bed and a shot on his window with mist rolling and then a good ghostly vampire figure of Ralphie circling around and tapping on the window which looked incredibly spooky with a good shot on Danny walking towards the window possessed to open it.
We spot another good similar moment with Ralphie in the hospital trying to stop himself from opening the window with Danny asking him to open it and then a good shot on Ralphie biting him on the neck.
There's a good shot with the main characters at the funeral and a preacher speaking the memorial. Plus, there's a perfect shot on Mike Ryerson looking at the burial as well as a camera shot looking up on him plus him being possessed to go to the burial and open the coffin. There's a good jumping moment with Ralphie in the coffin and rising up as a vampire biting him on the neck.
There's a nice moment with Ted approaching Mike and looking at the bite marks on his neck asking where they came from with a him acting out of it. Later on there's a good moment with Mike looking like a vampire and trying to attack Ted along with him trying to escape and then a good shot on him having a heart attack in a hallway and collapsing.
A good moment on Danny tapping at a window with Mark trying to stop himself from opening the window with tears in his eyes while Danny tries to tempt him to open the door while he screams at him to leave him alone as well as pointing a crucifix at him showing great terror and energy.
A nice setting with the Petrie's at a family table talking to the preacher about a problem on horror movies as well as Mark convincing to this preacher that he saw a vampire along with shots on a light flickering and exploding plus great shots on the room shaking with stuff breaking and a jumping moment on Kurt Barlow appearing and then grabbing both family members June and Ted's heads and smacking them together which looked a bit kooky and dark at the same time. There's also a good shot on Richard K. Straker standing in the room acting wicked towards everyone.
A good shot on Susan in the abandoned old house looking for Mark with the wind blowing in the house as well as good shots on him holding a stake trying to search for the head vampire with good creepy shots on dead animals displayed by a taxidermist.
There's a great shot on Richard picking up Dr. Bill Norton with a shot on him zooming in towards some antlers displayed on a wall.
A good shot on Ben opening up a coffin with Kurt sleeping in it and preparing to drive a stake at his heart with him suddenly opening his eyes and trying to attack which makes you jump and is very creepy as well as a good shot on Mark near a corner and in the background some vampires crawling up towards him.
Bottom line is that someone told me about this flick based on Stephen King's novel telling me it was creepy and great to watch if you're in the Halloween spirit. It was very creepy and probably the scariest made for tv movie I've ever seen with all the dark effects used in the film and how the vampires looked making it look like a cross between vampires or a possessed Regan from The Exorcist. Anyone who's scared of vampires and getting nightmares about it would wanna steer clear from this one it was so well done and probably the most original vampire film I've ever seen.
The head vampire Kurt Barlow very much resembled of those types during an old black and white vampire flick but still looked scary and effective too. Also we spot some nice scenery of the old abandoned house on Salem's Lot which almost resembles the Bates house in Psycho.
The story was different alltogether since Stephen King always makes his stories very orginal than any other horror flick.
The film was at first a mini-series but then it was credited as a movie in general which was 3 hours long. I don't like long movies but this one was very worth watching since the story is great from beginning to end. Well, the beginning was a wee bit slow but then the terror begins.

The acting is quite good but most of the acting can be forgettable since the story and direction did more justice. Former 70's TV star David Soul (Ben Mears) didn't seem to do anything special as a writer for the first half of the film but later on he did shows some great aggressions and intensity too. He proved himself to do a good job and showed good energy as well as nice fearful expressions.
James Mason
(Richard K. Straker) really brought off a devilish kind of charm to his role as a vampire in the flick almost having a Hitchcock type of attitude. He was very slick and knew how to speak coldly with his lines. A true character actor.
Lance Kerwin
(Mark Petrie) I found to be the best character in this film as he put everything into what he had to do. He made his part believeable as a typical teenager obsessed with horror films as well as doing well having a tough attitude on seeking revenge against the vampires in Salem's Lot. He does well weeping and being scared by all of what's happening.
Lew Ayres
(Jason Berk) seemed to really grab attention to the screen as a local drunk and showing good timing with his humor on set.
Ed Flanders
(Dr. Bill Norton) brought a great seriousness to his part of the film as a father who cares for his daughter and had the right looks too for the fatherly part in the film to add to his credit in what he had to do for the story. He knew how to play a good doctor which was a nice key role by watching this flick.
Julie Cobb
(Bonnie Sawyer) showed great characteristics as a cheating wife in the flick acting wild and crazy really bringing it on in which she will be remembered at least for the acting on this film although her part isn't huge.
George Dzundza
(Cully Sawyer) who played the husband was another terrific character actor acting obnoxious and very coldlike with his words as well as acting goofy at the same time. He portrayed a good typical redneck drunken slob.
It's a shame that neither of these two supporting actors didn't have more time on this flick since they both brought out alot to the story.

Antlers next to a wall are impaled in a guy's chest.

There's terrific suspenseful classical music for the film especially the low bass violin sounds as well as the high pitched music too for when the terror occurs. We also hear the odd chiming sounds when the people turn into vampires and tempting to enter a window of a house which really gives you chills as well as the beating of a drum during the odd moments of the story all done by Harry Sukman.