So you like vampires eh? I mean real vampires, not foppish impotent shiny ones. The kind of vampires that lure you in with their air of effortless hyper-sexuality only to murder you by tearing at your throat in a grisly fashion. I thought you might. Fortunately we seem to be getting a return to the vampire as either dark anti-hero badass or unscrupulous murdering bastard instead of the poster boy for abstinence. Vampirism has no place in Mormonism and vice versa, and I sincerely hope that Stephanie Meyer and the other “Twi-Hards” (and more than a few True Blood fans) meet a real vampire one day.
Anyhow, the 1970’s saw some great additions to modern vampire lore. It saw the release of Anne Rice’s seminal Interview With A Vampire (later adapted into an excellent vehicle for Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise in the 90’s, buying into the Goth subculture of the time) as well as Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot. I first read ‘Salem’s Lot this past summer and I absolutely loved it. It was a magnificent piece of writing, and I had always heard that the movie version was worth the watch.
Whoever had told me that was a dirty liar. At around three hours long, Salem’s Lot takes a few names and plot points from the book and the butchers the rest. You’d think that horror guru Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist) would be able to save even a script as sub-par as this, but alas even his eye for unsettling cinematography and mise-en-scene could do little in making this an enjoyable movie.
King himself has said that the story of ‘Salem’s Lot is an updated retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. And the parallels are very easy to spot, in the book. In the movie we’re given half formed subplots, little motivation behind characters actions, and a pace that rushes through the development of any real relationships between them.
There are some good atmospheric moments, but they are few and far between, and the end vampire, Mr. Barlow, looks like a cheesy B-movie monster (which makes sense as this was made for TV) and compared to the smooth talking handsome gentleman version of Mr. Barlow in the book, seems to fall completely flat as a villain.
The movie of Salem’s Lot is to the book of ‘Salem’s Lot as the movie Nosferatu was to the book Dracula. That is to say, a complete knock off. However, Nosferatu retains the charm, excitement, and danger of Dracula, but the movie version of ‘Salem’s Lot has no such redeeming qualities. Feel free to skip this one kids.
Written By Fil Vester
Daily Vidette Blogger