SALEM’S LOT (1979)
Article 5410 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Tobe Hooper
Featuring David Soul, James Mason, Lance Kerwin
What it is: Stephen King two-part TV-Movie
A writer returns to his home town to write a book about an eerie old house in the town, only to discover that a real evil has moved into the house…
For the record, I just finished watching the complete three hour version of this TV-Movie that ran over two nights when it was first shown. There’s a 107 minute version out there, and I’m still wondering if I might not have been better off watching that one; not to slight the full version, but it’s a bit on the strenuous side to watch in one sitting. Furthermore, I’m not sure that a whole lot of the essence would be gone in a shorter version; there are quite a few subplots and smaller story arcs that could have been removed, though they do help flesh out the longer version. I’ve read the original Stephen King novel, but it’s been quite a while since I’ve done so, but the movie more or less feels rather faithful to the book. The movie ties the “evil place” template with the standard vampire tale, and the movie is a solid, well-acted piece of work. Granted, in comparison to some of Tobe Hooper’s earlier work, this one is pretty tame, but I do like that the interior of the Marston house at least partially recalls the interior of the house in THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. There are lots of familiar faces in this one; outside those listed above, we have Lew Ayres, Fred Willard, Marie Windsor, (not near enough of) Elisha Cook, Jr., and the ever popular Reggie Nalder as the vampire. All in all, it’s a good adaptation of the work, though I suspect that if I wanted to experience the story again, I’d opt for re-reading the King novel.