Horror Movie: Salem’s Lot (1979 TV Miniseries; 3 hours)

I found in my collection an old VHS tape of this movie which appeared on TV in 1979, and which used to terrify me. Based on a book by one of my favorite authors (Stephen King) and starring three of my favorite actors from the time period (David Soul, Lance Kerwin and James Mason), I just had to watch it again.

David Soul stars as a Ben Mears, a writer who returns to his hometown of Salem’s Lot, Maine, to discover some creepy, weird things are going on. Mears wants to write about the old Marston House in town, a purportedly haunted house where Mason (as Richard Straker) is living while preparing to open an antiques store with a colleague, an always-absent partner named Barlow.

Now, it seems young boys have been disappearing from Salem’s Lot for years, but people don’t seem to be too worked up about it. Weird. When a local boy once again goes missing, and other townsfolk begin dying off (or “not-dying” off), Mears and a local kid named Mark Petrie figure out that Barlow is really an ancient vampire and Straker is mixed up in helping him to “relocate” to Salem’s Lot.

Much killing and biting and mayhem ensue, plus we get to see what a Master Vampire looks like (picture this: white, glowing eyes, gray skin on an elongated skull, disgusting teeth and claw-like hands). Can Mark and Ben kill off the vampires and escape their evil clutches? Or will they too become one of the undead in Salem’s Lot? Only VHS can tell…

  • Top Scare: Vampire scene
  • Heartbeats: 3 1/4 out of 5
  • Gore Factor: 1 3/4 out of 5
  • Suspense Factor: 3 3/4 out of 5
  • Recommended for: 13 and up, due to the aftermath of a bedroom scene

Next up: The Orphanage

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