Wednesday, January 29, 2014

'Salem's Lot, by Stephen King

(pb; 1975)

From the back cover:

"The town knew darkness. . . but no one dared talk about the high, sweet, evil laughter of a child. . . and the sucking sounds. . ."


'Salem's Lot  is an excellent, hard-to-put-down 'Old School' (if sometimes chatty) horror novel that effectively channels the slow-build, multilayered dread and gut-wrenching terror of  Bram Stoker's novel Dracula and late Sixties/early Seventies Hammer films, which are obvious (and stated) influences on Lot.  The characters are interesting and relatable, with their interlocking small-town histories and reactions to Straker and Barlow's insidious takeover of their town and its surrounding area.

Great read, this - worth owning.

Side-note: two of King's stories ("Jerusalem's Lot" and "One for the Road") from his anthology Night Shift are loosely linked to this novel.


This novel spawned two television films and one cinematic sequel.

The first television film, which aired stateside on November 17, 1979, was directed by Tobe Hooper.  Paul Monash wrote the teleplay.

David Soul played Ben Mears.  Lance Kerwin played Mark Petrie.  James Mason played Richard K. Straker.  An uncredited Reggie Nalder played Kurt Barlow.

Bonnie Bedelia played Susan Norton.  Geoffrey Lewis played Mike Ryerson.  Lew Ayres played Jason Burke.  Elisha Cook Jr., billed as Elisha Cook, played Gordon "Weasel" Phillips.  George Dzunda played Cully Sawyer.  Kenneth McMillan played Constable Parkins Gillespie.  Fred Willard played Larry Crockett.


Larry Cohen directed and co-scripted its theatrical sequel, A Return to 'Salem's Lot, released stateside in May 1987.  James Dixon, who played Rains, was Cohen's writing partner.

Michael Moriarty played Joe Weber.  Ricky Addison Reed played Jeremy Weber.  Samuel Fuller played Van Meer.  Andrew Duggan played Judge Axel.  Evelyn Keyes played Mrs. Axel.  Tara Reid played Amanda. June Havoc played Aunt Clara.  Ronee Blakley played Sally.


The second television film, based on the original novel, aired stateside on June 20, 2004.  It was directed by Mikael Salomon.  Peter Filardi wrote the teleplay.

Rob Lowe played Ben Mears.  Dan Byrd, billed as Daniel Byrd, played Mark Petrie.  Donald Sutherland played Richard Straker.  Rutger Hauer played Kurt Barlow.  Samantha Mathis played Susan Norton.  Andre Braugher played Matt Burke.  James Cromwell played Father Donald Callahan.  Christopher Morris played Mike Ryerson.  Robert Grubb played Larry Crockett. 

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