Salem’s Lot (1979)
Written By: DMG
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Tobe Hooper
Producer: Stirling Dale Silliphant
Screenplay: Paul Monash
Novel: Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot
Date Released: November 24, 1979 (est.)
David Soul as Ben Mears
James Mason as Richard Straker
Lance Kerwin as Mark Petrie
Bonnie Bedelia as Susan Norton
Lew Ayres as Jason Burke
Ed Flanders as Bill Norton
Fred Willard as Larry Crockett
Julie Cobb as Bonnie Sawyer
Rating = 3.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Salem’s Lot Is about an author named Ben who goes to Jerusalem’s lot also known as Salem’s Lot to write a book on the Marsden house. During his visit, he notices that people are disappearing and dying. Unsure of the strange murders, he along with law enforcement try to uncover who is behind these crimes. But, the true question is not who committed these crimes but what committed these crimes. Soon he is faced with a truth that is both unbelievable and even crazy.
Salem’s Lot does not contain any Blood or gore. When a person is attacked by a vampire, for instance, many of these scenes are suggestive and allow the audience to use their imagination rather than utilize visuals. There are also a number of scenes which incorporate jump scares and for a 1970s film, these scenes are still very effective. Lastly, the make up for the vampires are very icon and classic looking.
The Grave Review
The first thing that you will notice about Salem’s Lot (1979) is that the film is three hours and four minutes long. So if you plan on watching this film, you should be prepared for a long night. What you will notice also with this film is how the scenes were shot and the editorial choices which were made. Salem’s Lot almost feels like it was shot for TV rather than the theatre. This is evidenced by the fact that there are abrupt scenes which would fade to black and leave a nice segway to incorporate commercials. The best way to describe Salem’s Lot is a 1970s TV show with vampires.
The story, itself, is fairly simple, a series of murders transgress. What drives the story is the mystery behind the disappearances which are occurring in the town of Salem’s Lot. Each character has their own backstory. But what is frustrating is that not every character that is introduced has any real significance to the story. For example, the constable (I.e. the officer) investigates the murders but then leaves town. In another example, an old man consistently sits in town but is then never seen again nor is there a suggestion of what happened to him. Lastly, a wife who is cheating on her husband is caught by the husband in which they too leave town. These characters had a side story and then became insignificant later in the film. In this way, there was a lot of excessive and unnecessary scenes which did not have to be a part of the film.
The acting was respectable and fitting for a 1970s film. Despite the fact that the pace of the film was very slow, the film is entertaining and classic. There are some cinematic errors throughout the film but Salem’s Lot can be considered a cult classic to many horror fans.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Salem’s Lot (1979) three and a half graves out of five graves.
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