Thursday, October 21, 2010

Salem's Lot: A Macabre Delight

Horror movies are one of the most difficult genres to pull off successfully with audiences today. There are so many horror movies being made today and most of them are terribly written and unoriginal. Many of the best horror movies ever made were based on novels or short stories written by the "King of Horror" himself, Stephen King.

My next movie recommendation for this month is Salem’s Lot which is based on Stephen King’s second novel. Salem’s Lot aired as a television miniseries in 1979 frightening millions right in their own living rooms. Salem’s Lot is a deeply engrossing story that unfolds exactly as if you were reading a book. The pace of the movie for today’s audience may seem slow, but the slower pace allows time to weave intricate relationships between key players of the story and creates a ripple like effect as the suspense of the movie increases.

Salem’s Lot is a story about author Ben Mears who returns to his childhood town to write a book on the infamous Marsten House, a 19th Century Gothic mansion that has haunted Ben since his childhood. The Marsten House was once occupied by child rapist and murderer Hubert Marsten who mysteriously died in the house. Upon Ben's arrival, he discovers that the house was recently purchased by two antique dealers, Straker and Barlow. Acclaimed British actor James Mason, who played Brutus in the 1953 production of Julius Caesar, delivers a stunning and eerie performance as Straker.

Not long after Ben's arrival, a child goes missing in Salem's Lot while another is admitted to the hospital for pernicious anemia (severe blood loss) and dies. Others soon go missing and soon the town of Salem's lot seems to be dying off to some mysterious plague. As bodies go missing from morgues and cemeteries, Ben believes the source of the evil that has succumbed Salem's Lot lies in the Marsten House and its evil tenants Straker and Mr. Barlow, whom no one has ever seen.

Salem's Lot is a truly terrifying Gothic horror movie that is reminiscent of Bram Stroker's Dracula. What it lacks in special effects and gore, it makes up in suspense and atmosphere.

Click here to view movie trailer:

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you that the 1979 version was hands down the best. Actually, it was one of the best TV mini-series made. Stephen King's books are not always made into good movies -- I liked "The Shining" with Jack Nicholson, but you couldn't say it was really King's book, so much was completely changed. The TV version of The Shining following the book well, but I thought the casting was bad in some key roles, particularly that of the little boy. That kid irritated me so much that I felt like smacking him around myself! (Shame on me.) The one book of King's that I thought was done really well in movies is "The Dead Zone." Christopher Walken and the rest of the cast were terrific. "Carrie" and "Christine" were good. I've seen some of his short stories done that were just awful -- "Trucks", "Graveyard Shift", "Lawnmower Man" -- yuck.

    Salem's Lot was done beautifully. I'd like to watch it again, and I know you have it, so look for me to come borrow it!