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Salem's Lot

List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Youssef Kdiry | posted January 5, 2000 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:
Based on Stephen King's scary 1975 novel, "Salem's Lot" was shot as a 3-hour miniseries that aired (over 2 nights) on network TV in 1979. Directed by genre great Tobe Hooper ("Texas Chainsaw Massacre") and starring David Soul (TV's "Starsky & Hutch"), the late, great James Mason ("Heaven Can Wait"), the late Lew Ayres ("All's Quiet On The Western Front"), Geoffrey Lewis (plenty of Eastwood movies; father of actress Juliette Lewis) and Bonnie Bedelia (Die Hard 1-2), "Salem's Lot" is one of the scariest MFTV movies ever. Presented on DVD in its full 3-hour running time (which was later edited into a tight 112-minute movie for international release), it is still a treat (albeit an outdated one). In a casket-shell, here's the plot: Vampires have settled into the quiet town of Jerusalem's Lot, Maine (film was actually shot in Northern CA). Writer Ben Mears (Soul) returns to his hometown to write about an evil house. He encounters evil with James Mason's Straker, human assistant to Nosferatu-looking vampire Kurt Barlow (Reggie Nalder). Soon, residents start dropping like flies and re-emerging as bloodsuckers. It's up to Ben and the several others left to stop the vampires. They do, but are the vampires truly dead?

The Picture:
Since it is a TV-movie, "Salem's Lot" was shot (and is presented) in its proper 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The movie's cinematography is dark and murky, but the actual transfer is particularly well-done. Warner Bros. gets better by every DVD they release.

The Sound:
Much like several Kiubrick titles, "Salem's Lot" is in 1.0 mono. It sounds just as good as it probably did 20 years ago.

The Extras:
What extras? Hah hah! The international trailer is the only supplement here, folks (although it is a pretty decent one at that). What it could've used was a possible featurette and/or a commentary track by King himself or even Tobe Hooper. Oh well!

Conclusion:
All in all, the best thing about "Salem's Lot" the DVD is the fact that we are given the entire mini-series (all 183 mins.) on one disc. Also, the horror content still holds up after two decades. The only other Stephen King MFTV that is just as terrifying is "The Stand." But that is another story...

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