On the one hand, the
version of SALEM'S LOT is based on one of King's best novels in which a
small town in Maine becomes exponentially overrun by vampires, and
features the great James Mason in one of his last roles, a dapper and
obviously evil antiques dealer. The head vampire, played by
Reggie Nalder, is an effective copy of Orlok from the silent classic
NOSFERATU, and director Tobe Hooper (THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE,
keeps things moving throughout the 3-hour running time.
On the other hand, SALEM'S LOT reminds you that there was a time when David Soul was one of our biggest stars, so big he even managed to have a hit single ("Don't Give Up On Us, Baby") that people still remember with the kind of horror that this movie is supposed to evoke. The young Lance Kerwin may remind you of nothing, unless you, like me, were a huge fan of his intelligent TV drama series James at 15, soon renamed James at 16 and then canceled before the poor boy could reach shaving age.
If you find '70s television cheesy (and let's face it, much of it was), you may not care care for SALEM'S LOT, which has an undeniable 1970's TV vibe to it. But if you love that decade, SALEM'S LOT will be a funhouse of horrors. ½ - JB