Movie Review: 'SALEM'S LOT (2004)Warner Bros. Television

“Town looks a little dead today.”

Ben Mears, a writer returns to the small Maine town of Jerusalem’s Lot (also known as Salem’s Lot), where he spent the first few years of his life, to write a book. Little does he or the townfolk realize that a couple of other new residents are coming…Straker, a antiques dealer, and his partner and master Barlow, a ancient and malevolent vampire bent on making Salem’s Lot his new home.

This version of ‘Salem’s Lot is a two-part cable TV miniseries adaptation of the classic Stephen King novel about vampires that invade a small Maine town. Those old enough (or suave enough in your horror history) might recall that ‘Salem’s Lot was previously made into a TV movie back in 1979, toned down with changes to the book’s plot because it was on network television, and with vamps that bore more in resemblance to Nosferatu than the post-modern freaks-with-fangs that we’re all accustomed to. I have yet to really care enough to locate a copy of the 1979 version to watch, and it’s been quite some time since I’ve read the novel on which this adaptation is based, so I came into viewing this with nearly a clean slate.

Gotta tell ‘ya, I was pleasantly surprised with this movie. Most of the time, any made-for-television (be it network or cable) adaptations of Stephen King stories tend to fall flat for me. And at a grand total of three hours, while there are a couple of bumps along the way, overall I was very much satisfied with the execution on ‘Salem’s Lot. I was completely geeking out on the cast at times (Donald Sutherland! Rob Lowe! Rutger Hauer! That last one played the vampire king Lothos in the Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie, there…), the overall creepy vibe was well-used throughout, and the vampire effects were very effective. The story starts off with a small town, somethin’ ain’t right vibe, then when the vampires are revealed later in the second half, it becomes a fun bloodsucker romp with just enough visceral scares to keep you going.

Overall, I’d say that this collected miniseries is a good way to spend a vampire-themed night. Pair this up with The Lost Boys, a pizza and munchies, and you’ve got a party, there…