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Salem's Lot (1979)


No Reviews Yet...

Release Date: Nov 17, 1979 Limited



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 31,357

My Rating

Movie Info

Novelist David Soul returns to his hometown of Salem, finding that things have changed a bit. More than a bit, in fact: the previously warm and friendly community is downright sinister. Soul suspects that the bizarre behavior of his onetime friends and neighbors is the handiwork of oddball antique dealer James Mason. We won't reveal here the secret of Salem; suffice to say that the action goes directly to the jugular, and that makeup artists Jack Young and Ben Lane won an Emmy nomination. Based


Drama, Television, Horror, Mystery & Suspense

Paul Monash, Stephen King

Oct 26, 1999

Warner Home Video

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All Critics (13) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (2) | DVD (8)

A masterful vampire film barely aged that will keep you up nights, and away from your window during the midnight hours.

October 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

A truly unfortunate adaptation. Was the head vampire supposed to be scary? Oh sorry--my bad.

October 14, 2002 | Comments (3)

Not bad, but Hooper has done much better work

August 26, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Very frightening for a TV movie.

August 23, 2002
Lawrence Journal-World

Audience Reviews for Salem's Lot

Now a pretty ancient vampire film and it certainly looks its age these days, made one year after I was born and I've only just got round to seeing it.

Adaptation of a well known King novel of which I saw the film version which is simply all the episodes of the mini TV series stuck together into one movie. As said this was originally a TV series and you can see how it has been put together for this film version but that doesn't detract really, it kinda adds a little charm to the proceedings. Its not terribly scary by today's standards but there is a nice spooky atmosphere throughout which feels good on a cold dark rainy night.

Its a slow slow burner that's for sure, I must admit I was getting really quite bored in places as the film is three hours long and there's a lot of dialog all the way through, not much vampire action to be honest. What action there is is now quite quaint and harmless really, not much blood on show and some pretty amusing melodramatic acting as people fall foul of 'Kurt Barlow', but the makeup is still very good, especially the eyes of the vampires.

The film is well made and a good adaptation I think as it does seem encompass a lot from the original source, I haven't read the novel but there is a heck of a lot of info packed into the plot with good back stories and character development.

Must mention the legend James Mason here as his calm gentlemanly demeanor accompanied by his smooth, eloquent, perfectly pronounced voice works wonders for the evil vampires right hand man, Hopkins and Price eat your heart out hehe.

A curious addition to vampire lore which is slightly dull but altogether well crafted, the look of the main vampire obviously has been designed after the classic 'Nosferatu' look but in turn you can see how many future vampire films have also used this style and look.
March 12, 2014

Super Reviewer

As a TV movie, Salem's Lot is a stunning film that generates effective chills. Directed by horror master Tobe Hooper, Salem's Lot adapted from Stephen King's novel of the same name is a terrific tale of vampires. This is among the classic vampire films and is a must see for fans of the genre. Well acted and directed, this is a powerful and terrifying horror film that is quite impressive because it was made for TV and it has the chilling, eerie tone of a big budget theatrical release. This was Tobe Hooper at his peak. It among one of his strongest films and it remains an essential film for vampire lovers everywhere. This is a stunning film that relies on old school horror trick to create its tension. The result is an effective, creepy film that generates genuine terror for the viewer. Salem's Lot remains one of the best vampire films ever made and some scenes in the film are truly terrifying and one of a kind. A brilliant, well acted film, this is a must see for horror fans and is sure to appeal to Stephen King fans and Hooper fans alike. This is an atmospheric film that will certainly terrify you. As far as the vampire genre is concerned, this is among the best the genre has seen. Not only that, but as Stephen King adaptation, it ranks among the best. Salem's Lot is a standout horror film, and is a classic of horror. The story is engaging and creepy and the directing is effective and the cast are terrific as well. A must see for genre fans. .
September 9, 2012
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Straker: You'll enjoy Mr. Barlow. And he'll enjoy you. 

"The ultimate in terror."

Salem's Lot is Stephen King's take on the vampire story and it is a pretty good one. A lot of what made the story so scary didn't translate well to the screen, but I still consider this a good adaption of the book. Tobe Hooper is a skilled horror director and while this isn't his best work, it's still a solid entry into the vampire sub-genre. 

The movie took me somewhat be surprise. I didn't expect the acting to be nearly as good as it is because it was a made-for-tv film. The cast isn't spectacular, but they do a good enough job. The film isn't at all scary or even creepy, but it was still a fun movie to watch. I probably had more fun watching it than I should have.

A writer returns to his hometown that he left when he was 10 or 11 years old. He is obsessed with an old house that stands there, that is also rumored to be haunted. He makes it the subject of his next book. Shortly after arriving, weird occurrences begin and he suspects that whatever is going on has to do with an antique dealer, his partner and that house. The plot is solid enough, but it is nowhere near King's best work. Salem's Lot falls somewhere in the middle when it comes to King adaptions.
October 16, 2011
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

    1. Ben Mears: But you remember that even then, that house had a reputation for being a haunted house?
    2. Jason Burke: Every town has one.
    3. Ben Mears: I went up there once, on a dare. You know how kids are. I was sweating scared. I sneaked around. Got into the house.
    4. Jason Burke: What did you see?
    5. Ben Mears: Ghosts, everything; every sound, every shadow. I'm not sure what I saw. I think I saw Hubie Marsten hanging by his neck. His face green, his eyes puffed shut his hands livid. It was ghastly. And then he opened his eyes and he looked at me. He looked at me, and I took off and I ran. I ran as fast as I could. I've never forgotten that.
    – Submitted by Creep F (3 years ago)
    1. Ben Mears: I think that an evil house attracts evil men.
    2. Jason Burke: But if a house attracts evil men.
    3. Ben Mears: Why did it attract me?
    – Submitted by Creep F (3 years ago)
    1. Ben Mears: Jason, do you believe a thing can be inherently evil?
    2. Jason Burke: I've seen trees that look like tortured spirits.
    3. Ben Mears: A house. The Marsten house for instance. Can it be evil in its stone foundations, in its wooden beams? In the glass of its windows? In the plaster of its ceilings? Evil.
    – Submitted by Creep F (3 years ago)
    1. Mike: (as a Vampire; in the rocking chair trying to hypnotize Jason) Look at me. Look at me, teacher.
    – Submitted by Creep F (3 years ago)
    1. Ben Mears: They've found us again. Another has found us.
    2. Mark Petrie: We have to go further.
    3. Ben Mears: Not yet.
    – Submitted by Creep F (3 years ago)
    1. Mark Petrie: (shouts) What did you do to her?
    2. Richard Straker: I've taken her to where she wished to go. To meet the man she came here to meet.
    – Submitted by Creep F (3 years ago)
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