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 Posted:   Sep 1, 2014 - 4:43 PM   
 By:   JJH   (Member)

I remember watching this as a young kid, as my father was into horror movies...I also remember being scared shitless by it, always having nightmares of that boy floating outside the hospital window.




 
 
 Posted:   Sep 2, 2014 - 6:23 PM   
 By:   Richard-W   (Member)

Another thought on A RETURN TO SALEM'S LOT. The promotional art uses the image of Reggie Nalder as Barlow. This is a cheat, as Barlow isn't in the film. He's not missed, though. There is plenty of other vampire action instead. The stumbling block for this film is that it isn't canon, and King fans may not accept it on that basis. But they should definitely make allowance and give it a look.

A RETURN TO SALEM'S LOT is so well-writ and well-made it doesn't really need the King connection. If TNT had changed the title and the names of the characters and place the film would still stand on its own merits as a superior vampire horror film. However, the original does inform this riff in subtle ways. King must have liked it well enough to sign off on it or it wouldn't be called A RETURN TO SALEM'S LOT in the first place.

I can't help wondering if there is missing footage. What a pity Warner Brothers controls the film. If there is a longer version -- and I think there must be based on abrupt transitions in the film -- we'll probably never see it.


JJH:
I remember watching this as a young kid, as my father was into horror movies...I also remember being scared shitless by it, always having nightmares of that boy floating outside the hospital window.


You must have been very young.


Joan Hue:
His best books? Hard question for me. I used to read all of his novels, but in the past few years, I've only read a few of his.

Also, due to all the movies that have been made of his novels, people tend to be over familiar with his works.

Of all the books I've read, I thought his very best was THE DEAD ZONE. It has such heart as well as creepiness.

For sheer terror, I'd nominate SALEM'S LOT.

My other favorites are MISERY, THE GREEN MILE, and the book that started it all, CARRIE.

I loved plowing through the thousand pages of THE STAND, only to feel frustrated by what I consider a cop out ending....



I don't have the time to read THE STAND but I'm going to start on the mini-series tonight or tomorrow night. I honestly think the visual shorthand of a film adaptation is a better experience than plowing through one of King's books.

THE DEAD ZONE I liked very much until it turned into a presidential assassination / gone crazy story. It's an excellent film in any case. Clever casting Martin Sheen against type, and Christopher Walken plays it quietly, without mugging the camera, and as you say with a lot of heart.

 
 Posted:   Sep 4, 2014 - 1:18 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

Received the Salem's Lot Studies in horror film book yesterday and read it last night; the majority of the book are interviews with cast & crew, producer, director and King himself, for the most part from around Salem's Lot production so you get a lot of first rate inside material. Of interest to note is that during Salem's Lot's production The Shining was being filmed so King comments on that as well. My criticism to it being various interviews is that a lot of it is repetitive; questions about the different cuts, the impalement scene, the floating boy scene, Soul's Starsky and Hutch label, Barlow, ... a lot of these subjects appear numerous times throughout these interviews. Some of it does go in-depth as breaking down different sequences and how they were prepared and shot as well as how the actors felt working on them. Also alternate takes and material that didn't make it are discussed as are the differences between book and tv movie. I'm just remembering that I also found it interesting what the attitude was from those involved to doing a tv movie, how King was disappointed upon hearing the news of it not going to be a movie but a television project and the censorship that they had to deal with in order to bring it to tv. Makes you wish that they had an HBO alternative at that time!

Overall, it is an extensive collection of interviews but I did get the sense of missing a bit of a narrative and even deeper exploration of the movie's themes which only get hinted at. Aside from the text, there is a plethora of stills and production shots, ads etc. shown throughout the book that alone make it worthwhile to get; you see pristine on set pictures with Hooper directing pivotal scenes as well as how these were set up, truly a nice addition.

For those interested, there is a brief interview with Harry Sukman's daughter who tells about the period her father worked on it and the interview was done before the intrada release as they mention there's no CD release. That was probably the scariest thing to read, but then I looked at the CD shelf and immediately grabbed the grail. big grin

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 13, 2014 - 9:50 PM   
 By:   Richard-W   (Member)

Appreciate your informative review of the book, Francis. Nicely done. I expect to pick it up soon.

I wish I could say I liked the 2003 remake of SALEM'S LOT, directed in Australia by somebody named Mikael Salomon. It tries to be different, and it is different, but being different from the original means rewriting the author's content and intent. That would be alright if the new material substituting for the old were better ... but it isn't. Instead it's just depressing. Classic scenes are either blown -- like Danny Glick coming in -- Barlow invading the boarding house -- or cut. One scene that could have been classic -- a vampire trying to force its body through a narrow airduct to reach Ben -- is blown by its brevity and fast cutting. The backstory of Ben's childhood trauma in the Marsten house is belabored to the point of flogging a dead horse, and then flogging it some more, and then flogging it again. The tension escalates nicely here and there, but having Rutger Haeur play Mr. Barlow as a normal average guy robs the film of its payoff. Having Susan fall out with Ben because he's writing about Salem's Lot and the Marsten House makes no sense. It gives the actors more to do, getting angry and frustrated with each other, but I prefer it the other way. Rob Lowe is a strong presence and his performance as Ben really holds this longer version together. Samantha Mathis provides able support and sex appeal. Donald Sutherland, one of the great actors, does what he can with Straker but he's not given much and he ain't no James Mason. And then the writer dies at the end. This version has snow, which is nice, especially when a cold mist comes out people's mouths, plus it has a more urban modern look, but snow and a more urban modern look doesn't make it look like New England in the USA, which location is important to the story. Instead it looks like Australia.

The 1979 original and the sidestepping A RETURN TO SALEM'S LOT stand head and shoulders above this "re-imagining." It's no more than employment for some foreigners and another product for the rental shelf.

However, I would say that A RETURN TO SALEM'S LOT is every bit the equal of the 1979 original.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 14, 2014 - 7:50 AM   
 By:   Richard-W   (Member)

I remember watching this as a young kid, as my father was into horror movies...I also remember being scared shitless by it, always having nightmares of that boy floating outside the hospital window.


Then it succeeded 100%.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 14, 2014 - 7:50 AM   
 By:   Richard-W   (Member)

-- stutter --

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 14, 2014 - 10:50 AM   
 By:   Richard-W   (Member)

Another thought on the 2003 remake of SALEM'S LOT:

Tobe Hooper understood that the Marsten house is a character, a kind of monster that hides another monster within. Well, Mikael Salomon doesn't seem to grasp that in the remake. Although the Marsten house is shown sitting atop a hill that overlooks town like in the book, the house doesn't have the same presence or character. There's nothing sinister about it. It's just a dirty house.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 14, 2014 - 11:19 AM   
 By:   Richard-W   (Member)

CinemaScope
....
I have a small stash of Cinefantastic magazines, I've just checked I have the Salem's Lot one, so I'll have a look at that...also issues of: the making of Carpenters The Thing, & Burton's Batman, & 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, & Psycho, & Judge Dredd, & Conan, & a 3D special, & a Dick Smith special...& quite a few more.




Hold onto those CFQ's. The magazine may be old and out of print but it's a valuable resource today.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2014 - 9:37 AM   
 By:   Richard-W   (Member)

Sign this petition:

www.change.org/p/melissa-hufjay-release-the-original-salem-s-lot-1979-on-blu-ray

I didn't write it, but I agree with it.

 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2014 - 2:12 AM   
 By:   Warlok   (Member)

Sign this petition:

www.change.org/p/melissa-hufjay-release-the-original-salem-s-lot-1979-on-blu-ray

I didn't write it, but I agree with it.


Insta-signed...

 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2014 - 2:21 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

I wanted to mention Kenneth McMillan's excellent performance. He was a truly great actor. He has a scene in Salem's Lot opposite the legendary--and no doubt intimidating--James Mason. The two actors do a tremendous job. McMillan, playing the town constable, warily stalks Mason's vampire caretaker in a scene with delicious question-and-answer banter that has an underlying tension to it...it's the best (non-horror) bit in the entire movie.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2014 - 6:45 AM   
 By:   MikeP   (Member)

Which sections are creaky and which sections miss the mark? I'm curious to know.


Although I still feel overall the adaptation works, some parts, yes, are ... unfortunate big grin

When the Glick boy disappears, the two brothers are in the woods, one hustles away into the underbrush and suddenly ... gale force winds... a damn tornado... blows through the night forest before the second boy is taken. I mean these are strong winds...and they re-appear when Mike Ryerson is about to bury the casket but instead takes a look inside. Same thing... winds strong enough to blow over large floral arrangements, flap clothing ... dramatic strong winds...come on big grin A mysterious little breeze, sure that's fine, but this is like, batten down the hatches wind. And what brings those evil winds? Barlow is still in his crate when the first twister blows through town...and he is nowhere to be seen when the Glick boy bites Mike.

The three stooges like clonking of heads that kill Mark's parents. That's all you can say about that, it puts one in mind of Larry, Curly and Moe.

On one hand I can understand simplifying Barlow, making him a non speaking beast since you have James Mason as Straker, hell give Mason more lines yeah! But, the whole blue faced Nosferatu is silly. Also, as Mason is preparing the way for Barlow's arrival, there are a number of shots of Straker looking off camera worried, pensive, almost biting his knuckles...why ? These two have survived for years and apparently is no stranger to murdering the innocent, or feeding "the master". So he should have always been cold, calculating and cool. Straker shows he can dance his way around anyone ( as Jim Phelps mentioned above ) so why is he continually shown as worried?

Susan's fate is referenced in the CFQ article as being altered to give the ending more "snap". For me changing the placement of her demise robs Ben Mears of the spark he needs to go ahead and finish the job and kill Barlow. It should have been what filled him with the hatred and resolve to finish off the vampire. Oddly, this change was also carried over into the later Rob Lowe version.

The scene where Mrs Glick rises from the dead as Ben shakily holds his cross is excellent...but then he presses the cross to her forehead and she just... vanishes. It just ends an top notch scene with an eye rolling moment.

There is plenty of good stuff in the mini series, and it is highly enjoyable, but it IS full of "oh boy" moments.

 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2014 - 2:44 PM   
 By:   TominAtl   (Member)

What are Stephen King's best books? his top 3? his top 5?

His earliest works are by far his best for me. More lean and mean if you will. As his career continued, his books began to become more bloated. Insomnia and The Tommyknockers are by far my least favorite, and I almost didn't finish them.

His best:

Salem's Lot
The Stand
The Shining
Pet Semetary
Christine
The Dead Zone
Cujo

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 2, 2014 - 4:04 PM   
 By:   Richard-W   (Member)

MikeP:
Which sections are creaky and which sections miss the mark? I'm curious to know.


Although I still feel overall the adaptation works, some parts, yes, are ... unfortunate big grin

When the Glick boy disappears, the two brothers are in the woods, one hustles away into the underbrush and suddenly ... gale force winds... a damn tornado... blows through the night forest before the second boy is taken. I mean these are strong winds...and they re-appear when Mike Ryerson is about to bury the casket but instead takes a look inside. Same thing... winds strong enough to blow over large floral arrangements, flap clothing ... dramatic strong winds...come on big grin A mysterious little breeze, sure that's fine, but this is like, batten down the hatches wind. And what brings those evil winds? Barlow is still in his crate when the first twister blows through town...and he is nowhere to be seen when the Glick boy bites Mike.


I assumed the strong winds inferred that Barlow is omniscient and manipulating the weather from afar a bit like Count Dracula does in Bram Stoker's novel. I assumed King was following Stoker's lead. Often times in films and literature vampires are omiscient. Not having read Salem's Lot yet, I could be very wrong. If the strong winds didn't come from the book, you're entirely correct that it makes no sense.


The three stooges like clonking of heads that kill Mark's parents. That's all you can say about that, it puts one in mind of Larry, Curly and Moe.

Yeah, that was weak and unconvincing. Watered-down TV violence to comply with network mandates, I'll bet. There are two or three more instances of this.


On one hand I can understand simplifying Barlow, making him a non speaking beast since you have James Mason as Straker, hell give Mason more lines yeah! But, the whole blue faced Nosferatu is silly. Also, as Mason is preparing the way for Barlow's arrival, there are a number of shots of Straker looking off camera worried, pensive, almost biting his knuckles...why ? These two have survived for years and apparently is no stranger to murdering the innocent, or feeding "the master". So he should have always been cold, calculating and cool. Straker shows he can dance his way around anyone ( as Jim Phelps mentioned above ) so why is he continually shown as worried?

That's a good question. Again, I assumed Strayker was afraid of his Master despite the good face he puts on before the people, or that he was afraid things would go wrong enroute to bringing the crate containing Barlow to Salem's Lot, and that it came from the book. Or perhaps that's just the way James Mason wanted to play it. Without the anxiety, there would be no subtext to Straker's scenes. Whether it belongs there or not, the film is the better for it.

I've always thought Barlow should be a little more present, and more articulate. He can be a Nosferatu-type without the grey face. There is a way of playing the scenes with Strayker once Barlow has arrived that would be interesting. According to imdb:

In an interview with Fangoria magazine Reggie Nalder (Barlow) said he was somewhat disappointed by the film because some additional scenes that included his vampire were cut.


Susan's fate is referenced in the CFQ article as being altered to give the ending more "snap". For me changing the placement of her demise robs Ben Mears of the spark he needs to go ahead and finish the job and kill Barlow. It should have been what filled him with the hatred and resolve to finish off the vampire. Oddly, this change was also carried over into the later Rob Lowe version.

I wondered about this. The handling of Susan's fate bothered me in the original, but I didn't know how it was supposed to be. Your way is the book's way, I assume, and sounds much better. It's a nice scene at the end, though. The remake is hardly worth talking about.


The scene where Mrs Glick rises from the dead as Ben shakily holds his cross is excellent...but then he presses the cross to her forehead and she just... vanishes. It just ends an top notch scene with an eye rolling moment.

There is plenty of good stuff in the mini series, and it is highly enjoyable, but it IS full of "oh boy" moments.


Well, I agree. I wish that the cross had burned into her forehead and then she crumbled into ashes. Or something. I think the violence was toned down for television by censorship rules in the script stage. Perhaps this is the explanation, again from the imdb, for the story's inconsistencies:

Larry Cohen wrote the first draft of the movies script but producer Richard Kobritz said Cohen's script was "really lousy" and chose Paul Monash to write the screenplay. Cohen attempted an appeal to get some writing credit on the film, but he was rejected screen credit.

Elsewhere I read that the Monash was still rewriting the script while it was being shot. Perhaps that was the script James Mason was playing on, who knows. Cohen's A RETURN TO SALEM'S LOT is a darker, more cynical and pessimistic take on King's premise. Perhaps that was the nature of his original script for the first film.

Thanks for the feedback, MikeP.

 
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