Salem’s Lot

Year: 1989

Synopsis: A successful writer returns to his small childhood hometown to write a story about the town’s supposedly evil house that haunted him since he was a child. He soon learns he is not the only one interested in the decrepit structure.

Pros:
• A well implemented, slow burn of a horror story.
• All the characters were brought to life with all their glaring imperfections, as many might not have been much better than the ancient vampire.
• Though not perfect, the effort to emulate the Maine dialect was successful enough, while the lingering old New England feel was well done.
• The dread-filled visuals, particularly of the vampire at the window and the rotting house stuck with the viewer. The glowing Vampire eyes were perfect and truly hypnotic.
• The sometimes held back jump scares were all well timed and fully integrated with the growing dread.
• The echoes of classic horror films, lovecraftian weird fiction, gothic horror, and Hitchcock were applied perfectly.
• The way the antagonists laughed at the almost heroes and viewers for their assumptions surrounding vampires fueled some of the most memorable moments.
• A dark but realistic ending, with the protagonists more survivors than heroes, and perhaps not even survivors.

Cons:
• Can feel very slow at times, especially when the miniseries is watched in one sitting.
• The almost literal made for TV scars of obvious and not always well timed commercial cuts took away from the otherwise innovative implementation.
• Related to the commercial cuts, the occasional freeze and zoom moments came off as a bit antiquated for today’s standards.

Discussion:
If evil attracts evil than what does that make a writer fascinated by his own horror surrounding an evil house? What does that make the people living next door to a supposed source of evil? Perhaps the rotting New England house was just a beacon to be seen or ignored. It seemed unlikely that the house truly cared. Yet, the small town itself was rotting from within: slight hints of inbreeding, likely declining population, adultery, jealousy, cowardice. The seeds of darkness were there, whether the house had anything to do with it or not. Whatever the master vampire’s plans were, he certainly liked the rotting town with a rotting house as its symbolic dark heart. Perhaps that darkness ensured a wave of new vampires. No one seemed sure of anything at the end except for the vampires birthed at Salem’s Lot.


Unofficial Website

Rotten Tomatoes — 88%

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