The Film (4/5)
Salem's Lot is the fourth feature film by director Tobe Hooper, and came in the middle of his golden period as a director. The film is based off the second, and arguably one of the finest books by novelist Stephen King. The story involves a man named Ben Mears moving back to his home town of Jerusalem's Lot (Salem's Lot to the locals), Maine to confront his fears of a local house that he nearly died in as a child, and also write about the history of said house. Ben's initial plan was to rent the house, and occupy it to give him the proper ambiance to tell his story, but just before he could rent it it was taken by Mr. Straker (James Mason) and his associate Mr. Barlow.
Soon after Straker and Barlow move into town a young boy disappears. A little while later the boy turns up to his brothers window as a vampire, and drains the boy of his blood. As time passes the townspeople all begin to turn into vampires due to Barlow's influence. It's up to Ben, a local old man, and a horror obsessed young boy to stop Barlow and his vampiric minions.
Salem's Lot began life as a TV miniseries that aired over 2 nights in 1978. As such it is nearly 3 hours long and works as an effective retelling of King's iconic novel for the most part. This was before Stephen King's novels become bloated and he managed to keep his horror short and punchy, but I digress.
The film is simply directed by Hooper who manages to keep the story flowing nicely. Of course, with a 3 hour running time there are slower sections that bog down the running time, and certain parts of the film feel unnecessary, but overall the piece feels like completely solid. Hooper also manages to create a nice solid atmosphere of impending doom for this little New England town (though Northern California substitutes here). The film is filled well with iconic imagery such as the vampiric Danny Glick floating at the window, and the simple presence of the Nosferatu-esque Mr. Barlow vampire.
Warner Brothers presents Salem's Lot in a 1:37:1 1080p transfer preserving the films broadcast aspect ratio. The film looks quite solid for an over 30 year old TV movie. Detail is solid throughout, blacks are inky and deep, and there is solid but unobtrusive grain throughout. There is some softness, but that is more than likely an attribute of the source material. The audio is presented as a DTS-HD MA 1.0 track in English. The track is quite solid, but unremarkable with dialogue and score coming through nicely.
Extras include a Tobe Hooper commentary and international trailer.
Salem's Lot is an effective and creepy TV movie adaptation of the Stephen King classic. The Blu-ray looks and sounds quite nice, but is limited in extras. RECOMMENDED.