AKA: Brennen muss Salem, Schrecken im Marsten Haus, Salem's Lot: The
Salem's Lot: The Movie, Blood Thirst
1979, Color, 170 min
on the novel by
Mears, a mediocre and not quite successful author returns to his
native town Salem's lot after a long time. He intends to write a
novel on the uncanny Marsten-estate that is said to be haunted after
its former owner, Huby Marsten committed suicide by hanging himself.
The new owner is the shady antique dealer Straker. When unexplainable
cases of death start to accumulate in Salem's Lot, Ben and his girl
friend Susan discover with dismay what they have to deal with: vampirism
(of course). Ben faces the nearly hopeless confrontation...
whereas the spectator has to face sheer hopeless desperation. As
none of the hired script authors was able to handle Stephen Kings
novel in such a way to turn it into an appealing movie, Warner Brothers
finally decided to make it a two-part TV-film of epic lengths, with
is 170 minutes. And it's hard to hold out without falling asleep
... and this is what definitely happens in the end. The movie is
Tobe Hooper, who often compensated his lack of talent concerning
the creation of atmosphere or complex narration structures by scenes
of explicit violence couldn't use his favorite stylistic means for
a TV-production. And this is how he completely lost control of the
staging. Furthermore he made quite some mistakes, only one example
being the looks of his vampire. He makes him a ridiculous copy of
Nosferatu with bluish makeup and rabbit teeth behind his pale lips,
whilst he is described completely different in the novel. This was
probably meant to shock the spectators. Well, this did not work
out. Moreover Hooper leaves out a number of great and scary scenes
the novel would have offered.
movie received its final death-blow when it was decided to exploit
King's popularity on the European cinema market and the movie was
cut to a length of approximately 100 minutes. A huge number of dialogues
was cut and the major part of the plot was lost for good. The only
high light of the movie is Hollywood star James Mason's interpretation
of the antiques dealer Straker. Lead David Soul, popular from the
70s-cult -crime-series "Starsky and Hutch" turned out
to be a total letdown.
King's Novel, his second publication after "Carrie" would
have merited a more successful film version. The master himself
once said that he then didn't come off that bad with the film version.
Well - perhaps some time somebody else comes out with a (hopefully
better done) remake.