“Salem’s Lot” may be the first scary movie I ever watched.
For untold nights after, I’d sleep with the covers wrapped around my neck, ‘cause THAT would keep the vampires from sucking my innocent blood. Some 30 years later, I’m falling asleep watching the same movie with only my Twitter feed for protection.
Salem’s Lot is a made-for-TV adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name. It also happened to be the first Stephen King book I ever read, thus fostering a love/ (“Bag of Bones,” “The Shining”) hate (“From a Buick 8,” “Under the Dome”) relationship with the prolific author.
Starring the blonde one from “Startsky and Hutch,” who returns to his hometown and the house that haunted his childhood only to find it’s overrun by vampires. King’s novel was credited with re-imagining vampires from dapper gentlemen to savage beasts. The movie, however, is just plain boring, with one exception … the kid vampires, which is the part that scared the bejesus out of me as a kid and had me collecting crucifixes.
And it’s still creepy today … at least it’s creepy the first time. When that kid, cloaked in darkness and fog,floats up to his friends window and starts scratching lightly at the window to be let in, I immediately closed all the drapes in my room. The problem is, director Tobe Hooper (yep, the guy from “Poltergeist” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) uses it like 19 more times, to the point of parody.
Every time I see fog, I expect Buffy the Vampire Slayer to pop in with Mr. Pointy, say something snarky, and turn the kiddie vamp to dust.
When that doesn’t happen, my mind wanders. I starting thinking, how my DVR’s like 67 percent full, and I’ve got this cool book aboutThe Rolling Stones at Altamont that’s due back to the library next week or calculating how many lunches I can pack for my daughter before needing to buy more bologna.
Simply put, I was the worst thing that can happen to a horror fan … I was bored.
True, it wasn’t really the movie’s fault. It tried to be decent and aside from being rather slow, it’s greatest sin was being made in 1979 as a made-for-TV movie. I mean this was back when the sex scenes consisted of kissing, clothes dropping to the floor then a jump-cut to a post-coitus couple lying in bed beneath rumpled sheets.
TV’s come a long way … I’m talking to you, “Preacher” and “You’re the Worst.”
So to survive, I watched the last third of the movie on fast forward. I’m old. I need sleep and with or without covers, nothing about “Salem’s Lot” was going to keep me awake past my bedtime.