31 October 2010

Week of Horror 2010: Day 07

Here concludith the 2010 edition of The Rambling of a Minnesota Geek's Week of Horror. Hope you enjoyed! And if you missed 'em, previous reviews of this feature include Monster Island, Killer Condom, Paranormal Activity 2, Troll 2, Night of the Demons (2010), and Suspiria. Happy Halloween, folks!

Salem's Lot

Starring David Soul, James Mason, Julie Cobb, Fred Ward, Bonnie Bedelia, Lance Kerwin. Written for the screen by Paul Monash. Directed by Tobe Hooper. Airdate: 17/24 November 1979. CBS, 189 mins., Not Rated

Plot: There's a writer, a 'haunted' house, vampires, and they somehow all interconnect.

It's unfortunate to be ending on a sour note. After nearly all the movies viewed this year being good, I guess it was inevitably the final one would be a bummer. Long, drawn out, unnecessarily long, cliched, unoriginal, not matching the hype – pretty much my feelings towards this adaptation of Stephen King’s famous vampire novel SALEM’S LOT. I’m trying not to be biased here, as I’m not particularly a fan of King’s work, but this movie is sure as hell crappy, and I am not too pleased with my three hours of watching being rewarded with an wrap-up I’ve seen in countless other vampire movies. I understand that this movie was made in the 1970s, when vampire cliches weren’t done to a deathly redundant extent, but even then, audiences must have got the part that there’s nothing new or interesting to be had.

The best part of the movie is the photo right there. Barlow, the enigmatic new owner of the Marsten house, the so-called building where evil is supposedly inherent there. Beautiful make-up, and beautifully frightning, nicely conjuring up images of the 1920s Nosferatu. Unfortunately, Barlow is only on screen for a limited amount of time, but when it is, it’s bloody freaky, let me tell you. It’s yellow eyes that seem to captivate not only the characters, but the viewer watching. If given more screentime and thrown in a superior movie, this Barlow character could very well have been one of the most frightning and successful vampires on celluloid.

As it stands, we have a rubbish movie. There’s Ben, the main character who just needs to be a novelist researching the Marsten house, and spouts off dramatic dialogue akin to Donald Pleasance talking about Michael Myers in the HALLOWEEN films. The cheating wife, the angry husband, the romantic interest, the nosey Sheriff, the religious men, and the vampire handeler. I do give kudos to the production for spending the first two hours establishing characters and making an valiant attempt at making them dimensional human beings and not simply screen fodder, but seeing as how hardly any of these townsfolk are integral to the ending, it does come off as a nice time waster.

I frankly don’t have much more to say. What I have left to discuss is nothing but negative feelings about the movie, but I don’t feel like getting into that. The point is, I don’t recommend SALEM’S LOT at the least, and I felt terribly robbed of three hours where this movie could have worked perfectly fine, if not better, shortened into 90 minutes. If you’re itching for a vampire movie, even DRACULA 2000 is a better choice.

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