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TOBE HOOPER DIRECTS THE TV VAMPIRE MOVIE OF 'SALEM'S LOT'

Little pink houses for James Mason in SALEM'S LOT Year: 1979
Although groundbreaking horror/exploitation director Tobe Hooper is best known for and forever linked to the legendary low-budget slasher TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, his coolest, tightest and most accessible work is fulfilling and utterly frightful, unlike some other television movies/miniseries during the 1970's in which Stephen King's SALEM'S LOT rode the crest of...

Involving an eclectic ensemble from several cinematic generations behind leading man David Soul as a second-rate author returned to the titular New England hometown, doing investigative research on the locally-infamous, spooky-looking haunted manor on a hill described to former English teacher/mentor Lew Ayres: "Can a house be evil in its stone foundations? In its wooden beams? In the glass of its windows?"

James Mason in Salem's Lot RATES: ****
The inevitable body count awaits the locals, including Stanley Kubrick's THE KILLING couple Elisha Cook Jr. and hotel owner Marie Windsor while realtor Fred Willard cuckolds extremely cute employee Julie Cobb, unhappily married to fat, bitter, shotgun-wielding George Dzundza, a friend of grave digger Geoffrey Lewis and all monitored by sheriff Kenneth McMillan leading to an ambiguous crime-conversation with sophisticated mystery man James Mason — the latter anticipating his even more enigmatic antique shop partner, Mr. Barlow, whom he promises will leave a lasting impression on everyone...

"Ever heard of Four Jacks and a Jill?"
This non-human killing machine vampire pays deliberate aesthetic homage to the German classic NOSFERATU, and violently reigns during the third act when the pace becomes rushed and uneven, contrary to a finely tuned first half that develops each character before revealing logical reasons for the lucky few to not stick around, unlike cemented hero Soul in a progressive romance with otherwise shy and vulnerable Bonnie Bedelia...

Yet the real sidekick is teenage monster-movie geek Lance Kerwin, who, along with his young friends, provides a necessary horror genre kids-in-peril element: making SALEM'S LOT one of the best King adaptations that, with a cursed, suspenseful edge where anything can happen at any time, is satisfying and quintessential enough to not need a remake, even after that inevitably happens... and most likely on the big screen and with a much bigger budget.
Lance Kerwin plays the horror movie loving magician kid in SALEM'S LOT and that snake rules
David Soul as author Ben Mears checking out Stephen King's SALEM'S LOT
Extremely cute Julie Cobb stands out in SALEM'S LOT
Extremely cute Julie Cobb stands out in SALEM'S LOT
THE KILLING couple Marie Windsor and Elisha Cook Jr. in SALEM'S LOT
Starsky and Hutch star DAVID SOUL in SALEM'S LOT
Julie Cobb stands out in SALEM'S LOT with Fred Willard
Kenneth McMillan investigates SALEM'S LOT
And he's investigating heavy James Mason in SALEM'S LOT
One of the most memorable nightmarish scenes in SALEM'S LOT
Veteran actor Lew Ayres crosses out SALEM'S LOT
Geoffrey Lewis vamping out in SALEM'S LOT
A formidable yet classy James Mason in SALEM'S LOT
Lance Kerwin points out Mr. Barlow in SALEM'S LOT
Horror actor Reggie Nalder as Mr. Barlow in SALEM'S LOT
Salem's Lot starlet Bonnie Bedelia was later in another Stephen King curio shop horror Needful Things
Lew Ayres reads this horror movies guide book for SALEM'S LOT
James Mason and David Soul play verbal chase in SALEM'S LOT
Time to go back to skull during the 11th hour of SALEM'S LOT
David Soul holding the inevitable crucifix in SALEM'S LOT
Future St. Elsewhere star Ed Flanders with David Soul in Salem's Lot
Soul crossing out yet another undead vampire in SALEM'S LOT
Julie Cobb as Bonnie 'Boom Boom' Sawyer in SALEM'S LOT
William Shatner and Julie Cobb from Star Trek: By Any Other Name
Julie Cobb as Bonnie 'Boom Boom' Sawyer in SALEM'S LOT
Julie Cobb as Bonnie 'Boom Boom' Sawyer in SALEM'S LOT
A sequence that much of Generation X had nightmares of from SALEM'S LOT
Mr. Barlow fights Lance Kerwin from Salem's Lot YEAR
James Mason waiting to open his doors in SALEM'S LOT
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