King’s Halloween: ‘Salem’s Lot (2004)

Tonight: ‘Salem’s Lot (2004)

This TV miniseries inspired my first attempt at entering the realm of Stephen King.  I saw trailers for an upcoming miniseries on TNT called “Salem’s Lot.”  I knew absolutely nothing about it, but it looked neat and had a cool name.  For some reason I never watched it.  Just one of those things that came and went without me actually seeing it.

I was still intrigued by the title, so when I saw a book at my local grocery store that was a three in one hardcover of Carrie, ‘Salem’s Lot, and The Shining.  Due to my need to do things in order, I decided to read Carrie first.  I thought it was okay, and then I moved on to the reason I ACTUALLY bought the book.

I got about 30-40 pages in and BOOM find several pages missing.  How crappy is that?!?  Then, the final nail in the coffin was that I found out the book was about VAMPIRES!  At this point, I was very much against vampires.  I was actually not aware that Stephen King did normal monsters at the time.  I later became equally surprised he did a werewolf story.  But that is for another time.

So I put ‘Salem’s Lot out of my mind for almost a decade and a half.  Then the Tower. . .

I ended up reading ‘Salem’s Lot last year in my effort to read the Dark Tower series.  I absolutely loved it.  Never judge a book by its cover, but I think a title might be well worth investigating.  Probably why I am in no hurry to read Tommyknockers.

So on to the actual mini-series.  The casting director’s budget had to be EXTERMELY lopsided.  You have PHENOMENAL actors Like Donald Sutherland, Rutger Hauer, and James Cromwell, and even some lower level, but still very enjoyable actors like Rob Lowe and Captain Holt.  Then you have a bunch of actors there just to stand on the right spot and say the line.

Honestly, I like this series. . .until they made one crucial change, and I hated them for it.  James Cromwell is an AMAZING choice for Father Callahan.  For anyone who has read the Dark Tower series, you know that Father Callahan is a badass, yes in the book he has a fall from grace due to his alcoholism and loss of faith, but his road to redemption is full on vampire hunter.

Instead, they turn Father Callahan into an outright villain.  Loss of faith is one thing, but he murders people.  He works for Barlow.  He leads the vampire horde after Barlow is killed.  Then to top it off he gives a crappy “DAMN YOU TO HELL!” speech at the end.  Before getting snuffed out with a pillow.  Screw you movie.  I will concede that Wolves of the Calla was released only about half a year before the mini series came out, but I really really don’t care for it.

The only change that I actually really enjoyed was the death of the Doctor.  In the book, he goes down a set of weakened stairs and falls onto a bed of spikes.  In this he falls onto a running buzzsaw.  Which is just brutal and at the same time awesome!

The Vampires were okay in this movie.  Really, all they did was give them pale makeup and ghostly white eyes.  It works for the most part, but I have seen some clips of the original ‘Salem’s Lot and the effects there look more otherworldly.

I would say it isn’t bad, definitely worth a watch.

Tomorrow: Lets go from one mini series that came out when I was a kid to another, with The Shining.

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