After a deadly plague kills most of the world's population, the remaining survivors split into two groups - one led by a benevolent elder and the other by a maleficent being - to face each other in a final battle between good and evil.
The successful writer Benjamin "Ben" Mears returns to his hometown Salem's Lot, Maine, expecting to write a new novel about the Marsten House. Ben believes that the manor is an evil house that attracts evil men since the place has many tragic stories and Ben saw a ghostly creature inside the house when he was ten. Ben finds that the Marsten House has just been rented to the antique dealers Richard K. Straker and his partner Kurt Barlow that is permanently traveling. Ben meets the divorced teacher Susan Norton that is living with her parents and they have a love affair. Ben also gets close to her father Dr. Bill Norton and his former school teacher Jason Burke. When people start to die anemic, Ben believes that Straker's partner is a vampire. But how to convince his friends that he is not crazy and that is the truth?Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The original intent was for Warner Brothers to turn Stephen King's 400 page bestseller into a feature film. Stirling Silliphant, Robert Getchell and Larry Cohen all had a go at distilling the material down to two hours' length but none of these were deemed to capture the essence of the novel. Eventually the project was handed over to Warner Brothers Television where producer Richard Kobritz felt it would work better as a TV mini-series. See more »
In the Marsten House, Straker picks Bill up with his his hands on Bill's arms, just below the shoulders. But as he approaches the antlers, Straker has one hand on Bill's arm and one hand clutching his tie. See more »
[holding antique fork in hand]
You have some expertise.
No, not really. I just happen to know something about silver. My aunt had some Georgian and we had to sell it when she died.
What an unfortunate way to acquire knowledge.
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The text of the opening credits appear and dissolve piece by piece into each other in a jigsaw puzzle fashion. See more »
The VHS 1987 version omits the scene where Ben and Mark are in Mexico, and a vampirized Susan is laying down on a cot in a hut. Then, Ben enters the room and impales her in the chest with a wooden stake. See more »
This is one of the most richly atmospheric films in horror, an article of pure latenight seduction and phosphorescent darkness.
Atmospheric not in the sense that a dry ice machine has pumped a catacomb full of haze and cobwebs are strategically placed in some dark corner, but as a place lived, with naturally dark corners and tangible portents: the old dark house on the hill breathing evil, the antique shop downtown, all velvety smell and musty colors, the small town lined with porticoes bathed in the quiet of a lazy night, yet harboring secrets and vice from inside. Prying eyes staring from behind a curtain.
Oh, at some point vampires come flying through the window, and it's still fine by me, it's one of the better vampire films and at 3 hours it's better fleshed than most of them; but I am just not attuned to the whole vampire lore so I leave this part to be enjoyed best by the traditional horror fan. It is actually one of the more potent retellings of the most familiar story in this field, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was not quite Dracula but that older film with longer shadows, so I will not spoil the discovery for you.
But the first part intrigues me in stranger ways, more suggestive, with menace that goes unspoken. The small-town facade that would later resurface in Twin Peaks.
There is a notion that matters in all this, but which is not pursued at all; the writer who feels from his perspective that it was his presence that awakened evil, it's fitting that it's coming from a writer because it's a self-centered, imaginative notion, but which from our end we know is bogus. Evil was already afoot, and was never centered around him. But he wistfully imagines himself at the center so he can write about it.
So I don't know what happened with Tobe Hooper. He was never very elegant with a camera, the way Argento was or occasionally Carpenter, but he was unmatched in his feel for the aural qualities of film. He could make a room hum with evil. My guess is that, being an intuitive maker, the feel came and went, or he forgot how to tap into it (you can see as early as Eaten Alive how he seems to be desperately trying to capture again the muse that gave him Texas Massacre). Or he plainly stopped actively chasing after the right material.
This was just right for him. Only Kubrick has better adapted Stephen King to my mind.
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