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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Salem's Lot - Horror Novel By Stephen King, Horror Movie, Creepy Movie

Salem's Lot is a 1975 horror novel written by Stephen King, and was the author's second published novel. The title King originally chose for his book was Second Coming, but he later decided on Jerusalem's Lot. The publishers, Doubleday, shortened it to the current title, thinking the author's choice sounded too religious.

The novel has been adapted into a television mini-series twice, first in 1979 and then in 2004. The novel was also adapted by the BBC as a seven part radio play in 1995.

"As it really is a wonderful and suspenseful vampire tale! Stephen King - not normally my favorite horror writer - has created one of the absolute BEST modern vampire tales in this story, and this mini-series translation is absolutely true to the feel of his tale! Instead of splatterfest effects , this show hinges itself on a high-tension spiderweb of plotlines and sets up the vampire more as a behind-the-scenes controlling evil."
By Eric J Carter from Maryland, USA

Ben Mears, a successful writer who grew up in the (fictional) town of Jerusalem's Lot, Cumberland County, Maine (or “The Lot”, as the locals call it), has returned home following the death of his wife. Once in town he meets local high school teacher Matt Burke and strikes up a romantic relationship with Susan Norton, a young college graduate.

Ben plans to write a book about the “Marsten House”, an abandoned mansion that gave him nightmares after a bad experience with it as a child. The Marsten House was the home of '30s Gangster Hubert Marsten. Hubert, or "Hubie" was a hitman who specialized in rather unsavory hits. Hubie's profession intersected with his personal life and after his suicide, it was discovered he was responsible for the deaths of several children. Unbeknownst to Ben and his new friends, the Marsten House is about to be inhabited by the vampire Kurt Barlow. It is later revealed that Hubie Marsten had in fact communicated with the erstwhile Barlow, and that in the course of their correspondence Marsten may have extended to Barlow the necessary invitation to come to 'Salem's Lot.

Mears discovers that the Marsten House has been bought by a Mr. Straker and a Mr. Barlow, appearing as a pair of businessmen who are opening an antique store in town, although only the tall, bald Mr Straker has yet been seen in public. Their arrival coincides with the disappearance of a young boy, Ralphie Glick, and the suspicious death of his brother Danny. Over the course of the book, the town is slowly taken over by vampires, reducing it to a ghost town by day as they sleep.

Ben and Susan are joined by Matt Burke and his doctor Jimmy Cody, along with a young boy named Mark Petrie and the local priest, Father Callahan, in an effort to stop the vampires from dominating the town. When Mark Petrie and Susan break and enter into the Marsten House, they are found and taken prisoner by Mr. Straker. Mark is able to wound Straker (who is eventually killed by the master vampire Barlow for failing his duties), but Susan is captured by Barlow before Mark has a chance to rescue her. When Mark returns to the others, the characters begin to run into several unfortunate tragedies. Susan, while held hostage by Barlow, becomes a vampire herself, and is sent (unsuccessfully) after Mark Petrie, before being left by Barlow in the cellar of the Marsten House with a note daring his adversaries to kill her. Father Callahan is caught by Barlow at the Petrie house, and after killing Mark's parents, forces Callahan to throw away his cross in return for Mark's life. Barlow forces Callahan to drink blood from his own neck, corrupting his soul so that he can no longer even approach a church, and driving the ex-priest to flee the town. Finally, Jimmy Cody is killed when he falls into a dark basement and is impaled by knife traps set by Barlow, while Matt Burke dies from a heart attack in the nearby hospital.

In the end Ben and young Mark Petrie succeed in destroying the master vampire Barlow, but, lucky to escape with their lives, are forced to leave the town to the crop of newly created vampires. The novel's prologue, which is set shortly after the end of the story proper, describes Ben and Mark's flight across the country to a seaside town in Mexico, where they stop to recover from their ordeal.

An epilogue has the two returning to the town a year later, intending to renew the battle. Ben, knowing that there are too many hiding places for the town's vampires, sets some underbrush on fire in an attempt to destroy as many homes as possible thus making the vampires easier to hunt. The Marsten House serves as an eventual pyre when it is burned down by Mark Petrie and Ben Mears.

"...the Lot's knowledge of the country's torment was academic. Time went on a different schedule there. Nothing too nasty could happen in such a nice little town. Not there."
- Salem's Lot, Stephen King