Every once in awhile, you see a headline in an entertainment rag, or on a Hollywood gossip site that trumps some news about … Salem’s Lot: The Movie!
And my heart skips a beat every time I see that clickbait because 1) Salem’s Lot was the most poop-stain-inducing, terrifying miniseries of all time and 2) I would love to see the 1979 horror classic hit the big screen.
You know, laundry bills notwithstanding.
Problem is … it will never happen.
Don’t believe me?
Well, then, let me enlighten you with these five reasons Salem’s Lot: The Movie will never happen …
Salem’s Lot Was Real
So, the big problem with Salem’s Lot when it comes to pushing the thing to the big screen — the problem that engenders all the rest — is that Salem’s Lot is real.
I mean, you ever wonder just how a simple little scene like a boy tapping on his brother’s window can make you pee your pants right there as you read this, drinking your morning coffee? Or pretending to work, or whatever?
It’s because, deep down, your gut (and other parts) realizes that, somehow, Salem’s Lot is no piece of fiction.
Ralphie really has become some Hell-beast, and that Hell-beast really did appear from out of the fog in the middle of the night … and he really is scratching on Danny’s window …
And … he really did just say, “Let me in.”
And … oh, God … Danny really is going to let him in.
Even if you’ve held it together for that long, your bladder is no match for a pasty white, bloated, Pennywise-grinning MFer floating across the windowsill to devour his brother.
Because … this is too hideous to not be real. Just like The Exorcist, but there at least you’ve seen Linda Blair on stuff since she made your blood run cold on the screen.
So, at least there’s a chance she really is an actress and was just playing a part.
But where have Brad Savage and Ronnie Scribner been for the last 40 years?
The “actors” who played the Glick brothers have been nowhere — they’re still playing in the misty moors of Maine, that’s where.
Real Vampires Are Scary
A corollary to the truth that Salem’s Lot is real is this other truth — real vampires are scary. They’re terrible beasts who will hunt you down and eat you and make you do awful things.
But modern cinema wants us to believe that vampires sparkle and play baseball and such.
And that they’re sexy.
Unless you think floating zombie things that come back in the night to suck your blood are sexy.
Or, unless you’re talking about Susan Norton (supposedly played by Bonnie Bedelia) right there at the end, before the suck-you-dry virus had completely ravaged her body.
But even then, you knew all she wanted to do was lure David Soul in for a meal, and she’d have left nothing behind but a blond-haired, blue-eyed, hunk-man version of herself.
And then he would have been floating around in the bog, preying on townspeople.
Also, lest you forget where the Salem monsters were headed should they manage to avoid stakes and the like for a few hundred years, just remember that their teeth seem to never stop growing, and their skin seems to never stop sallowing.
How sexy is Kurt Barlow again?
It’s Too Scary for the Big Screen
All of which is to say that Salem’s Lot, as a concept, is just too scary for the big screen.
I mean, can you imagine the amount of urine rolling down the aisles when Ralphie scratches at the window with ten-feet tall fingernails, his breath and tapping rumbling through the theater in full Dolby fidelity?
Can’t you already taste the mass hysteria when everyone first realizes Mike Ryerson has changed over?
And how many medical professionals would a theater have to staff to deal with the fallout of the larger-than-life terrors of Marsten House?
We saw it with The Exorcist and, to some extent, with Poltergeist.
But the former caught us cold — we didn’t know better … and the latter was fantastical enough that we could maintain a bit of disbelief.
Salem’s Lot, though — it’s real, and we have no business melting movie screens with its terror.
They’re All Old or Dead
Soul and Bedelia were the stars of the original Salem’s Lot, and they’re old now.
They can’t pull off the main-character gig … unless the whole thing is time-aged appropriately.
Old man Ben Mears comes back to Salem to make sure shit stayed calmed down all these years.
Finds out old woman vampire Susan Norton is still dead-dead instead of undead, only to find out … she’s not.
Ben decides that he’s, like, 80 now, so … why not give this immortality thing a try? I mean, dudes will do some strange things when the grave beckons.
Or when the shorties beckon.
And if they’re both beckoning at the same time?
Hmmm … this might actually work.
Where was I?
Not sure — something about all the people from the original being too old or dead to reprise this thing on the big screen.
But maybe they’re not.
I do know that Rob Lowe as the main vampire hunter doesn’t work. They tried that with a 2004 miniseries reboot version, and he was all smoldering and Twilight-y.
Even Donald Sutherland couldn’t save it.
I really need to focus to bring this home.
OK, so, the fifth reason why Salem’s Lot the movie will never happen …
You can’t have a successful movie these days without a superhero, or a dozen of them.
Marvel and DC have this down … so does Disney, if you’re liberal in your definition of “superhero.”
Even other Stephen King vehicles have superheroes — or at least supervillains.
I mean, depending on your life view, Pennywise could be either.
And The Shining? Take your pick — Jack, the hotel, Danny (creepy kid).
But where is the Superman in Salem’s Lot?
It’s not Barlow, because he’s hardly even around.
It’s not Ben, because he’s just bumbling along, trying not to get his heart broken or eaten.
And it’s not the Glicks, although they do sort of fly.
There’s nothing, so … there’s nothing.
The movie won’t happen.
Unless it does, and then I’ll be happy. And peeing my pants.
You’ve been warned.
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