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Tobe Hooper's Salem's Lot: Studies in the Horror Film Paperback – April 8, 2014
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Excellent photos and artwork throughout, but a few of the interviews were redundant in the stories told. The most surprising thing is that "Salem's Lot" was filmed between July 10 and August 29, 1979 - then broadcast later that same year.
The worst interview is with Stephen King. He didn't like Barlow becoming a Nosferatu-like creature. Of course, that's one of the things that made this so scary for a made-for-TV movie, and Barlow is one of the reasons we're still talking about "Salem's Lot." Just like the (original) films "The Shining" and "Carrie," "Salem's Lot" outshines it's source material.
The original "Salem's Lot" was released as a miniseries in 1979. Tobe Hooper's talents are Legion. There's something so fundamentally wrong about this movie--the spacing of the sequences, the placid New England atmosphere which is perverted by the slow revelation of each foul vampire. Like the one on the cover. Just look at how wrong that is with the now deceased Geoffrey Lewis. He hangs in the air in a negative gravity--his supernatural nature is not cool or amazing (or "Twilight" glittery or whatever), it is just wrong.
This book maximizes the wrongness by providing us with interviews from all the actors, but more specifically the pictures. We see Reggie Nalder (a really fun guy who starred in "Mark of the Devil" and as an assassin in "The Man Who Knew Too Much". He'd had acid thrown in his face by an insane German nanny. Though he did not feel Mr. Barlow was given enough exposure, he would go down in history as Mr. Barlow, the really terrifying blue vampire.) I think David Soul gave a fantastic performance in this and that was as good as Christopher Walken or any of the other leading King movie guys. It would be his only and last great performance.
Something must have been loose on the set of this movie; the pictures of the Marsten House, where the rarely seen Barlow sleeps and James Mason's Straker, a dangerous sadist, keeps him happy and brings snacks. More than a tale of good and evil, this has the Lovecraftian air of a decayed supernatural skunk found in Maine. I had to look at all the pictures of Mr. Barlow from the European release; though Nalder, who did theater for the Nazis in his heyday, was 73 years old when he played the part, the cast was marveled at how young he seemed during shooting.
Even when Ben Mears, David Soul's character, stakes Mr. Barlow there is a subtly awful sense that he has really accomplished nothing. There's so much stinking evil left that he and Lance Kerwin (a drug addicted 70's young rebel actor who converted to Methodism), who plays Soul's sidekick, that you get the impression they've gotten in contact with something so foul that they will only combat it and run from it forever. The most amusing interview was with Mr. Nalder, who mentions that he plays a Nazi dominatrix in an avant grade porn movie called "Blue Ice". (Nalder backed up what many women have said since; that Hitchcock was a perv. He stared the actor's crotch and gave him unsolicited massages.) Mason and Nalder had worked with Hitchcock; nobody else had. They all clearly knew that.
A sort of final reckoning for those who put this movie above The Shining, above all of King's other movies because they get it. Stephen King does not understand movies; he's a really good guy and author but every time he gets involved with his own movies they turn out bad. Recommended.
Thank you for selling me this book.