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Posted: Thu Jun 03, 2004 11:02 pm
by Remo D
I'm happy to report that the upcoming 'SALEM'S LOT miniseries/remake on TNT is a worthy endeavor and one of the more satisfying Stephen King-derived television projects I've seen.

Some of the updates seem merely nominal (presence of the Internet, etc.) while others tie in effectively to the new versions of the familiar characters (Rob Lowe's Ben Mears was a prisoner in Afghanistan--and his rescue took a controversial, Pulitzer Prize-winning turn). But the tweaks to the story and characters in Peter Filardi's adaptation are exceptionally well-planned to prevent those overly familiar with King's novel or (especially) with Tobe Hooper's 1979 miniseries from constantly second-guessing where the Mikael Salomon (BAND OF BROTHERS) version will go.

There's nothing to remind people of David Soul, James Mason or the non-speaking, NOSFERATU-derived Barlow here. Donald Sutherland plays Straker with equal parts menace and oddball humor, and Rutger Hauer was an excellent choice as Barlow (they couldn't resist bringing him in for a substantial dialogue scene in the first installment)--and yes, this time you get the full treatment as he challenges Father Callahan (James Cromwell) to a challenge of faith.

We're also free of late-70s network standards and practices--that means essentially that the language is a little stronger (we've crossed the "bullshit" barrier again) and that the gore/violence level, while still nowhere near an unrated 80's theatrical experience is occasionally startlingly harsh (no antlers here--but look out for THAT scene!).

Computer technology is employed, of course--sometimes it's a tiny bit distracting and/or gratuitous, but the vampire contortions and disintegrations are never lingered on for too long a time, and an X-FILES inspired bit in a prison cell (completely original to this rendition) is especially creepy, and the scares and shocks do the trick efficiently throughout the running time--and coupled with the disturbing backstory created for Mears' childhood experience in the Marsten House, they make the new 'SALEM'S LOT a standout in its arena.

Now, of course, I got to see this in its uninterrupted entirety (and can basically anticipate what the eventual video release will look like). I'm not certain what the two-night, commercial-interrupted, credit-squashed TNT cablecast will do for the attention span of most viewers, but it ought to do quite well, and I'd like to see more where it came from.

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 12:39 am
by Demolition Hammer
There's no possible way it could be any worse than the horrible original movie.

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 7:45 pm
by Remo D
Been meaning to ask someone about that... since when did Tobe Hooper's 1979 SALEM'S LOT become a "horrible" movie? I thought it did the job quite nicely back then--some great creepy moments and jumps along with some terrific casting.

Now, granted, I've never seen the condensed SALEM'S LOT: THE MOVIE--I would imagine it's a veg-o-matic nightmare. But I have the original full-length miniseries handy, and I still like it quite a bit.

Regardless, the new version still comes with a strong recommendation.

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 8:29 pm
by Chris Slack
Hell, I even liked "Return to Salems Lot". The miniseries is definitely the way to go for the older one.

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 9:37 pm
by I am 138
I have not seen the full miniseries, but really didn't like Salem's Lot: THe Movie. Aside from the Nosferatu inspired vamps, of course. I am a bit biased though, liking nothing Hooper's done aside from his Saw films.

Posted: Thu Jun 10, 2004 9:29 pm
by Demolition Hammer
Originally posted by I am 138
Aside from the Nosferatu inspired vamps,
That's part of why it was so bad. I just didn't like the movie at all, the acting was bad, the story was too condensed, and the effects were bad. It may not be a horrible movie to everyone, but it is to me.

Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2004 12:27 pm
by DylanDog
I gotta admit, you were right on. I watched this Sunday/Monday and thought it was really good, definitely better than the original. The CGI didn't bother me at all, in fact I thought it was rather well done. Donald Sutherland was great as was Rutger Hauer. Rob Lowe was ok in his onscreen stuff, but I wasn't overly impressed with his narration. He sounded just like a mediocre actor reading his lines rather than a character deeply involved with the preceedings.

I did have a few issues with it, like why was Barlow able to crash through the windows at the Petrie house? I don't recall anyone inviting him in. And why were the vampires at the end more like zombies, other than it would be easier for the few survivors to escape? And I wonder if Todd McFarlane/Clive Barker got a cut as their 12" Venal Anatomica figure was featured prominently. And why oh why, did they have to even suggest that those two old people had sex?

After the last few Stephen Kind tv projects were not really that good, I wonder how many people decided to skip this one. If you did, you missed out.

Posted: Fri Jun 25, 2004 7:59 am
by Latte Thunder
I tried to catch these, but as usual, I was otherwise disposed. I started to watch a midnight rerun of the first episode and fell asleep through an hour of it, so I figured there was no point in watching the rest. I'm a stickler for continuity and if I can't see it from the start, then I don't bother at all.

I'm sure they'll rerun the hell out of it as that is the TNT way and there will be a DVD release, so I'll get to see it eventually.