For many years, Tobe Hooper’s made-for-TV adaptation of Stephen King’s second published novel, Salem’s Lot, was considered the gold standard for television adaptations of horror fiction. It contained several memorable scenes which have stood the test of time. The mini-series received three Emmy nominations for titles, makeup and music, and a sequel was produced in 1987 in the form of Return to Salem’s Lot, directed and written by Larry Cohen, he of It’s Alive! fame. It was again adapted for television in 2004 in a TNT miniseries starring Rob Lowe, who also appeared in Mick Garris’ The Stand miniseries adaptation of a King novel.
But for all it’s activity on television, Stephen King’s favorite of his own novels has never gotten the big screen treatment. Until now, of course. In recent years King’s works, long mired in sub-par television adaptations, have seen something of a renaissance, with the release of the wildly popular It in 2017 and the Hulu-produced series 11/22/63 and Castle Rock, the latter of which is receiving a second season. That return to theaters continued this spring with the long-awaited (if somewhat maligned) Pet Sematary remake-reboot-adaptation. And now the trend will bring King’s 1979 novel to the silver screen for the first time.
James Wan, visionary director of Aquaman, The Conjuring, and Saw will be producing the project. He will partner with writer Gary Dauberman, who was best known for his role as writer of the Conjuring series and the aforementioned massively popular It and the forthcoming It, Chapter Two. It’s unknown who will direct, though speculation points to Wan himself taking the helm.
Salem’s Lot tells the story of Ben Mears, who returns to his titular hometown in Maine, only to discover a disturbing trend. A stranger, Kurt Barlow, has bought the Marsten Mansion, long rumored to be a haunted house. Soon after his arrival, locals start disappearing. It’s up to Ben and his young ally Mark to make a last stand for the soul of the town.