Salem's Lot (2004 miniseries)
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|Based on||'Salem's Lot|
by Stephen King
|Screenplay by||Peter Filardi|
|Directed by||Mikael Salomon|
|Theme music composer||Christopher Gordon|
|No. of episodes||2|
|Producer(s)||Jeffrey M. Hayes|
Marc van Buuren
|Running time||181 minutes|
|Original release||June 20 –|
June 21, 2004
Salem's Lot is a 2004 American two-part television mini-series which first aired on TNT on June 20 and ended its run on June 21, 2004. It is the second television adaptation of Stephen King's 1975 vampire novel of the same name (the first version was made in 1979).
Although the novel and original miniseries were both set in the 1970s, this version updates the story to take place in the 2000s. The story is still set in a small Maine town, but the mini-series was actually shot on location at Creswick and Woodend, in Central Victoria, Australia.
Ben, a successful writer, returns to his hometown, Jerusalem's Lot (also known as 'Salem's Lot), intending to write a novel. He tells Susan Norton, a waitress and former art student, that when he was a child he accepted a dare to enter the house of Hubie Marsten. Local legend said that Marsten he murdered children. Ben overheard Marsten begging for his life before seemingly committing suicide. Ben believes he heard Marsten's last victim crying for help, but Ben was too afraid to find or help him. Ben plans to rent the house to bring catharsis to himself and gather material for his novel, but discovers it has been sold by Larry Crockett to antique dealers Richard Straker and Kurt Barlow.
Crockett is an immoral businessman who sexually abuses his teenage daughter Ruth. When Ruth spends time with a disabled garbageman named Dud Rodgers, Crockett fires him. Eva Prunier, proprietor of the boarding house where Ben stays, played evil games with Hubie Marsten when she and her peers were teenagers. Charlie Rhodes, cruelty-obsessed Vietnam veteran and school bus driver, torments the children he transports. Trailer park residents Roy and Sandy McDougall physically abuse their baby, blackmailing Dr. Jimmy Cody after he has an affair with Sandy.
Following Straker and Barlow's arrival, local child Ralphie Glick is murdered. His brother Danny sickens and dies after being visited by Ralphie, who has become a vampire. Barlow meets Dud Rodgers, offering him a chance to be free of his physical disability, which he accepts, becoming a vampire. Laborer Mike Ryerson buries Danny after his funeral, then also sickens and dies. He returns from the grave as a vampire to tempt gay high school teacher Matt Burke, who repels him but suffers a heart attack. Ben's blossoming relationship with Susan causes jealousy with her old boyfriend Floyd Tibbits. Floyd is bitten by Dud and slowly becomes a vampire. After starting a fight with Ben, Floyd and Ben spend the night in jail, and Floyd uses his supernatural abilities to crawl through the ventilation shaft to taunt Ben. Ben refuses to allow him to enter his cell, and Floyd is found dead in his own cell the following morning, having chewed open his wrists in an attempt to drink his own blood.
Susan and schoolboy Mark Petrie are captured by Straker when they break into the Marsten house. Mark escapes, but Susan is taken to the cellar to meet Barlow. Ben, Mark, Callahan and Cody begin acting as vampire hunters. In the Marsten house, they find Straker's body hanging from the rafters. They begin destroying the sleeping vampires in the cellar, but Ben discovers Susan has been turned. Instead of destroying her, Ben intends to find and destroy Barlow, hopeful Susan might be restored upon his destruction.
After Barlow kills Mark's mother, Callahan tries saving Mark by confronting Barlow, but finds his religious faith is not strong enough. Callahan is forced to drink Barlow's blood, turning Callahan into his servant. Larry sees Ruth join Dud in the night, and despite his wish to be with her, is consumed by the vampires. The town's ranking police officer, Sheriff Parkins, discovers what is going on in Salem's Lot and decides to leave.
In the hospital, Matt Burke is murdered by Callahan. Ben, Jimmy and Mark realize Barlow is hiding at Eva's boarding house, but as they arrive there, Jimmy is killed by a booby trap. Ben and Mark destroy Barlow, but not before he taunts Ben, likening Ben to himself as another parasite who preys on the tragedies of others. Destroying Barlow has not saved Susan, who arrives at the house. Susan tells Ben that the boy he failed to rescue was already dead; Ben was never to blame. When Susan turns to attack Mark, Ben destroys her. Ben and Mark set the Marsten House alight, and during a chase with Charlie, who was vampirized by the town's children, a gas station is damaged and explodes. As fires spread through the town, Callahan vows revenge against Ben while the town's vampirized population flock to him.
As Ben concludes his story, the orderly realizes Ben was not acting alone. The orderly finds Callahan dead, suffocated with a pillow. Mark slips into Ben's room and tells him the vampire hunt is over. Ben suffers a cardiac arrest. The orderly finds Mark at a locked exit to the hospital but lets him go. Doctors struggle to keep Ben alive as he begins passing away, finally at peace.
- Rob Lowe as Ben Mears
- Samantha Mathis as Susan Norton
- Rutger Hauer as Kurt Barlow
- Donald Sutherland as Richard Straker
- Andre Braugher as Matt Burke
- James Cromwell as Father Callahan
- Robert Mammone as Dr. Jimmy Cody
- Dan Byrd as Mark Petrie
- Tara Morice as Joyce Petrie
- Andy Anderson as Charlie Rhodes
- Robert Grubb as Larry Crockett
- Penny McNamee as Ruth Crockett
- Steven Vidler as Sheriff Parkins
- Brendan Cowell as Dud Rogers
- Christopher Morris as Mike Ryerson
- Todd MacDonald as Floyd Tibbits
- Paul Ashcroft as Royce McDougall
- André De Vanny as Danny Glick
- Zac Richmond as Ralphie Glick
- Rebecca Gibney as Marjorie Glick
- Joe Petruzzi as Tony Glick
- Bree Desborough as Sandy McDougall
- Elizabeth Alexander as Ann Norton
- Julia Blake as Eva Prunier
- Martin Vaughan as Ed "Weasel" Craig
- Betty Bobbitt as Nurse (uncredited)
- Daniel Smorgon as Young Ben
In his memoir, Love Life, Rob Lowe stated that Rutger Hauer showed up on set and did not know his lines. Lowe said, "I once starred in a big miniseries that culminated with the villain giving a two-page monologue trying to goad me into killing him. The actor playing the bad guy wanted to ad lib his own version of the movie-ending speech. Although he was playing a vampire, he went into a soliloquy about being a cowboy. The director was not impressed. After a very tense negotiation, the actor was forced to shit-can his self-penned opus and stick to the original script. There was only one problem: He hadn't bothered to learn it." Lowe went on to state that cue cards were placed next to Lowe's head and Hauer read the lines to him.
- Love Life, by Rob Lowe (2014) p. 56