Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rare Flix: A Return to Salem's Lot

This is much less of a Return and more of a confusing, first visit.  In 1979, Salem's Lot was made for television.  In 1987, Larry Cohen decided to make his own version.  Rather than build off of the book or follow the mini-series, he went off in a weird direction.  It's hard to explain, really.  The film does take place in Salem's Lot and features a man returning to town for the first time in nearly 30 years.  That makes you think that it is a Remake, but that's not entirely true.  This film builds off of the ending of the previous film adaptation (sort of) by having the town be full of Vampires.  Of course, that is ignoring the idea that the Vampires are supposed to be hunting our heroes.  So what is this film?  I'll be damned if I know, but it is a Larry Cohen film.  That makes me interested, whether he's just a Writer (Phone Booth, Maniac Cop 1-3) or as a Director (Special Effects, It's Alive 1-3).  This film is nothing if it's not weird, so let's just dive right in...
In Central America (both films begin like this- odd), Michael Moriarty ('natch) is a Journalist covering Native rituals, which, well, involve people dying.  He covers the story, but doesn't stop the deaths.  He = heartless.
 He's called back to America to help out his son, who's not exactly fitting into society.  He takes his son to his old home- Silent Hill.

Oh sorry, it's actually Salem's Lot.  I mean, Jerusalem's Lot.  Salem's Lot?  Just pick one, movie!
In the first Vampire scene, you learn that one thing is different here- these Vampires are rubber masks.  Freaky, but definitely different than in Salem's Lot!
The Vampires take Moriarty in and give him a strange task: make their 'Bible' and tell their tale.

Speaking of their tale, they claim to have come to America on the FOURTH ship that left England in search of 'religious tolerance.'  Vampire Pilgrims- awesome, but silly as shit!
Moriarty's son is drawn into the group and begins to turn.  Was he bit?  Apparently not (given how the film ends), but that just raises more questions.

For one- how is (Jeru)Salem's Lot so close to Madison County?
You know what most Vampire Films are missing?  A Nazi Hunter!  That's right- A Return to Salem's Lot features a character who's a Nazi Hunter.  I can't stress that enough.
Our heroes work together to kill the Vampires during the day, since they only have like two guys guarding them.  You've been alive for hundreds of years, but can barely defend yourselves?  So sad.
After the big showdown, our heroes burn their coffins, putting an end to these oddly-ineffectual Vampires existence, save for one of them...
The Town's Mayor puts up a fight, but also meets his end.

The day is saved, thanks to a heartless Journalist, his Bi-Polar son and a Swiss Nazi Hunter.  Don't get to say that every day.  The End.
No matter what this is, it's weird!  What can I say about this movie?  It could be a sequel.  It could be a Remake.  Regardless, it's a bizarre film.  The Vampires are bizarre.  The story is full of odd events.  The whole thing is just kooky.  Whether it's Moriarty having sex with his old girlfriend (who's the same age as before) who's a vampire or Moriarty asking his 13 year-old son if he got lucky, this movie is odd.  I'm not sure how GOOD it is though.  The tone and pacing are strange & it never quite got going in the way that I was hoping for.  It would tease something big...and just peter out.  The finale is good, although its pacing was certainly odd.  One thing I should say is that I'm neck-deep in Vampire films, both with the Salem's Lot films and stuff for June.  It makes some of this stuff blend together, something I can guarantee won't happen to you if you watch it.  Speaking of which, why is this one also hard to find?  The first one had the stigma/legality of being a Made-for-TV movie, not to mention being an IP based on a book.  This one is just 'Based on Characters Created by Stephen King.'  That's code for 'We made some crazy shit, so here's your check, Mr. King.'  As a whole, the film is a mixed bag of crazy.  Take us away, sign that confuses things even more...
Next up, a Holiday that's all about the Military and their service.  For me- an excuse to talk about giant bugs.  Stay tuned...

No comments:

Post a Comment