Rayzor’s Retro Review: Salem’s Lot (2004)

It has taken me a long time, long time to sit and watch the 2004, TNT Salem’s Lot.  I really never heard much about the mini series and the only things I knew about it were, Rob Lowe and Donald Sutherland were both in it together.  I remember seeing this and thinking, damn it would have to be hard to redo or top what the original mini series did.  But here we are, 25 years later and the remake happened.

I had to wait to get it on DVD, and it cam with the Mini series for IT and the Shining and its 6-hour original run time.  The question is, was it worth buying?  I mean, I already own IT on DVD and Blu Ray.  But I did feel I needed the Shining and I had a slight interested in Salem’s Lot.  So, yeah it is, but the collector in me hates the packaging and would love to have single editions of the DVDs.

It is a nice little collection, but I am not a fan of movies being broken up over multiple discs.  The Shining is three discs, IT two discs, luckily Salem’s Lot is three hours all on one disc.  Si that makes me happy, the bad thing, not much for special features.  “IT” has come to Blu Ray, but I have serious doubts for the other two.  But you never know, “IT” and the original Salem’s Lot have had Blu Ray releases, who knows?  You can get this collection for 10 bucks on Amazon, click the picture to get it.


Ben Mears, a writer returns to the small Maine town of Jerusalem’s Lot (also known as Salem’s Lot), where he spent the first few years of his life, to write a book. Little does he or the townfolk realize that a couple of other new residents are coming…Straker, an antiques dealer, and his partner and master Barlow, a ancient and malevolent vampire bent on making Salem’s Lot his new home

I will have to remember this is still a TV mini series.  I think Salem’s Lot deserves a full R rated movie.  But to be honest, that does not even really need to happen.  The mini series was on cable lite, TNT.  Not too bad, and Salem’s Lot may not need to show excessive amounts of violence or blood or sexuality, so this could have been fine.  There are a few changes made in the remake, but the bones are still there.  Things that happen in the story take you back to the original mini series from 1979.  But, there is a little more added to the characters and their development, another side story here or there.

The casting is done well for the time period.  Donald Sutherland was good and super creepy in his role.  Rob Lowe fits the character of Ben Mears.  I think they all worked together well and it was somewhat believable.  Throughout the movie or mini series, you do end up caring more for each of them and kind of root for them in some situation.  I know it would have been strange. but Rutger Hauer as Kurt Barlow was good, but not blue.  I loved the Barlow blue, also Hauer was only ok in the role.  He has limited screen time, like the original, but it was uneven, not his best performance.

The tone and feeling over the mini series was perfect.  I really loved the way it seemed you could look up from anywhere in town and see the Marsten house sitting on the hill.  The Marsten house is way more imposing that the original, the creep factor is lower due to it looking over the town than just off some side road.

Overall the 2004 is good and I think it is worth a watch.  There are scenes where the town is overrun and has a ghost town feel.  But, I think this version does have the same Stephen King feel of many other movies based on his works.  I would say I prefer the original for sure, but I would like to see this done again.  I don’t know, but with Hulu doing Castle Rock, they could do a great 3-part mini series and we wouldn’t have to worry about it being rated for TV.

IMDB.com has a rating, surprisingly high of 6.2

I give this a rating of 6.4, so pretty close.

About Ray Marek III 697 Articles
I have been watching horror films since I was 6 years old. The story, one Saturday night, my mom and I were watching movies and she fell asleep on the couch. We had the channel set on HBO and the movie we were watching ended and the next one, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. This was some time in 1986. I watched then entire film, I was sitting on the edge of my seat. When my mom woke, she asked me what just ended and I told her, “Freddy”. That was all I talked about for weeks and finally she broke down and rented more horror films for me. She rented, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2, Re-Animator, Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives and Halloween II. I watched all and fell in love with horror films forever. 5 Horror Films to Watch Inferno (1980) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) The Beyond (1981) Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives (1986) Horror of Dracula (1958)