Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Way Back Wednesday - 'Salem's Lot

I have totally shifted gears with this week's Way Back Wednesday. With all the hubbub about the possiblity of a new Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie - without Joss Whedon, I may add - I've been thinking about my favorite vampire novels. 'Salem's Lot is the very first book I ever read of Stephen King's, starting a 32+ year obsession. 'Salem's Lot is also the first vampire book I read, although my love of vampires started in 1966 with Barnabas Collins on Dark Shadows.

'Salem's Lot is a 1975 horror novel written by Stephen King, and was his second published novel. The title King originally chose for his book was Second Coming but he later decided on Jerusalem's Lot. The publishers eventually shortened it to the current title, thinking the author's choice sounded too religious.

Ben Mears, a successful writer who grew up in the (fictional) town of Jerusalem's Lot, Maine (or “The Lot”, as the locals call it), has returned home following the death of his wife. Ben plans to write a book about the Marsten House, an abandoned mansion that gave him nightmares after a bad experience with it as a child.

The Marsten House has been purchased by Mr. Straker and Mr. Barlow, a business pair who plans to open an Antique Mall, even though Straker is the only one who is ever seen in public. The arrival of this pair in town coincides with the disappearence of a local boy, Ralphie Glick, and the suspicious death of his brother Danny.

Over the course of the book, the town is slowly taken over by vampires, reducing it to a ghost town by day as they sleep.

King has stated that during a high school class he taught, he was inspired by Bram Stoker's Dracula and wondered what would happen if Dracula lived in 20th century America. King originally wrote of Jerusalem's Lot in a short story which was eventually published in the collection Nightshift. He is said to have also drawn heavily from the works of H. P. Lovecraft.

The novel has been adapted into a television mini-series twice, first in 1979 and then in 2004. The novel was also adapted by the BBC as a seven part radio play in 1995.


Literary Feline said...

I hadn't heard the news of a new Buffy movie! Without Joss though . . . I hope it turns out well if they do make it.

I've never read Salem's Lot. It sounds good though! I think my first real encounter with vampires in literature was Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire, followed by Lestat.

I read Dracula a couple of years ago for the first time and really liked it.

Lynn Irwin Stewart said...

Like you, I cut my teeth (pun intended) on Dark Shadows and Barnabas Collins -- and SALEM'S LOT was the first King novel I ever read. It scared me. Really scared me. And so did the first miniseries.

Stephanie said...

I remember reading this book in Jr. High. I remember it vividly, because it scared the bejesus out of me. It really was the first book to ever give me nightmares!!

To this day, I love 'Salem's Lot!

oh said...

A new buffy movie will be grand! But honestly, when I read the "scary" well written vampire/ghost/haunting stuff, egads, it's far more "effective" than movies. I have not read to completion one single stephen king novel! (gasp) yes, it's true!

Ann H. Gabhart said...

I understand about the spammers, Bobbi. Had that problem on my blog too. And you always have fun reviews, so I'm sure readers will still be talking to you. Loved the book title you had a few days ago about the dead person following his sister around. That's great. A good title can really grab a reader's interest.

C. B. James said...

I think this is one of his best books and I'm read more Stephen King than I care to admit to.