SALEM’S LOT Will Skip Theaters and Release On Max in 2024

One of Stephen King’s earliest novels is coming to the screen, but it won’t be the big screen anymore. The Hollywood Reporter initially revealed that Annabelle Comes Home director Gary Dauberman is helming a big-screen adaptation of Salem’s Lot. The epic vampire tale was one of King’s earliest success stories and was his follow-up novel to his breakthrough hit Carrie in 1975. Dauberman will not only direct the film, but he’s writing the screenplay as well. He also wrote the screenplay for both chapters of the blockbuster It. Horror maestro James Wan is one of the film’s producers. But, after some shakeups in the Warner Bros. release schedule, Salem’s Lot will actually skip theaters and head straight to Max in 2024. And that’s a shame because it has Stephen King’s very own seal of approval.

Here’s what we know about this Salem’s Lot adaptation.

Stephen King's SALEM'S LOT Getting a Big Screen Remake_1

Warner Brothers

Salem’s Lot Release Date

Salem’s Lot had an original theatrical release date of April 21, 2023. But in a recent slew of release date changes which included shifting release dates for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and Shazam! Fury of the Gods, the movie has found itself without a date at all. But now, Max has officially shared that the Stephen King adaptation will be coming to Max in 2024.

Max shares in a release:

New Line’s film adaptation of Stephen King’s 1975 bestselling novel “Salem’s Lot” will debut on Max in 2024. Salem’s Lot reunites the producing teams behind the record-breaking horror franchises “The Conjuring” universe and the “IT” films. Gary Dauberman writes, directs, and executive produces with James Wan and Michael Clear for Atomic Monster and Roy Lee for Vertigo alongside Mark Wolper.

Salem’s Lot Synopsis

Max also revealed the official logline for the Stephen King movie. It shared:

Author Ben Mears returns to his childhood home of Jerusalem’s Lot in search of inspiration for his next book only to discover his hometown is being preyed upon by a bloodthirsty vampire.

Stephen King Opines on the Salem’s Lot Movie

We might assume that all this shifting around indicates the upcoming Salem’s Lot movie isn’t much good. But one important voice is speaking out to contradict that hypothesis. Stephen King himself took to Twitter to share that the Salem’s Lot movie is a quality one. In fact, King shared, “I’ve seen the new SALEM’S LOT and it’s quite good.”

In full, Stephen King noted, “Between you and me, Twitter, I’ve seen the new SALEM’S LOT, and it’s quite good. Old-school horror filmmaking: slow build, big payoff. Not sure why WB is holding it back; not like it’s embarrassing, or anything. Who knows. I just write the fucking things.”

Well, we suppose it’s good news that the movie is good. But that makes us sadder that it’s in such limbo. Hopefully, we will hear more news about it soon.

Salem’s Lot Cast

Lewis Pullman (Bad Times at the El Royale) will play the story’s lead character, Ben Mears. Ben Mears is an author who discovers a bloodthirsty vampire is preying on his childhood hometown. Additional cast includes Alfre Woodard as Dr. Cody, Makenzie Leigh as Susan Norton, Bill Camp as Matthew Burke, Spencer Treat Clark as Mike Ryerson, Pilou Asbæk as Straker, and John Benjamin Hickey as Father Callahan.

In the novel, Alfre Woodard’s character is actually Dr. Jimmy Cody. Jimmy helps Ben Mears (Pullman), Susan Norton (Leigh), and Matt Burke (Camp) fight against the vampires. Pilou Asbæk’s Straker, meanwhile, is the vampire’s familiar, or servant, who gets his hands plenty dirty as well. Finally, as mentioned, John Benjamin Hickey will portray Father Callahan. We feel interested to see how this character will evolve in the movie.

The History of Salem’s Lot

Salem’s Lot is essentially a modern retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and centers on an author who returns to his hometown in Maine (King’s home state) to write about a creepy abandoned mansion that’s haunted him since childhood. Not long after arriving back home, he finds out that the mansion was bought by a mysterious and reclusive antiques dealer, who is a vampire master. After turning several of the locals into his vampire minions, the author and several other townsfolk join together to put an end to the undead infestation.

The 1979 Mini-Series

The novel was turned into a two-part mini-series in 1979. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Tobe Hooper directed this Stephen King adaptation. It was big success and re-aired on TV for years. It was later edited down into a shorter runtime and released on VHS, where it became a favorite rental choice among horror fans. The scene were a young boy sees his vampified friend float to his window in the middle of the night traumatized an entire generation, myself included.

The original mini-series made several changes to the book, most notably turning the talkative vampire master Kurt Barlow into more of a Nosferatu-style vampire, who doesn’t speak and is more animalistic and terrifying looking. Although this was very different from the novel, the mini-series Barlow was a horrifying and memorable creation.

The 2004 Mini-Series

A TNT mini-series that stuck closer to the book released in 2004. It featured Rutger Hauer as Barlow and Rob Lowe in the lead. This was another vampiric notch on the actor’s belt. Not only was he the physical inspiration for Anne Rice’s Lestat, but he played vamps in movies like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Argento’s Dracula, and Dracula III: Legacy. It remains to be seen if this new version of Barlow will stick closer to the ’70s mini-series or the 2004 one, or go off in a completely new direction.

One thing is for sure, though. This is one King adaptation we can’t wait to sink our fangs into.

Featured Image: Warner Brothers

Originally published on April 20, 2020.

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