‘Salem’s Lot (2004)
This dull 2004 miniseries stars Rob Lowe, Andre Braugher of ‘Last Resort’, Donald Sutherland, Samantha Mathis, Rutger Hauer and James Cromwell. It is not exactly faithful to the book. In a small town, evil spreads quickly as unseen malign forces gather and benighted characters are worryingly ignorant. This was first made into a miniseries in the 1970s that starred David Soul, James Mason and Bonnie Bedelia.
The characters are all mood hoovers. Sutherland does his usual unsubtle swivel-eyed lunatic act and a real estate agent is massively angry, joyless and a pervert. Matt (Branugher) is a teacher, Susan (Mathis) is doomed and Ben (Lowe) narrates and is unmistakably direct and speaks in a primly reticent way.
I wish I’d watched the 2009 ‘Children of the Corn’ miniseries instead of this. TPTB made some mystifying editorial decisions and this has harsh sharp blue lighting and Hollywood darkness. There are shout-outs to other Stephen King works such as a man singing ‘Stand By Me’ in a karaoke bar and another man yelling “Shut up Cujo!” at his dog.
Susan has a vile smother. Ben has unending flashbacks to a trauma he had as a child. There are no realistic emotions. The evil real estate agent is ominously controlling, treats people with contempt and lacks any natural warmth. Father Callahan (Cromwell) gets his plot rewritten, the trailer trash McDougall clan plot and Dr Cody falls prey not once but twice to convoluted plot gyrations. Dud the village idiot likes Ruth the angry real estate agent’s daughter. The big bad vampire (Hauer) isn’t very scary. Eva the boarding house owner seems stupid. This was not beautifully wrought and you would be hard-pushed to describe it as a profound artistic statement.
Susan is unbearably ponderous, Ben has absolutely no self-insight and is self-justifying and tragically and fundamentally disengaged. He obsesses over the misplaced vanity of modern life. Ben and Susan have no grand romance, no integral moments just inert and laboured dialogue. Mike and Floyd bore. People are psychotically vulnerable to the big bad vampire who looks like he should be holding a dog on some string and selling the Big Issue.
Eva’s pal Weasel bores, there is silly SFX, naff vampire contact lenses and all female vampires somehow get crimped hair. This was not made with the utmost respect for the text or the viewer. The sheriff who looks like Ed Harris tries to get away but does he? There is bad acting, random death and unintentional camp. This was wholly inconsistent with the book and sense. This was not a grand opus and lacks all internal logic. What happened to the baby and the Sherriff? This was nothing significant.
“Small town Shakespeare.”
“A thankless miserable business.”
“You can’t encourage that retard.”
“You swamp Yankees.”
“Dull mindless moronic evil.”
“Haunted houses are not my genre.”
“We’re standing on unhallowed ground.”
“He might be G’d out on some designer drug.”
“I’ll see you tonight!”
“Yeah, I’m really scared!”
“All the evil things slept.”
“It poisoned my life.”
“His infernal gods.”
“You don’t have any faith to keep me out.”
Live and Let Clive
This episode and the show in general are terrible. Major has a want of tact and no impeccable charm or charisma. Liv’s annoying brother shows up to annoy. Liv annoys, Blaine annoys and Liv is anxiety inducingly stupid. This ep was a rickety irrelevance. People behave in vaguely disrespectful ways. There is no constant vigilance over the growing zombie horde just swathes of stupidity. Liv zoms out and I am this close to dropping this unholy mess.
“Twisted wannbe ninja.”
“Your gang overlord.”
“Anxious fearful thought process with bouts of irrationality and delusion.”
“Don’t startle them, they’re thinking.”