Salem’s Lot was Scariest TV Movie Ever Made

Salem’s Lot was Scariest TV Movie Ever Made

So my family was lucky enough to own a VCR around 1980. With corded remote control, top loading tray, and an audio dub feature, this RCA was a work of art.

And like many families in our neighborhood, we traded VHS tapes. Somehow, we got a tape that had TWO awesome made for TV movies on it. One was Captain America 2: Death Too Soon (which I blogged about on this site some months back) AND..the second half of the Salem’s Lot mini-series on CBS, directed by Tobe Hooper.

Have you ever seen the 1979 Salem’s Lot mini-series? It’s quite honestly THE SCARIEST FREAKING MOVIE (TV or NOT) EVER MADE. Now, I believed that when I was 9 years old watching it on VHS and I believe it now, when I’m 38 years old watching it on..well, VHS tape. I bought a two cassette set a few years ago.

The scene where Danny Glick floats into his brother’s room? FREAKY. That part where Mike Ryerson is rocking in the chair, waiting to feast on his own teacher? WATCH THAT RIGHT BEFORE YOU GO TO SLEEP.

The film freaked me out SO much, that on palm Sunday (which happened to be around the time I watched the tape for the first time), I grabbed a handful of extra palms, and put them on all the doors of my house. No, I’m not making that up.

That retro bumper, while awesomely groovy, doesn’t do the film justice. Well acted, well directed, well scored, well written – this mini-series delivers on every level. Starring James Mason, David Soul, Lance Kerwin and a SMOKING HOT Bonnie Bedelia, it’s top notch and one of my must see Halloween viewings.

Also, do some digging on YouTube – the whole film is there. But don’t say I didn’t warn you. Fine, you can say it, but doesn’t mean it’s true.

Look at me….teacher!

(NOTE – Do NOT watch Salem’s Lot: The Movie from 1979 – it’s a two hour cut down of the mini-series and severely lacking in the full length’s awesomeness. And don’t be confused with the 2004 TNT Salem’s Lot mini-series starring Rob Lowe. It’s good, but not 1979 Salem’s Lot mini-series good. And don’t bother with A Return To Salem’s Lot. Look, I’m just being thorough for you guys.)

Patrick J. Doody

Patrick J. Doody is a horror nerd and Mexican Pepsi enthusiast living in Los Angeles. He writes movies and makes TV shows. Check out his latest endeavor, Beyond Stranger Things streaming on Netflix.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Saw this for the first time on tv back in the fall of ’81, it was broadcast just before halloween. The Glick kid floating to Mark’s window was freaky as hell, but the thing that stuck with me the most was the part with Barlow versus the priest in the kitchen and the part with the Glick kid being buried at the cemetery. Yikes.

    Own it on dvd now and like to watch it every October, so I suppose I’m due soon.

    And yeah – the 2004 version is… aggressively mediocre. As for A Return to Salem’s Lot, the less said the better ;)

  2. Agreed. The scene where the boy floats into the bedroom is super creepy. It has a Hammer Horror look to it but it actually does that look much better.

  3. Reggie Nalder is amazing as Barlow. That make-up job is one of my all time favorites!

  4. There are so many great scares in every corner of this film. When Mike Ryerson opens the Glick coffin and the kid comes to life.

    Holy shitballs.

  5. Just wish those models were available now that Mark was working on. I have spotted the Aurora Mummy but the others I think were kit bashed. Make them now Moebius! I too bought Salem´s Lot the movie on VHS and it ends with Mark and Hutch burning the house. I saw the whole thing on youtube this week. All 19 parts of it. So good. Have they released this version on DVD yet?

  6. Great post, Patrick!
    I’ve mentioned this before but when the mini-series first aired I was forced to go to bed by my Grandparents. While my Aunts and Uncles and other relatives watched the series…my two cousins and I were forced to listen to it as we waited to go to sleep.

    The cries of fear from my Grandmother and that of the “Glick boy” were about 1000% scarier than if they would have let me stay in the living room and watch the mini-series! :)

  7. Agreed, one of the scariest TV movies.

  8. I’ve been a horror movie buff since I was a kid and reading about all of your experiences with the made for tv mini series ” Salom’s lot ” brought back some (now) fond memories of not being able to turn the lights out in my room after watching this very well made movie when I was seventeen years old.
    I could swear that something was scratching on my window , this movie caused me to loose sleep for more than just one night.
    Heck I’m 48 years old and I may loose sleep over it tonight.

    Thanks for the memories
    Mr. Mark Carr Sr.

  9. I forgot to mention……when the Glick boy came to Mark’s room and was scratching on his window saying” let me in Mark”. That really hit home to me because ………well I guess you can figure that one out for yourself.

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