Directed by Larry Cohen
Cast: Michael Moriarty, Samuel Fuller, Ricky Addison Reed
Warner Archives / Rated R / 1.85:1 Widescreen / English Mono / 101 minutes
Disc Extras: Nadda
Stop! Don’t read another word until the rules of watching A Return to Salem’s Lot have been explained. Rule #1: This is not a true sequel to Salem’s Lot. So forget Salem’s Lot. Rule#2: Forget about Stephen King. His book has no bearing on this film. Rule #3: You must step through the B-movie portal; if you are unwillingly to enjoy so bad it’s good cinema, you’re in for a long night. Turn back now, or keeping reading this review. You have been warned, fellow moviegoers. Larry Cohen fans (It’s Alive Trilogy, The Stuff) should be drooling their maws off right now. If you enjoy the low-budget charm to Cohen’s films, you will love A Return to Salem’s Lot. The pristine new transfer also makes it worth a revisiting.
Michael Moriarty is an anthropologist who’s a respected man in his field, and also a certifiable jerk. The story starts when his ex-wife dumps an estranged son and an estranged house located in Salem’s Lot on said “poor jerk”. This town, as we all can see from a mile away, is all vampires. A few drifters get sucked dry early on, and the head vampire makes an appearance in full-out-blue-rubber-faced ghoul mode. Shortly after that, our anthropologist figures out these odd residents are monsters. Instead of being killed, the head vampire wants to hit up our famous anthropologist to write their town’s history. The vamps invite father and son to stay and get comfortable through modes of seduction (even the younger son is hit on by a young Tara Reid in one of her first movie roles) and fear.
As our anthropologist is considering these terms, he starts losing his son to the vampire’s control. What’s a dad to do, right? Not much until a Nazi hunter in the form of an eccentric old man comes to town to start kicking some fucking vampire ass. B-movie time! Together, father and Nazi fight the vampire threat, what ultimately culminates to a funny/thrilling climax. Think lots of stake smashing into hearts, melting monsters, burning coffins, vampire taunting by our Nazi hunter, and cool synthesizer music cranked up to eleven. That’s not to say there aren’t any lulls in the plot, or low-budget gaffes, but those things only add to its charm. If you like cheesy flicks, this one’s going to satisfy your needs. But don’t forget my rules as stated above. Most people malign the film because of its departure from Salem’s Lot. Approach it on its own terms, and it really is a fun flick.
Warner Archives has one again delivered an excellent film transfer. The colors or crisp, the sound is clear, and frankly, the movie hasn’t seen a better release. It’s too bad there’s no extras to speak of, but hey, I can’t complain when the presentation is this stellar. A special note, this is a DVD-R, and will only work on “Play Only” devices.