Horror Month 2017 Day 19: Salem’s Lot

horror month 2017 header image

I started working in a video store at the age of eleven. It was part of something called The Shadow Program, wherein young kids from Brooklyn were allowed to get jobs at an early age as long as we kept a journal of our daily experiences. Working at a video store at the age of eleven meant that I had money for comic books. It also meant that I had near-unlimited access to a bunch of movies that an 11 year old kid should not have had access to.

I can write a whole article on the porno I snuck out of that shop and maybe I’ll do that for 14 Days of Valentines, or whatever, but for now…let’s talk about horror.

Every Friday night I’d bring home a movie to watch with my cousins RJ and Luis. I’d take home a lot of action movies and comedies, but most of the time we watched horror movies. We’d watch horror movies indiscriminately. Sure, we made it through all of the ELM STREETS and FRIDAY THE 13ths but we also watched HOUSE and TROLL and SLEEPAWAY CAMP and their sequels and many other movies that never really made it out of the 80s and 90s. To this day I’m pretty sure that we’re one of the few people who have EVER seen CANNIBAL CAMPOUT, by far one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen and something that I’ll probably revisit for next year’s horror article.

For now I want to talk about a movie that only a handful of people in the world have seen: SALEM’S LOT.

I know, you’re thinking, “Dude, I’ve seen SALEM’S LOT.” Well, let me tell you about the opening scene and you tell me how well you remember it.

The scene opens and we see the moon in the sky and a house coming into focus. The title card appears. We hear a loud, booming voice that screams, “SALEM’S LOT…THE MOVIE.”

salems lot opening credits

Next come the credits. We hear the spooky-voiced narrator say, “Staring….David Soul. James Mason. Lance Kerwin. Bonnie Bedelia.”

“Guest starring…Lew Ayres. Julie Cobb. Elisha Cook. George…Duh…zun…duh…zuh?”

At this point you’re wondering if I’m going overboard with the ellipses but, no, the spooky narrator struggled through George  Dzundza’s name.

salems lot george dzundza

“Ed Flanders. Clarissa Kaye. Gee-off-ray Lewis.”

salems lot geoffrey lewis

I know! You’d think the spooky narrator would know that “Geoffrey” was pronounced like regular-old American “Jeffrey” but not in this movie!

Anyway, once the spooky voice finishes reading the credits, we see a car drive by:

salems lot jeep

Is this coming back to you, yet? What about the accompanying sound effect, that went like this: “Meep-meep! Hi!”

And then the spooky narrator comes back to read this sign:

salems lot sign

And then there’s the old guy who couldn’t stop farting? Remember him?

Of course you don’t, because your video store didn’t have a copy of Salem’s Lot that was rented out, dubbed over, and returned. RJ, Luis, and I watched that movie for a full TEN MINUTES before realizing that the audio track was hijacked, and once we figured it out we could not stop laughing.

At this point in my life, I couldn’t tell you what that movie was about. I just remember George Duh-zun-duh-zuh, the farty old man, the meep-meep car, and wish that I had stolen the dubbed version of SALEM’S LOT before my video store shuttered its doors for good.

Jason Rodriguez writes and edits comics like Colonial Comics as well as writing books introducing young readers to science.