Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Return to Salem's Lot - Moriarty: Vampire Slayer

A Return to Salem's Lot
D: Larry Cohen
W: Stephen King, Larry Cohen & James Dixon

S: Michael Moriarty, Samuel Fuller, Ricky Addison Reed
Rated R - 101 Minutes
Larco Productions


Alternative Titles:
El regreso de las brujas de Salem (Return of the Salem Witches) - Argentina
Paluu kauhujen kaupunkiin  (Return to the Horrors of the City) - Finland Les enfants de Salem (Children of Salem) - France
Vámpírok városa (City of Vampires) - Hungary
I vampiri di Salem's Lot (The Vampires of Salem's Lot) - Italy
Powrót do miasteczka Salem (Back to the Town of Salem) - Poland
Salems Lot - återkomsten (Resurgence) - Sweden
Salem 2 - Die Rückkehr (The Return) - West Germany

Stadt der Vampire (City of Vampires) - West Germany

"I'll send his soul to hell!"
                                       - Judge Axel

It seems only fitting after being away for a while that my first review back should be A Return to Salem's Lot.  In many ways though it's only been a month, it feels as though I am worlds away from where I was not even thirty days ago.  I've left the hustle and bustle of the big city and now find myself sitting in the solemn darkness of the country.  Though I have not encountered any vampires yet, it is indeed a chance for me to return to my roots as well as to try and reinvent myself and what I do.

Smoke 'em if ya got 'em, right Dad!

Enough about myself though, you're here because either A) You're a fan of Michael Moriarty.  B)  You're a fan of 80's vampire flicks or C) You got here by mistake while you were searching for information on Salem, MA.  It is the Halloween season, after all and what better way to celebrate than to tour one of New England's spookiest cities!

Like all sequels to Stephen King films, this has absolutely NOTHING to do with the first film.  Moriarty plays Joe Weber, an anthropologist who gets duped by his ex-wife to come home from somewhere in the green inferno (where he was studying indigenous cannibal tribes) to take care of his trouble teenage son, Jeremy.

Vampires are messy with their snacks.....

Now THAT'S a vampire!  Notice he doesn't sparkle.
Joe and Jeremy head to the small sleepy New England town of Salem's Lot where Joe stayed for a while with his Aunt Clara as a boy.  Joe remembers the town fondly and thinks back to his time spent there as the best time in his life.  Things are a little bit different when they arrive however.  The welcome is less than warm at first.  As it turns out, the entire town is now vampire, save for the hybrids that they keep on hand to act as caretakers and protectors for them during the day (Shooing away passerby's and strangers and such).

After stumbling on their secret, Joe is asked to write the vampire bible for them, to which he reluctantly agrees.  Soon, he has no choice as the vampires slowly take control of his son, turning him against his father with the help of some of the town's vampire children and the anti-human propaganda that is spewed forth at the vampire children's school.  It's now up to Joe, along with the help of an aging Nazi Hunter, to save his son and put a stop to the bloodsuckers for good.

"Don't worry dear....we're just going to eat you"

Van Meer's driving the bus....

There are a good many people who will tell you that this is not a good film.  I say poppycock.  POPPYCOCK!  On the contrary, this is 80's vampire cinema at it's goofy best!  Don't get me wrong, this ain't no Lost Boys....but this kicks Twilight in the sparkly nards all day long!  For your money, you get vampires that transform and show you their "true faces" (which basically means they turn into purple monsters that are the best kind rubber Halloween mask cheese).  You've got vampires of all ages and sizes.  The most dangerous vampires are the town elders, which is a refreshing change of pace from the pretty boy vampires that populate today's films.  There's blood, gore, death by holy water, stakings and even some good ol' fashioned T&A!  What's not to love?

Sure the acting is a bit on the rough side, but that really is kinda what gives this it's wonky charm.  It's not in the completely-wooden-reading-off-cue-cards acting, it's more scenery chewing and I-can't-believe-I-have-to-say-this type of line delivery.  You can tell that everyone was having a ball making the film though.  Michael Moriarty is a blast to watch as usual and gives another solid B-Movie performance.

I would at least lay a blanket down...sheesh!  

These mail order brides are getting ridiculous!

Death Toll:  I kinda lost count on the death toll on this one, to be honest....mainly due to the fact that at the beginning of the third act, the vampires slaughter and entire bus full of tourists!  Plus it's was difficult to keep tabs on how many vampires went down.

T&A:  There's a little skin on display here.  You get one full set of breasts!  That's more than some movies I've been reviewing lately!

Creature Factor:  You've got vampires up the wazoo here.  They come in all shapes, sizes and ages too!  Town elders, regular adults and children alike.  Plus sometimes you get to see a vampire in his "true form", which is goofy as all hell (which means it's AWESOME!).

Holy water is a bitch, ins't it?

Final Thoughts:
If you are in the mood for a good late 80's popcorn vampire flick, then you really can't go wrong with A Return to Salem's Lot.  The flick oozes late 80's charm and even manages to have a few moments of creepiness (the children playing in the school playground at night is pretty creepy!).

Final Rating:
Three out of Five Pizza Rolls!

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