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Salem's Lot: 6 Quick Things We Know About The Stephen King Movie Adaptation

The vampire from Salem's Lot
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

We seem to be experiencing something of a renaissance for Stephen King - not that the celebrated, bestselling author’s career was in need of a revival, but some of the horror movies inspired by his work did. One of these many new adaptations that is currently in the works is a theatrical version of Salem’s Lot, which is based on the 1975 novel set in a small town in Maine (as per tradition for King stories) and serves as the author’s own take on vampire lore. Fans have been keeping a close eye on all the major updates surrounding the upcoming Salem’s Lot movie and we have compiled them all in one place below, starting with when a good time to grab a crucifix, a wooden stake, and some garlic would be.

The vampire from Salem's Lot

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Salem’s Lot Is Currently Set For A September 2022 Release

Some argue that the best time for a horror movie to come out is during the Halloween season, in October. Of course, for the genre’s biggest fans, that time of year never really ends. 

Therefore, the new Salem’s Lot movie could come out in February for all I care, but it is kind of cool to know that it will still be coming to theaters at a time pretty close to All Hallow’s Eve - specifically on Friday, September 9, 2022. The current release date was officially announced not long after the cameras apparently started rolling on the project.

Kurt Barlow attacks in 1979's Salem's Lot

(Image credit: CBS)

Salem’s Lot Started Filming In September 2021

Another relatively common fact about horror fans is that we can be a little impatient. This is especially evident in our preference to be the first people in line at a haunted house, at a book signing for the latest release by R.L. Stine or (perhaps) Stephen King, or on the night a hotly anticipated scary movie finally hits theaters. 

Well, it should be relieving to some audiences looking forward to seeing this new interpretation of Salem’s Lot that, according to Dread Central, the movie is already in production in Ipswich, Massachusetts, as of early September 2021. One of the first hints that filming had begun came from a Stephen King movie vet who confirmed his own involvement with the film in a tweet that same month.

Salem's Lot's Lewis Pullman in The Strangers: Prey at Night

(Image credit: Aviron Pictures)

Lewis Pullman Leads The New Salem’s Lot Cast

Said Stephen King movie veteran was William Sadler (known for playing Heywood from The Shawshank Redemption in 1994, Klaus Detterick in 1999’s The Green Mile, and Jim in The Mist from 2007), whose role in this new film is currently undisclosed. Leading the Salem’s Lot cast, however, is Top Gun: Maverick star Lewis Pullman (son of Bill Pullman) as author and Jerusalem’s Lot native Ben Mears. 

Also in the supporting cast is Mackenzie Leigh (of Gotham cast fame) as Ben’s love interest Susan Norton, The Queen’s Gambit cast member Bill Camp as school teacher Matthew Burke (one of Ben’s most trusted allies against the vampire invasion), and Glass star Spencer Treat Clark as Mike Ryerson (a victim of the vampire invasion). Salem’s Lot character Richard Straker is the latest villain played by former Games of Thrones cast member Pilou Asbæk, Tony nominee John Benjamin Hickey stars as Father Donald Callahan, and playing a gender-swapped version of Dr. Cody is Academy Award nominee Alfre Woodard in her second collaboration with the film’s director.

It the dancing clown in IT Chapter One.

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

IT Writer Gary Dauberman Is Writing And Directing Salem’s Lot

A story as complex, as widely celebrated, and (most importantly) as terrifying as Salem’s Lot deserves to be put in the care of someone with plenty of experience in that business. Well, the one whom New Line Cinema put in charge is certainly no stranger to the horror genre, and is clearly a Stephen King fan.

Salem’s Lot is both written and directed by Gary Dauberman, also known for writing both halves of Andy Muschietti’s theatrical IT adaptation and developing the short-lived, but much-loved Swamp Thing TV show. He made his directorial debut with Annabelle Comes Home in 2018, after penning the first two installments of the possessed doll’s trilogy of solo movies and The Nun, making him a key component of the Conjuring Universe. Speaking of, the one who started that franchise is also joining Dauberman for this project. 

Joseph Bishara and Ty Simpkins in Insidious, directed by James Wan

(Image credit: FilmDistrict)

James Wan Has Signed On To Produce Salem’s Lot

Simply putting James Wan’s name on a poster is a good way to sell tickets these days, but that does not exclusively apply to horror movies anymore. The Malaysian-born, Australian-raised filmmaker known for creepy modern classics like the first of the Saw movies or 2011’s Insidious would also break into action flicks in 2015 with Furious 7, and is currently preparing his superhero movies follow-up with a sequel to Aquaman. However, 2021’s Malignant showed he has not left his flagship genre behind and his involvement in this new Stephen King movie is further proof.

In April 2019, almost exactly a year before his colleague Gary Dauberman was confirmed to be at the helm, James Wan’s involvement with Salem’s Lot was officially announced. The director of The Conjuring and its 2016 sequel shares a producing credit on the film with Dauberman and others, but it will not be the last Stephen King adaptation Wan is attached to. He will also produce The Tommyknockers, yet another theatrical update of a miniseries based on King novel. 

Rob Lowe in 2004's Salem's Lot miniseries

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Salem’s Lot Is The Latest Of Several Movies And TV Shows Inspired By Stephen King’s Novel

Speaking of theatrical updates of miniseries based on Stephen King novels, Salem’s Lot follows in the footsteps of It and It: Chapter Two as a feature-length adaptation of the author’s work that was originally made for television as a limited series. However, the original two-part event directed by Tobe Hooper (creator of one of the best horror movies of all time, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) is not the only time this vampire story inspired a small screen project.

The 1979 miniseries spawned a feature-length sequel called Return to Salem’s Lot in 1987 and a remake starring Rob Lowe that aired over two nights on TNT in 2004. While the plot of Salem’s Lot has nothing to do with the Hulu original series Castle Rock, Jerusalem’s Lot was a prominent setting of its second season. A short story prequel to the novel set in the 19th century, called Jerusalem’s Lot, serves as the basis of the 10-episode series Chapelwaite, which stars Academy Award winner Adrien Brody and began airing on Epix in August 2021.

How might the first theatrically released adaptation of Salem’s Lot compare to its previous interpretations and other recent Stephen King films? Don’t lose sleep over that question, as we will figure out the answer soon enough.

Jason Wiese

Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.