Salem's Lot is a 1975 horror novel written by Stephen King. It was King's second published novel, following Carrie.The plot focuses on the Maine town of Jerusalem's Lot, which is slowly taken over by vampires, and a small band of survivors, including protagonist Ben Mears, decide to fight back.The eponymous town is revisited in the short stories "Jerusalem's Lot" and "One for the Road". (The former acts as a prequel to the novel, the latter is set three years after the events of the novel.) These stories are included in Night Shift, and also in the illustrated edition of 'Salem's Lot. Said illustrated edition was released in 2005, and also contains several deleted and alternate scenes.The novel has also been adapted into two miniseries (released in 1979 and 2004 respectively), a film sequel to the 1979 miniseries (A Return to Salem's Lot), and a 1995 radio drama.
The novel and 1979 miniseries contain examples of:
Abusive Parents: The MacDougall baby is subjected to assorted beatings from his mother (though she regrets it every time, and completely freaks out when the baby dies).
Adaptation Distillation: The 1979 miniseries takes out several minor characters and condenses the story considerably.
Bittersweet Ending: Barlow is destroyed, but it's far too late for Jerusalem's Lot as the whole town has becomes overun with vampires. It's uncertain that Ben and Mark will be successful in eradicating them. Indeed, the "One for the Road" story pretty much reveals that they're not and in fact the numbers keep increasing as the townspeople feed on any travelers who pass through the area..
Breaking and Bloodsucking: This is the standard operating procedure for the vampires. While they require a Vampire Invitation before they can enter, they quickly overrun the small town by making nightly visits. In particular:
Matt invites an ill Mike Ryerson to spend a few nights recovering in his guest room. That night, he listens in horror as Mike invites Danny Glick in. When Matt works up the courage to investigate, Mike is dead. Later, Mike returns to the same room waiting for Matt, but is driven away by a crucifix and revoking the invitation.
A delirious Mrs. Glick explains to her husband about her dreams of the last few nights: Danny returning home so she can breast-feed him again.
After Susan becomes a vampire, she visits Mark's bedroom that same night, offering to "kiss" him.
Bring My Brown Pants: Corey Bryant literally craps his pants when Reggie Sawyer threatens him with an (unbeknownst to Corey) unloaded shotgun.
The Bully: Richie Boddin, although he quickly loses that status after he makes the mistake of picking on Mark Petrie (who promptly engages a Curb-Stomp Battle).
Clap Your Hands If You Believe: It's faith that makes religious symbols an effective weapon against vampires. When Callahan starts doubting his faith, his cross no longer has an effect on Barlow. Barlow tells him: "Without faith, the cross is only wood, the bread baked wheat, the wine sour grapes."
Executive Meddling: The original novel had a character get eaten alive by rats controlled by Barlow, but Doubleday refused to publish it and King had to rewrite it so that he was instead impaled by knives.
Fate Worse Than Death: Poor Father Callahan. Not only does he have his entire faith mocked and ripped apart by the Big Bad, but he also is forced to drink the main vampire's blood and forever be marked as an Untouchable to the rest of humanity.
Ghost Town: Salem's Lot is reduced to being a ghost town after the vampires take over. The novel's prologue has a newspaper article about a reporter trying to find out why it became one. Another ghost town, Momson, is mentioned in the same article.
Hate at First Sight: By the end of his first meeting with Susan's parents, her father thinks Ben is a great guy. Her mother, on the other hand, begins hating him at just about the same moment as his dad decides he's okay, which causes a big fight between her and her daughter.
How We Got Here: The novel's prologue takes place after the main events of the novel (but before the epilogue). The prologue's unnamed characters eventually turn out to be Ben and Mark.
Earlier in the novel, Win Purinton's dog Doc is found impaled on the cemetery gate by Mike Ryerson.
Infant Immortality: Both averted and played straight: several children die, only to return as vampires, but Mark Petrie survives the novel.
The whole situation starts with the death of The Glick brothers (Ralphie is made as a sacrifice to allow free reign for Barlow to take over and his brother Danny becomes the first turned resident and begins the undead infestation.)
Heck at one point, the heroes head into a house to stake a family of vampire only to find a vampire baby among them.
It's Personal: It gets really personal for Ben when Barlow turns Susan into a vampire, and for Mark, when Barlow kills his parents.
Callahan also mentions in The Dark Tower that Ben died as well, as he visited his funeral in Mexico.
Kill It with Fire: In the book's ending, Ben and Mark return to the town with the purpose of burning it down and most of the vampires with it.
Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: A huge (and hugely expensive) version of the book with deleted scenes was released by Centipede Press. Fortunately a trade version with the deleted scenes was later published.
Police Are Useless: Even after figuring out what's going on in his town, Constable Gillespie refuses to aid Ben and Mark in fighting Barlow, opting to hit the road instead. And his Clueless Deputy ends up as one of the vampires.
Present Day: Literally; the novel was published in October 1975, and the main part of the narrative spans September and October of that year.
Stupid Evil: A curious version. King makes it a point to allude that the worst kind of evil isn't the Dark Lord and his Army Of Evil, but the near-endless rabble of not-too-bright humanity going about their daily lives, fornicating and lighting firecrackers inside cats.
Vampire Invitation: Matt is almost killed by a vampire because he let the man in his home after he was bitten, but before he died. Matt manages to get the vampire to leave by saying he's revoked his invitation.
What Could Have Been: King had been playing with the idea of a sequel to 'Salem's Lot for years, at one point mentioning a possible opening with Callahan working at a soup shelter and a vagrant coming in telling him that it's not over at "the Lot". In the end, there was no sequel and King ended up continuing Callahan's story in The Dark Tower.
There's also the almost literal use of the trope in the slowly gathering rats suddenly just...dropping out of the story. In the original plan they were going to devour the guy who fell down the trick staircase. Instead King just had him be impaled.
Adaptational Villainy: Father Callahan. In the book he leaves the down disgraced, whereas here he becomes the new Renfield for Barlow. Ironically the miniseries coincided with the final three novels of The Dark Tower in which Callahan returned and redeemed himself.
Ascended Extra: Ruthie Crockett, a very minor character in the novel is made into a major supporting character in the miniseries.
Abusive Parents: It's subtly implied that her father is sexually abusing her.
Rich Bitch: She has quite a bad attitude and is callous and cruel towards Dud.
What Have I Become?: Matt gets Mike to freak out by pointing out he's got autopsy scars all along his chest, which along with revoking his invitation got him to leave him alive.
The prequel short story "Jerusalem's Lot" contains examples of:
Apocalyptic Log: Told through the diary entries of aristocrat Charles Boone, returning to his neglected family mansion in Preacher's Corners, Maine, and the horrors he uncovers in the nearby abandoned colonial village of Jerusalem's Lot.
Corrupt Church: The dominant cult of colonial Jerusalem's Lot practiced witchcraft and sacrifice and worshipped an Eldritch Abomination known as "the Worm". It is said to have begun as a offshoot of the Puritans.
Cruel Twist Ending: Our heroes have successfully fought back the undead and prevented the summoning of an Eldritch Abomination, at great personal loss. Charles Boone is left with no choice but to commit suicide to prevent his accursed family line, of whom he is the last, from ever reviving the cult and trying to resummon the Worm. He does so... but his estate winds up in the hands of an unknown bastard relative who receives Charles's diary but dismisses it as superstitious nonsense.
In Name Only: This has little similarity to the novel described above. It takes place over a century earlier, the town itself is unrecognizable, and the novel is a gothic horror/vampire pastiche in the style of Dracula while the prequel is a Cosmic Horror Story and pastiche of H. P. Lovecraft. Vampires do appear, but have little in common with the depictions in the novel.
In the Blood: The dark history of the Boone family and its connection to the evils of Jerusalem's Lot. Charles Boone is convinced that the only way to prevent the nightmare from happening again is to kill himself, the last member of the dynasty.
Ghost Town: Jerusalem's Lot is this at the time the story takes place (1850). Yeah, it seems to happen a lot to the place.
The Heretic: James Boon, whose wacky witchcraft hijinks were apparently frowned on by mainstream Puritan churches in New England.
Our Vampires Are Different: The vampires (or nosferatu) in this story are never seen drinking blood, and serve primarily as zombie-like cultists. Also, the off-screen cameo of a Star Vampire.
Sequel Hook: The Cruel Twist Ending certainly qualifies, but despite the fact that there actually are two sequels to this story, it's never really utilized. Both 'Salem's Lot and "One for the Road" go in very different directions with the concept.
Shout Out: Mainly to other works of the Cthulhu Mythos. Specifically, repeated complaints by the main characters about "The Rats In The Walls" of the mansion and the whip-poor-wills that have taken to nesting on the building. The latter may be a Continuity Nod, alongside the presence of De Vermis Mysteriis, but the former probably isn't since it isn't actually rats, but the undead.
Spell My Name With An E: The Boone family appears to have picked up the trailing vowel sometime between the birth of distant ancestor James Boon and his descendants Philip and Robert Boone.