YMMV / 'Salem's Lot

This novel contains examples of:

  • Complete Monster:
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: When Mark manages to struggle out of his bonds using Harry Houdini techniques and overpower Straker.
    • When Mark spits right in Barlow's face.
    • Ben staking the hell out of Barlow who looks on in rage and shock.
  • Fridge Logic: How did Barlow enter Mark's family's home without an invitation first?
    • Fridge Brilliance: We later learn in the The Dark Tower that Barlow really is far older than Christianity itself, so it's probably safe to assume that being so powerful he was able to ignore this rule.
      • This is similar to how Barlow isn't repelled by a crucifix that isn't held by a true believer, and can affect mortals even when he's dormant in his coffin.
    • For that matter, how the hell did Danny Glick (a just-turned vampire not nearly as powerful as Barlow) enter the McDougall household without an invitation? If he was invited, who the hell could have invited him in? The baby?
    • Who the hell names their child "Dud?" Somebody who was really disappointed that their baby was a hunchback...in their view, a dud.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: On their way to the funeral home where Marjorie Glick has been taken, Ben Mears and Jimmy Cody discuss how disastrous it would be if Jerusalem's Lot were taken over by vampires. Ben mentions that an out-of-towner could drive through without realizing anything was wrong. In the follow-up short story "One for the Road" (from Night Shift), this is exactly what happens; a family of three drive through the town and their car gets stuck in the snow. It doesn't end well for them.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • King is a big Boston Red Sox fan, and at one point he has Ben and the Nortons discussing the team's "fading pennant chances" during a visit. As it happened, the very week the novel was published the Red Sox had won the pennant and were playing in one of the most memorable World Series of all time.
    • A man named John Snow is briefly mentioned as one of Barlow's victims.
  • It Was His Sled: The thing that turns Jerusalem's Lot into a ghost town is a vampire infestation.
    • That this wasn't immediately apparent when the novel was first published was actually a result of Executive Meddling. King's original draft had Barlow's vampiric nature revealed much earlier in the story, but his editor at Doubleday suggested rewriting Part I to make the nature of the threat more ambiguous until The Reveal.
    • This plot point was evidently common knowledge already by the time the first paperback edition (with a picture of a vampire right on the cover) was published. Either that, or it was a serious Spoiler Cover.
  • Jerk Ass Woobie:
    • Sandy McDougall. She abuses her baby, but she is only seventeen, stuck in a loveless shotgun marriage and living in a rundown trailer. She also feels sick with guilt about her abuse of her child (and breaks down completely when she finds him dead).
    • Bonnie Sawyer lies about having an affair with Corey that she personally initiated and instead claims that he raped her after her husband Reggie finds out, and in the miniseries even backs this up when Reggie threatens to kill him if it's true, but while her actions may not be agreeable it is because she's horribly scared of said husband due to him being a violently abusive prick.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Where to begin ...
  • Narm: Barlow yelling, "LET ME GOOOOOOO!" at Ben as the latter is staking the former.
  • Signature Scene: The book's major contribution to vampire pop culture is the image of child vampires floating outside your window asking to be let in.
  • Strawman Has a Point: While not exactly expressed in the right manner, many of Ann Norton's qualms about Susan and Ben's relationship aren't that unreasonable, at least at first. Susan barely knows Ben, yet immediately takes to him and dumps Floyd Tibbits without a second thought and gets pissed that her mother doesn't immediately approve of him. Any parent worth their salt would be suspicious, or at least cautious, towards Ben until he's more of a known quantity with both them and the town. Of course, Ann takes it way too far, assuming the worst of Ben, deciding he's a sissy merely because he's a writer, unquestionably accepting that alcohol had to be involved in his motorcycle crash ("They don't give you a breathalizer unless you've been drinking!), in fact, seeming to accept any information she gets about him, even from the town gossip, as long as it's negative.
  • Tear Jerker: Danny Glick's funeral, with his father jumping into his grave onto his coffin, trying to get him to 'come out' and stop 'playing tricks' on him and his mother; ending with his despair that he "can't be dead. He's only twelve fucking years old".

The 2004 miniseries contains examples of:

  • Retroactive Recognition: In this version, Mark Petrie is played by Dan Byrd who would later be known as Travis Cobb.
  • The Woobie: Dud Rodgers, who despite having a hunched back and living in a landfill, was happy and good-natured. Then Ruth dumps him and her dad has his best friend fire him. Then Barlow makes him an offer....
    • Also Ruth, who clearly hates having to dump Dud and is forced to be her father, who is also sexually abusing her.