Watching LET ME IN earlier this month reminded me again, how creepy I always thought children can be. Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing personal against kids, but the thought of evil existing in such a small and innocent looking package is unnerving. A seed that was planted it me when I was still a kid!
What probably first made me think this was a television miniseries I saw when I had just turned seven years old--SALEM'S LOT. Although THE EXORCIST predates SALEM'S LOT by over five years and I was vaguely aware of the plot, it had yet to make an impression on me as, at this time, it predates our first VCR.
Having older brothers will immerse one into things sooner than one would naturally be into them and I'm sure this is the case with the film adaptation of Stephen King's SALEM'S LOT. In late November of 1979, CBS aired the Tobe Hooper film for the first time. And so, I sat down to watch it.
Anyway, SALEM'S LOT is about a writer (David Soul) who returns to the town he lived in until he was about ten years old to write a book about a house that haunted him then and well into his adulthood. There he finds a new owner of the house (James Mason) moving in and something evil stalking the night in the small town--a vampire! So we move on to the plague of vampirism spreading throughout the town, even to the children.
Here's where the creepiness of kids comes into play for me. One character's little brother has died, killed by a vampire, and soon returns to life as one of the undead. He comes flying up to his brother's window and scratching at it. Glowing eyes, mouth full of fangs and in the pajamas he was buried in only hours before. And he comes tapping at the window, begging to be let in. And the older brother, having been mesmerized sheepishly opens the window for his little Peter Pan-like little brother. We all know what happens next. But that one scene did it for me.
That little kid was much more scary to me because I'd seen the obvious monsters in the form of Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolf Man, swamp monsters of all kinds, weirdos, aliens, zombies, etc., but that this boy who was pretty much my age could be pure evil just plain freaked me out. And those pajamas did too.
I mean, here we have a film in which there is a full grown Nosferatu-looking vampire killing parents and priests, women and children; and I'm worried about a little kid who has to scratch at the window to be let in to do any harm. And, I suppose that was the trick of it.
Here we have Tobe Hooper talking a bit about his film...
I suppose it was re-aired in late October somewhere as a three hour movie according to this advertisement. I'm pretty sure it was released theatrically in Britain, as well.
Some fine examples of bloggery on the subject of SALEM'S LOT:
And finally, a lovely greeting for you and yours 'pon this crisp evening: