I was 9 in 1979 when Salem's Lot came out. It was a movie shown in two parts one week apart. It must have been at the theaters first, I guess I never thought about it before being so young at the time. Barlow scared the hell out of me, and there was a huge build up to the master vampire Kurt Barlow, which made it even spookier. I remember it quite well, and got a big kick out of that movie.
I remember my dad laughing when Barlow came out, and mom gasping for air, exclaiming 'geez!'. The movie has lots of suspense, and I laughed as dad scared the hell out of my sister as we lay on the floor watching. There were no CGI computer graphics in 1979, however, Barlow's costume was very good and it still provides a reasonably good scare today.
Many movies today fail to focus on suspense and the build up of fear, in exchange for computer graphics, and short attention spans, which of course does not always make a good movie. Horror movie producers from today could re-learn some things from Salem's Lot.
I also love the scene shown below where an adulterous Larry Crocket meets the angry husband by surprise and is told to put a shotgun in his mouth. You can watch the entire movie on YouTube as well, but it's the slimmed down version. Or, if you are really ambitious, you could go and purchase the movie also.
Two versions of the shotgun scene were filmed for the TV miniseries Salem's Lot. In one version, George Dzundra tells Fred Willard to put the gun in front of his face. In this version, Willard is told to put the gun in his mouth. This was seen as too intense for television in 1979 (where the former version was shown), but was included in the two-hour version released in cinemas outside the US.
The YouTube clip below shows the Barlow scenes in the Stephen King movie, which of course was based on the book that I read a few years later as a teenager. Stephen King wrote Salem's Lot in 1975. Books are always better, but I do not like the talking, humanistic vampire as was in the book. The way Barlow is portrayed in this movie as more animalistic, with no human emotion, is far scarier in my opinion. So if you have never seen this movie, you may not want to watch these clips as they will give away some of the best scenes right away.
1979, a time when vampires sucked blood, not dick.
You're doing fine, Larry, just fine. DONT MOVE DONT MOVE