Relearning to Fear Vampires with Salem’s Lot

What do you feel when you encounter the word “vampire”? Do you experience an inexplicable primal fear?

Or do you feel something different, filled with images of glittery attractive young people involved in political and romantic encounters with humans, werewolves, witches, etc., etc. etc.?

Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot is a throwback to the good old days when vampires were simpler and more terrifying. They come out at night and suck the life out of you–killing you or making you a vampire too. Simply terrifying!

Here is the book synopsis from Goodreads:

Thousands of miles away from the small township of ‘Salem’s Lot, two terrified people, a man and a boy, still share the secrets of those clapboard houses and tree-lined streets. They must return to ‘Salem’s Lot for a final confrontation with the unspeakable evil that lives on in the town.

Salem’s Lot is Stephen King’s second published novel, yet it’s different from Carrie in many ways. It’s a more adult novel, with more explicit violent and sexual content. And yet many things are similar between the two.

You have the isolated small town setting with its small town secrets. The small towns in King’s novels are like living creatures!

Religion is also a common thread between these novels. In Salem’s Lot, it’s the power of good against evil. The power of religious objects versus the power of individual faith.

Imagine a man with a makeshift cross made from two sticks being more powerful than an ordained priest wielding a blessed crucifix. A simple yet powerful image.

Characters die aplenty in Salem’s Lot. There is no hero in this story. No Van Helsing or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There are no epic fight sequences, powerful artifacts or spells to use against the undead.

The vampires here are so terrifying and powerful that they overrun the town easily. You would doubt the man and boy would survive a final confrontation with the unspeakable evil.

If you are looking for a serious vampire story with plenty of scares, Salem’s Lot by Stephen King is for you. If you are looking for a story with plenty of action and romance then you should look elsewhere.

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