I didn’t even buy a pumpkin this Halloween. Didn’t decorate. Didn’t wear a costume. Didn’t have any trick-or-treaters come knocking at my desolate door. But do you know what I did have this Halloween? Vampires! Loads and loads of vampires!
I had frights aplenty with King’s Salem’s Lot. This tale made it to the big screen back when I was a kid and I can remember my mama calling it one of the scariest movies she’d ever seen. That was even before Poltergeist and Amityville, I think. My mother adored horror and had no qualms whatsoever about scaring the bejeezus out of us kids. Reading Salem’s Lot was a bit of a family reunion for me as I could almost feel her spirit lingering over my shoulder as the suspense built.
One thing I admire about King is that he isn’t afraid to kill off characters, even main characters. He also isn’t afraid to kill off characters who happen to be children. All the more horrific, and that’s the point! Another thing I admire about King is his ability to craft a wrenching funeral scene. Now, those of you who read me know very well I have more than a passing appreciation for funeral scenes. King is a master of minute detail, and the funeral scene in Salem’s Lot could easily become the text for a graduate course in how to combine grief and horror.
Salem’s Lot gained most of its steam through the chain-reaction infestation of the town. The undead fed off loved ones with alarming ease, an idea more terrifying to me than the vivid descriptions of the actual vampire who moved into the creepy old house, his finger on the pulse of the town.
I don’t know if it’s really accurate to say I enjoyed the book; I pretty much cringed my way through it, which was precisely what I was looking for in a Halloween read.
Rocky Rates It: 4/5 Stars (the repeated descriptions of the town itself got a bit tedious)