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Salem's Lot - The Cinematic Cut

MusicEd921

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Hopefully this will be completed in time for the spooky season, but I am taking a break from Curse of Nosferatu in favor of fine tuning 1979's Salem's Lot.

Stephen King's book was huge in 1975 and WB acquired the rights to make it into a feature. Loads of directors wanted to do it, but no one had a script that turned the 400 page novel into something faithful for the screen. It was then moved over to WB's television department where it was felt it would better be presented as a miniseries. After a screening of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, director Tobe Hooper was brought on board to make the miniseries happen.

With a running time of 183 minutes, 1979's Salem's Lot still holds up relatively well today. While the fashion has aged, the scares have not!

I appreciate the miniseries and I enjoyed the story enough to check out Rob Lowe's 2004 miniseries remake. The remake has its strong suits and isn't nearly as bad as it is made out to be, but it can't hold a stake to the original.

My goal is to shave the movie down to a more manageable run time in order to get to the scares a little quicker. Also, I am adjusting the movie to be in widescreen!

The one major plot point that I felt needed to go was the Boom Boom Bonnie/Larry Crockett affair which also meant Cully had to go. My reasoning is that not only did it not have any effect on the overall story, but Crockett's dead body is found and Ben is a suspect even though the Constable could've asked Weasel who would have easily pointed to Cully probably being a much more prominent suspect. Once Larry's body is found, we never hear anything of the affair again and we see them escape the town before all hell breaks loose, so what was the point (in the context of the movie other than to show another shadier side of the town)? Removing this plot did not affect the story and is never mentioned after Larry is found.

Weasel as well may be on the chopping block because in his few scenes, he really doesn't add anything. I'd rather focus more on Ben as he is the outsider and our audience surrogate to the town as it starts to collapse.

So far, I have done a preliminary cut and managed to shave off 23 minutes giving it a running time of 160 minutes. There is still more work to be done and a lot of fine tuning.

Goals:
-Reframe the movie to 16:9 widescreen
-Bring running time to 150 minutes or less
-Remove all fade/hard cut to black commercial breaks
-Remove Crockett/Bonnie affair
-Cut Cully completely
-Move some scenes around, including cutting the opening in Mexico, but reusing the footage to add to the end
-Tighten things up such as the removal of the several excessive scenes of Straker leaving the house and driving into town

More items to follow and a detailed cut list as well!
 

Last Impressions

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As a kid, the boy in the window..gave me nightmares for years :)

Funny enough - i've just ripped the remake with Rob Lowe to my PLEX server - ive had the DVD for years but have never gotten around to watch it.

An editor on Fanedit.info called Jack Nolan is the only person i know of who has attempted a Salem's Lot edit. I have no information regarding a cut list or even if it is still available.
 

MusicEd921

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I had thought about editing that one, but the one thing that was severely lacking was that the town itself is a character in the movie and the remake missed that point.

Also, yup that scene is extremely well done!
 

MusicEd921

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full


Potential Poster Art
 
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Dwight Fry

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An excellent candidate for an edit! It had a handful of really memorable moments (yes, who can ever forget the window scene?) and James Mason was never any less than wonderful, but in other aspects, seen today, it feels sort of run of the mill and it doesn't really go much below the surface in psychologically exploring the townspeople. Ideally this should have been something like Twin Peaks with Barlow as the Killer BOB character, but it doesn't really go there (maybe because there was not enough running time for that). As such, picking up the pacing and concentrating on the pure horror factor seems the right call.

Incidentally I've seen the Jack Nolan version, and it was a bit rough around the edges technically. Not a bad job overall but needed further polishing.
 

MusicEd921

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Ideally this should have been something like Twin Peaks with Barlow as the Killer BOB character, but it doesn't really go there (maybe because there was not enough running time for that). As such, picking up the pacing and concentrating on the pure horror factor seems the right call.

YES! That would make a great TV series honestly!

Incidentally I've seen the Jack Nolan version, and it was a bit rough around the edges technically. Not a bad job overall but needed further polishing.

I have no idea who Jack Nolan is lol.
 

Dwight Fry

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YES! That would make a great TV series honestly!
Midnight Mass was kind of that already. It was ultimately a reimagining/subversion of Salem's Lot, and despite being only twice as long I think it did much better at the character study factor.

I have no idea who Jack Nolan is lol.
Me neither, actually. His edit just showed up on .info and I thought "Oh, cool! A Salem's Lot edit!" but that was it.
 

MusicEd921

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Midnight Mass was kind of that already. It was ultimately a reimagining/subversion of Salem's Lot, and despite being only twice as long I think it did much better at the character study factor.

Outside of some out-of-place monologuing, I LOVED Midnight Mass. It was basically Flanagan's take on Salem's Lot.

Midnight Mass was kind of that already. It was ultimately a reimagining/subversion of Salem's Lot, and despite being only twice as long I think it did much better at the character study factor.


Me neither, actually. His edit just showed up on .info and I thought "Oh, cool! A Salem's Lot edit!" but that was it.

Oh, Jack Nolan was the editor. I understand now. I thought there was another Salem's Lot adaptation that I missed lol! Well, if he did something that you'd like to suggest I try to incorporate, let me know!
 

Dwight Fry

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Outside of some out-of-place monologuing, I LOVED Midnight Mass. It was basically Flanagan's take on Salem's Lot.
I absolutely loved it... except for the last episode, which I thought undid everything great about what came before. I could go on and on about why, but I don't want to hijack the thread. It's one I'd love to fanedit if Netflix didn't stubbornly deny us a physical release.

Oh, Jack Nolan was the editor. I understand now. I thought there was another Salem's Lot adaptation that I missed lol! Well, if he did something that you'd like to suggest I try to incorporate, let me know!
I don't really remember anything groundbreaking he did. Just a few trims here and there to pick up the pacing a bit, and adding one establishing shot from the remake that actually felt quite out of place.
 

Jrzag42

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Heck yeah! I just got back to reading this after a long hiatus, I'm only about a quarter of the way through. I picked up the movie the other day, wanting to watch it as soon as I finish the book. The edition of the book I have actually uses the art for the movie, it was either that or a modern printing with a bland cover, and I dig the Nosferatu imagery.
Anyways, it's just funny to coincidentally see this thread.
 

MusicEd921

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Just a little update.....

I made a second pass through and have shaved off some more, so our running time is now at 154 minutes (including FE logo bumpers). I still need to blend the hard cuts and do some audio work to smooth over music hard cuts, but it's looking good.

Weasel is now cut completely. Not even a cameo or mention of him. At the end of the day, he added nothing to the overall story, so he was pointless for this cut.

Lots of slight reframing to do since we're in widescreen now and I want to severely limit any cases of the tops of hair being cut out.

Also, I updated my poster above because I realized that the "Music Ed Presents" font was very close to the Justice League movie font, so that kept bothering me.
 

MusicEd921

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Another update!

Got it down to 151 minutes. Still haven’t smoothed out any hard cuts yet, just wanted to give it another pass before I start fine tuning.

I’ve been mulling over cutting out Faithful the dog. Mike is treated kind of weird as his intro is a silent glare at Ben while he’s passing by the cemetery and Faithful is barking. Next time we see him, he’s locking up the cemetery and talking with Ned before Cully arrives. With Cully gone, that cuts back a little of Mike’s early appearances. Faithful has a few scenes of barking, then two shots of being dead. Nothing ever comes of this and it is never mentioned, so I’m thinking Faithful needs to go as well.

Watching the remake which apparently heeds closer to the book and watching this miniseries, you can kind of see what plot points are utilized and what’s just kind of thrown in. In the 2004 version, Ben is accused of harming the dog as well as the Glick boys. I’m not sure if that happens in the book, but from a storytelling perspective, Faithful doesn’t add anything in this movie, so she’s gotta go.

More updates to come!
 

bionicbob

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In these type of stories, it is good to have characters or scenes that lend atmosphere or misdirection even if they may not be relevant to the plot.
If Faithful does not contribute to either or those, then I say cut him.
 

MusicEd921

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In these type of stories, it is good to have characters or scenes that lend atmosphere or misdirection even if they may not be relevant to the plot.
If Faithful does not contribute to either or those, then I say cut him.

I kind of felt like with all that is going on, Faithful doesn't add anything. Now, the constable could be cut completely without changing the overall plot, but having him dogging Ben, Straker and Barlow while trying to connect them only to runaway when all hell breaks loose.....now that definitely adds something and a misdirection when you'd expect him to be useful for the climax.
 

Samael Lynch

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This sounds so cool I loved the novel but the mini series just felt a bit.. off? Hard agree on the subplot cutting.
 

MusicEd921

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Another update!

I have the movie cut down from 183 minutes to 141 minutes including FE bumpers, my logo and the warning.

Thanks to @Dwight Fry for helping me out by helping me compare the changes I was making to the theatrical cut that was made of this miniseries as well as previewing my preview cut. I really feel like between the theatrical cut cutting too much that leaves plot holes and my cut that cuts back some of the melodrama without losing the view of the town and the highlights of what goes on there we have a nice balance of story and horror in a little bit more of a manageable length.

I just have a few tweaks here and there, so hoping next week Mr. Barlow will be back from his buying trip by then.....
 
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bionicbob

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Lucky enough to watch an early screening.
You are all in for a real Halloween Treat!

MusicEd has successfully brought all of my repressed nine year old self trauma of originally watching this back to the surface!
Must book an appointment with my therapist asap!!!
😁
 

MusicEd921

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Anyone waiting on a link, @bionicbob caught a flash frame that I wanted to fix and there were a couple of quick tweaks. I'll get you a link tomorrow as I have to re-render and re-upload to MEGA.

Thanks for your patience! I promise it'll be worth the wait!
 
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