Monday, 18 July 2011

Salem's Lot

Ahhh... I love having a day off work! Today is a day for Goth Maintenance (hair dye, nails!) and catching up with some coursework. 

But first... a review.

Parajunkee's View Vampire Challenge Review #12 - Salem's Lot by Stephen King

Warning: may contain spoilers

As you would expect from the man who wrote It and Pet Sematery, this was the most spine-chilling book I've read so far for this challenge, and I did actually spend one sleepless night with the light on in case of vampires... which, for the girl planning to host a vampire dinner party for her birthday, was rather a shock.
I find Stephen King's books very hit and miss - some I love (It) and some I hate (Needful Things), so I approached this book with some caution. Whilst I was reading, I thought that Salem's Lot was, in some aspects, a more modern take on the original, Bram Stoker's Dracula, particularly when the reader visits such scenes as the death of protagonist Ben's newly-turned vamp one-time lover, Susan, at his own hands; and the obvious casting of elderly schoolteacher Matt Burke as a Van Helsing figure.

Jerusalem's Lot, or The Lot, is a small town that plays host to a vampire infestation after two sinister men move in to the haunted house on the hill. Ben Mears is a writer who has returned to The Lot, his childhood home, to help him write a novel touching on the terrifying experience he had in the self-same house when he was a small boy.

There are some intensely chilling moments - for me the standout was the return of undead Mike to Matt Burke's house - but the thing I found most endlessly fascinating about Salem's Lot is the way King portrays different people in a small-town American community reacting to the horror that is slowly consuming their home. The bewilderment, denial, and anger of the townspeople add to the slow-burning tension that builds catastrophically throughout the novel.

King, as always, uses his characters effectively - watching the two eventual survivors, Ben and a young boy, Mark Petrie, become hardened and head towards what could be described as borderline insanity, is a nail-biting experience - King shies away from nothing, and is almost sadistic in what he puts his brainchildren through. The reader suffers with Ben during the suspicion of the townsfolk, his lover's grim demise, the escape from The Lot, and the final act of vengeance against the vampires that have, eventually, overrun the town.

Salem's Lot is a grisly vampire tale in the fine tradition of Bram Stoker, which would appeal to fans of other vamp horrors like 30 Days of Night and Let The Right One In. The real terror is not in the blood and gore but the continual, underlying sense of menace that grips from chapter one and refuses to let go. Not a book I would read alone, or after dark....

In other news...

Here's me camwhoring yesterday...

Dress: charity shop, about £5
Belt: random black ribbon that I had lying around
Necklace: market, £2.50
Shrug: New Look sale, £3
Black tights: Peacocks, £2
Boots: out of a skip
Earrings: gift

P.S. Eccentricity apparently runs in my family. My dad has just launched a small range of rude novelty products (Norm's Bad Taste Products) which are available at the moment via eBay. Can't resist showing you - but younger readers, exercise discretion please! Norm's Bad Taste Products available here. There will be more added to the range soon, including *gasp* a vampire-themed product of my devising... ^^


Kitty Lovett; The Unadulterated Cat said...

Adorable outfit! Srsly. So cute.

And really? 'Salems Lot irked you? I didn't find it chilling at all. Pet Sematary, on the other hand? Both book AND movie terrified me. When I watched the movie when Growlithe was staying, I made him sleep in my bed, with the light on. Same thing happened when we watched Dead Birds. I did enjoy 'Salems Lot, but have you seen the movie?

Please do. It is the definition of "terribear".

ultimategothguide said...

@ Kitty - cheers, m'dear ^^

It wasn't the scariest I've read by far, but yeah, it got to me a lil bit! I haven't seen the movie but will be sure to check it out.

Just read Pet Sematary and it scared me shitless; as you may have guessed It is the other one that really gives me the heebie-jeebies. Compared to those two, Salem's Lot was mild. But still a bit creepy compared to, say, Vampire Kisses.

Kitty Lovett; The Unadulterated Cat said...

I have not read It because I do not hate myself.I LOVED Pet Sematary, but yeah. I was fucking terrified. And I don't usually get irked by the written word. My favourite one, though? The Dark Half. ADORED it.

March Hare said...

I never took to Salem's Lot neither the novel nor the movie (the older version) impressed or frightened me, which did disappoint since I love vampires and I certainly love the original Dracula. Although Stephen King's works have never scared me I do respect him as a talented writer and he certainly does not skip on the detail.

Unlacing the Victorians said...

I couldn't take to Salem's Lot either. In fact, that has been the only Stephen King book I've ever read, and managed to effectively turn me off to other King novels. At the same time I was only 14 then, and a lot of things I didn't like when I was 14 I am just fine with now, ten years later.

That being said, I would give Stephen King another try. Salem's Lot... probably not.

Love the outfits. very rockabilly.

BallerinaDark said...

I love your rockabilly outfit! I love dressing rockabilly ♥ but I think the boots don't fit well..I would have worn some chunky heels shoes instead :)

About mr. King, it's true..some books are amazing but some are terrible..Same for the movies. :)

♥BallerinaDark of Gothic Divine Magazine♥

LovleAnjel said...

'Salem's Lot is not King's best, but certainly better than some more recent works. The Shining is more frightening, and I have a special place in my heart for The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.

Sal Kaye said...

Absolutely LOVE the dress!!!
You look great.

ultimategothguide said...

@ BallerinaDark - I was going to wear my platform heels, but it was raining! Didn't want to skid all over the place... XP

ultimategothguide said...

@ Kitty - is The Dark Half the one with George Stark? If it is, that's one I also really enjoyed. ^^

Tenebris In Lux said...

Whooo -- I love that outfit a ton! :-D

Hmmm .. Stephen King. I read Pet Cemetary (my first SK book) and loved it. But I've noticed one thing: how is it that most of Stephen King's books are just about the same size as Anne Rice books, and where it might take me only a week to read a book by Stephen King, it take me a month to read an Anne Rice book? That mystery still remains to be dissected!

Kitty Lovett; The Unadulterated Cat said...

Amy - that's the one! It's great. I read Pet Sematary in the one afternoon, and immediately read Marley and Me all in that same time. It was Christmas day and about forty-fifty degrees in my room. ><

Anonymous said...

I loved watching Stephen King movies but I never read the books. But I did a bit at my school library.

KatSlaughter said...

Tenebris- Pet Sematary was my first SK as well. I got into Dean Koontz when I was about ten and loved him, and my dad said I wouldn't enjoy King if I liked Koontz. He was right. Koontz immediately fell by the wayside. Now I look upon him as juvenile. I think that the reason Rice takes longer to read is because her writing is slightly denser, focusing on characters from another time, as she does. King is very colloquial and straightforward, making for easy reading.

Amy, thanks for the review. I also enjoy the way King does horrible things to his characters. Somehow I end up rooting for the baddie in most books; like in 'Doctor Faustus' I would have been Most Displeased if he'd repented and saved his soul. But King portrays things differently somehow, and the characters' mishaps always make me squirm in discomfort.

Fae said...

Again I seem to be reapeting myself by saying. Amy is beautiful and has a wonderful taste in clothing.

VictorianKitty (Sophistique Noir) said...

You look lovely!!! The vintage dress is perfect for you. I actually like the boots with it - it's an "I'm different in my own way, not just different exactly like everyone else" kind of look.

Gibson said...

That is a lovely dress! ^_^

Dr Blood said...

You nailed the fact that Salem's Lot was Stephen King's version of Dracula. He has admitted it himself several times. That's what he set out to do and that's just what it is. He also realised later that he didn't make enough out of Barlow.

I think it's the best Stephen King novel other than Pet Sematary. All the others are way too long and deal with subjects and characters that I simply have no interest in.

It's also the best of any of the Stephen King TV-miniseries adaptations. The scene with the little Glick boy scratching at the window affected me so much that I still can't sleep in a bed which faces the window.

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