Salem’s Lot’s Official Rating Will Excite Stephen King Fans Prepared For Vampire Mayhem In The Remake

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It’s an unfortunate state of affairs, but we don’t presently know when we can expect to see writer/director Gary Dauberman’s upcoming remake of Salem’s Lot. The film has completed principal photography and is now in post-production, but Warner Bros. has not yet given it a date on the studio’s release calendar. Sadly, this article features no update on that particular front, but we do know that when the film does arrive, it won’t be skimping on the blood in order to try and get four quadrant appeal.

We know this because Salem’s Lot has been given an official rating for domestic distribution by the Motion Picture Association’s Classification and Rating Administration, and they have deemed it necessary to give the film an “R” for “bloody violence and language.” In short, blood will flow as the evil of Kurt Barlow sets upon the small titular Maine town and creates a horde of vampires, and the characters trying to stop it won’t be censoring their language in moments of panic and fear.

It’s a particularly notable event when one considers the adaptation history of Stephen King’s book. While Hollywood has brought the novel to life twice since it was first published in 1975, both times were projects developed for television: Tobe Hooper’s made it as a miniseries for CBS in 1979, and Mikael Salomon directed the first remake as another miniseries for TNT in 2004. While the latter had a bit more content leeway as a basic cable production, we’ve never gotten to see a proper R-rated interpretation of the source material, and now one is on the way.

Salem’s Lot is based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King and centers on Ben Mears (Lewis Pullman), a writer who returns to his hometown with the intention of writing a new book. It’s his hope to stay in and write about the notorious Marsten House, the setting of an incident that traumatized him as a child, but he is surprised to discover that he has been beaten to the punch by Kurt Barlow and Richard Straker (Pilou Asbæk) – a vampire and his familiar who have plans to turn the entirety of the town into blood sucking monsters.

The impressive cast of Salem’s Lot also includes Makenzie Leigh as college student Susan Norton, Bill Camp as teacher Matthew Burke, Alfre Woodard as Dr. Cody. John Benjamin Hickey as priest Father Callahan, and Jordan Preston Carter as young horror expert Mark Petrie.

The movie was originally supposed to be released this fall, but New Line made the call in July to push the film. The studio gave it a new April 2023 release date, but in August it was taken off the calendar completely. Fingers are tightly crossed that it will end up coming out in time for next year’s spooky season, but we’ll have to wait and see.

For more information about all of the Stephen King projects in the works for both the big and small screens, check out our Upcoming Stephen King Movies and TV guide. My Adapting Stephen King column provides a weekly dive into the long history of adaptations, and we also have a feature ranking the best Stephen King movies of all time.

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