Gary Dauberman, the IT screenwriter who made his directorial debut with last year's Annabelle Comes Home, has been tapped to direct a new film adaptation of Stephen King's vampire story Salem's Lot. The previous live-action adaptations have been made for television -- once in 1979 and then again in 2004. The 1979 series was successful enough to earn a feature-film follow-up -- Return to Salem's Lot -- although that movie got only a limited theatrical release and, after poor reviews, was mostly seen on VHS. James Wan, Roy Lee and Mark Wolper are set to produce the latest adaptation, which Dauberman was already writing before he got the director's chair.
Published in 1975, Salem's Lot was Stephen King's second novel (after Carrie). It centers on a writer who returns to his hometown after 25 years away, only to discover that a nearby house has been bought by a mysterious figure who turns out to be a vampire.
"In a way it is my favorite story, mostly because of what it says about small towns," King said in 1987. "They are kind of a dying organism right now. The story seems sort of down home to me."
"I did have a unique way into it but again, I think the book in itself is unique," Dauberman said last year. "Certainly now, I haven't seen a scary vampire movie in a long, long time and I'd really love to tackle that. It's one of my favorite books. It's one of my favorite Stephen King books. We felt it should have the cinematic treatment that we gave It. It was a miniseries as well. The experience of bringing that to the big screen was such a joy that I was so happy we will have the opportunity to do that for Salem's Lot."
While the 1979 miniseries was acclaimed, the 2004 remake was largely forgotten. Rob Lowe turned in a solid-but-not-amazing performance in what was, all around, just kind of a generally watchable but not impressive adaptation.
Many of the ideas that King first used in Salem's Lot would pop up again in later works. There's a number of King stories that feature writers as their main characters, maybe the most obvious of which is The Dark Half. His interest in the inner workings of small towns and the ways they can be transformed by mysterious outsiders carries through a number of projects, including Needful Things, and even the idea of returning to your home after decades away was a central part of the second half of It.
Stay tuned for details on Salem's Lot, which does not yet have a firm release date planned.