James Wan Claims His Stake in Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot Adaptation

“There is no group therapy or psychiatry or community social services for the child who must cope with the thing under the bed or in the cellar every night, the thing which leers and capers and threatens just beyond the point where vision will reach. The same lonely battle must be fought night after night and the only cure is the eventual ossification of the imaginary faculties, and this is called adulthood.”

 – Stephen King, Salem’s Lot, 1975

In his second published story, Stephen King had already begun to show his understanding of the horrors coming of age into adulthood. It was a time, 1975, where the vampire genre hadn’t been played out, romanticized, and surrendered to preteen girls who like their vampires sexy and sparkly. This is why Salem’s Lot is still scary almost 45 years after its release.

In what I keep dubbing the Stephen King Renaissance, yet another of the Master of Horror’s most famous works is headed to the big screen. Unlike some of the other recently announced ones, this one is notable for the names attached to the adaptation.

A duo known for their horror cred by collaborating on the most successful parts of The Conjuring shared universe, James Wan and Gary Dauberman will be teaming up to adapt Salem’s Lot for New Line. Dauberman is slated to write the script and Wan is pegged as executive producer. Wan is also attached to producing another King adaptation, Tommyknockers, which is said to enter pre-production later this year. Even after my immense disappointment in the new take on Pet Sematary, it’s difficult not to be excited as a Constant Reader about this duo helming a Stephen King project.

Salem’s Lot tells the story of Ben Mears, an author returning to his hometown of Jerusalem’s Lot, Maine to write a book about the Marston house, where he experienced a childhood trauma he has never been able to shake (without spoiling it, I’ll say that it’s completely understandable and I’m surprised he was ever able to sleep again!). This leads him to uncovering secret truths about the house, the town, and the wealthy Austrian man who has recently arrived in town to purchase the home for Kurt Barlow; one of King’s most iconic villains. As he digs deeper and deeper he discovers the horrifying fact that the towns residents are being turned into vampires.It is the first King story that felt like a living, breathing town with a multitude of characters, shocking deaths, huge frights, and a look into the terrors of childhood.

This will be the first film adaptation of the story, with TV miniseries occurring in 1979 and 2004. The project currently has no director or release date.