Midnight Mass Proves Stephen King’s Salem Lot Remake Can Work

The success of Netflix's Midnight Mass shows that viewers will likely be interested in the upcoming movie adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lotdespite the less-than-impressive reaction of its television prequel Chapelwaite. Salem’s Lot remains one of the prolific author's best-known works, alongside horror icons like The Shining and Carrie. The small-town vampire horror’s outsized reputation is owed largely to director Tobe Hooper’s 1979 Primetime Emmy-nominated miniseries adapted from the novel.

While there are many classic Stephen King miniseries, few have had as much enduring cultural influence as Hooper’s inventive, pacy, and genuinely scary two-episode version of Salem’s Lot. Stripping the lengthy source material of its padding and compressing the story into a compelling, focused horror mystery, Hooper’s version of King's famous work went on to transcend its television origins and influence big-screen hits like Fright Night and The Lost Boys in coming decades. The influence of the Stephen King miniseries can still be seen to this day in Netflix’s recent hit Midnight Mass, which effectively offers a Catholic-ized retelling of the novel’s story.

Related: Stephen King's Chapelwaite vs. Salem's Lot: Which One Is The Better Adaptation

Heavily creatively indebted to Salem’s Lot (both the novel and miniseries), Midnight Mass proved a huge hit with critics. However, earlier this year the miniseries Chapelwaite failed to find the same success with reviewers and earned mixed write-ups upon its August debut. As a result, many horror fans began to wonder whether next year’s big-screen adaptation of Salem’s Lot would be a success, or if viewers were suffering from King fatigue after the many big and small screen adaptations based on the author’s work in recent years. Luckily, the success of Midnight Mass should be promising news for King fans who feared that Chapelwaite’s muted reception could mean peril for upcoming projects.

 

Midnight Mass’s success with viewers and critics can be seen as proof that it was Chapelwaite’s period setting and slow pacing that resulted in its mixed reception, rather than a surfeit of King adaptations. There is no denying that big-budget failures like 2020’s The Stand miniseries and Midnight Mass creator Mike Flanagan’s Shining sequel Dr. Sleep have certainly blunted the enthusiasm that some fans greet new adaptations with. However, the iconic status of Salem’s Lot and the success of the similar series Midnight Mass should be enough to allay these reservations in the case of the theatrical remake.

While The Stand failed due to the show’s ambitious and ultimately ill-fated decision to retell the sprawling story in anachronic order, the limited runtime of a Salem’s Lot movie means the remake can’t recreate this mistake. Meanwhile, the fact that Dr. Sleep failed may have less to do with the quality of the movie itself and more to do with the failure of most Shining spinoffs, which is due in large part to the length of time between the original Kubrick movie and its belated follow-ups. Salem’s Lot, being a remake, will not have this issue, and Midnight Mass’ critical popularity proves that its tale of a small-town being seduced by a charismatic but parasitic new arrival is as enduringly popular as ever. As such, Stephen King fans can sleep easy—or at least, as easily as horror enthusiasts ever do—knowing that the Salem’s Lot remake is likely to succeed despite Chapelwaite's divided reception, in large part thanks to Midnight Mass’s critical acclaim.

More: How Midnight Mass' Twist Reveal Secretly Homages The Shining



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