Mr Barlow Salem’s Lot


A New England village is plagued by vampirism in this blood-curdling shocker based on the bestselling novel by Stephen King, directed by Tobe Hooper (Poltergeist) and starring David Soul, James Mason, Bonnie Bedelia, Lew Ayres and Ed Flanders. Originally released as a two part mini-series, experience Salem’s Lot in its original, uncut form as a 3 hour movie extravaganza! Year: 1979 Starring: David Soul, James Mason, Bonnie Bedelia, Lew Ayres, Ed Flanders Director: Tobe Hooper

Mr Barlow Salem's Lot

Mr Barlow from Salem’s Lot

I’m not alone in my opinion that the vampire,  Mr Barlow from Salem’s Lot (1979) is the most scariest and hideous vampire of all time. This was proven the other night when I put Salem’s Lot on for my 19 year old daughter, Kerry as she had never seen it before.

When I was about 12 years old I sat there silent and watched this with wide eyes, totally immersed in the scenery, watching the tree branches that looked like skeletal hands blowing in the wind. Long cast shadows with effective lighting perfectly matched the musical score that builds in the background until the movie arrives at that point where it TERRIFIES the viewer.

I remember crying my eyes out and begging my sisters to let me share their bed with them after watching the first part on TV and my mother telling me that I won’t be watching part two if I don’t calm down. I was hooked, but why?

Of course, I begged and I begged and I promised that I wouldn’t get scared. My mother eventually gave in for an easy life I suspect and I got to watch the second part the following night and unfortunately the events of the evening before were repeated, but on a grander scale. 

The kids of today don’t seem to be as scared of horror movies like I was at their age.

So, I was waiting for the usual comments from Kerry like ‘this isn’t scary’ or ‘this is rubbish’  as I’ve seen her laugh at the film, The Exorcist, which I found to be bloody terrifying!

Meet Mr Barlow from Salem’s Lot

So far, we had seen a few vampires, mainly the Glick family and we had arrived at the scene where Mr Barlow first appears when he magically unlocked the cell door which held Floyd Tibbits. The camera stuck on Mr Barlow’s nosferatu head with those terrifying yellow eyes, loud music and the awful hissing and screeching sounds he made.


Kerry refused to watch anymore of Salem’s Lot!

It’s a shame because she missed one of the most terrifying scenes where Mr Straker along with Mr Barlow, entered the kitchen of the Petrie family in spectacular style. The room started to tremble and shake violently like it would in an earthquake and a black mass appeared on the kitchen floor, growing slowly to reveal the hissing and growling Mr Barlow. Mr Straker demanded that the priest surrender himself to the scariest vampire of all time.

James Mason Salem's Lot

James Mason as Mr Straker from Salem’s Lot

James Mason played Mr Straker, who was Mr Barlow’s keeper. He lived in the old Marsten house and owned an antiques shop within Salem’s Lot. Mr Straker had a screw loose to keep a vampire like him. I never figured out if he was scared of Mr Barlow, or if he really wanted to be his keeper. Reggie Naldor played the role of Mr Barlow magnificently and he is one of the most evil, terrifying vampires ever to be seen.

Horror Movies

If you haven’t watched Salem’s Lot, then you must purchase and watch the 1979 version with David Soul as it is the best in my opinion and don’t bother with any of the sequels or remakes. They don’t capture the true essence of the original and how the music together with the cinematography and great acting, all mixed together, without CGI made it a true horror classic.



  1. I am in agreement with you about Mr Barlow being the scariest vampire in movie history even though they did rip off the way he looked from the classic German silent movie NOSFERATU. I remember watching this as a kid the first time around back in the 70s and i nearly jumped through the roof when Mr Barlow`s face appeared in the cell scene. Up on till then it was the old Hammer horror movies i watched which i enjoyed and were quite scary but nothing prepared me for this, even the old house were the vampires lived which looked a bit like the Norman Bates house coupled with the creepy music sent a chill through me. Tobe Hooper was the man responsible for this classic i believe, but no doubt Stephen King probably did not merit this movie and along with the Shining thought he could do better. Wrong, Stephen King may be a good writer but he is no film maker, better to leave the scares to master Directors who know how to do it. I watched the Stephen King version of the Shining and it just did not match up to Kubricks version even though Kubricks version was scaled down from the book, it still did the trick, it was scary and he really brought home the solitude and isolation of the place with the ominous hotel that was always watching. Anyway back to Scene from Salems Lot in a way i do not blame the sheriff for doing a runner i think most people would, the people who have not had little visits during the night that is. Sadly these days vampires are nothing more than a Gothic girls wet dream romantic fantasy ie Twilight and True blood to name a few. Vampires in my opinion are like parasites with no humanity left in them with no pity or remorse and that is why Salems Lot did it for me

  2. Likewise, I am in full agreement over the terrifying antics of Mr Barlow. As a child I happened to awaken one night and crept downstairs and was allowed to watch some late night television with my family. By chance, the tv channel was changed just as the cell scene was begining….and that was the end of me sleeping soundly as a child.

    Whilst Salem’s Lot is now dated in look and style, the horrifying legacy of Barlow is still potent and it’s to Tobe Hooper’s credit that the film still scares, thrills, chills and inspires to this very day.

  3. The Hammer films are still my favorite probably since I saw those first as a kid BUT Salem’s Lot is probably the scariest and tastefully done. Barlow and Straker are scary and creepy respectfully.
    I finished the book which was great. The original movie took quite a bit of creative license but pulled it off in excellent fashion. I didn’t see the remake as it looked boring but I understand it is closer to the book.

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