There was an iconic moment in my life some time in the early 1980’s.
At the age of 11 or 12, it blew me away.
Perhaps feeble in comparison to today’s rapid, ad-based editing, slash, SCREAM and gore methodology to horror films? No, I think not.
Salem’s Lot was, for me, far more about the atmosphere allowed to infect my pre-pubescent imagination.
The moment where Ben Mears stands at the foot of the looping driveway, rigid with unformed fears, tense and sweating as he stares up at the Marsten House… that FEAR, that comes from not actually seeing anything but from mere whispers, suggestion and vague recollections, really sank into me. Particularly in the context of the house I’d been living in until the age of 9, a large, rambling thing of brick and shadows that used to belong to mayor of Newcastle back in the 1960s, a place that was genuinely haunted.
As Rifleman pointed out in his comments (below) it’s still an exceptional movie and worth while watching – and beats the pants off the current raft of vampire movies staining our screens.
Rather bizarrely, I’ve got a inkling it’s probably the character of Ben Mears, and his journey as a horror-writer through the horror story that his life becomes, that really inspired me to get into writing. That and Call of Cthulhu.
So here I am, nearly 30 years later, still entranced by the memories and ghoulish fascinations the film instilled into me.
In particular, the Marsten House.
I’d like to draw your attention to some fabulous research done by one, Ian S. Bolton.
I’ve read various articles that describe how the Marsten House was actually a massive façade built onto an existing, much smaller and far more prosaic building. Ok, so it’s fiction, but it’s not just the house. It’s the whole location. It really did seem to be a place where ancient Evil would perch, gazing down on a settlement ripe for picking-upon.
Ian’s gone several steps further and pinged the actual real-space addresses where many of the film locations where shot. *applause to him*
Filming Location: Ferndale, Humboldt, CA,
Following locations taken from Ian S. Bolton’s Panoramio Page, Images are a mix of scenes from the movie and from Google Maps (EDIT: January 2014, a raft of new images thanks to efforts of Brad Parker).
- Barlow & Straker’s Fine Antiques (shop): 207 Francis Street, on north-west side, opposite Eugene Street.
- Crockett Realty (shop): 248-250 Francis Street, on south-east side, next door but one to The Victoria Inn.
- Harmony Hill Cemetery: Entrance used for Danny Glick’s funeral on south-west side of Ocean Avenue, just south-east of Berding Street.
- Jason Burke’s School: On north-west corner of Main street and Arlington Avenue, opposite Arlington Avenue Extension.
- Marsten House: 792* Bluff Street, on south side, going south-east (out of town), just past Strawberry Lane (on left) and just before road bends to left. Building in movie was a mock-up.
The Marsten House
As it is in the film
Marsten House – fabricated external facade
Marsten House Location, viewed through Google Maps
I grabbed this in 2010, you can see the same structure that is underneath the fabricated external facade. The driveway is there, and this is where Ben Mears (David Soul) would have been standing (almost) gazing up at the Marsten House.
Seen from above, the driveway loops round to what would have been the massive set of steps leading up to the front door.
New Images extracted by Brad Parker:
When Ben Mears stands observing Marsten House as it is today
Ben Mears driving through town – as it is today 2014
Straker and Barlow Antique Store
Harmony Hill Cemetery where Danny Glick is buried
The Black Lake
By David J Rodger
A remote island haunted by new monsters
AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK OR FOR KINDLE
“Atmospheric and Creepy” – The Guardian on The Black Lake
“…the best Sci-Fi horror I’ve read in ten years” – Floyd Hayes, Creative Director of World’s Fastest Agency on Dog Eat Dog
David J Rodger’s vision of a post-apocalyptic world was given a spooky twist last year in The Black Lake.
Five men leave their survivor fortress in Malta on a sea-expedition to the sub-Arctic waters above Scotland. They intend to undertake scientific observations of violent and fascinating meteorological phenomenon that takes place there – considered the focus point of some kind of singularity. What they find is a cosmic horror that seethes amongst the shadows of this darkened world. It is a story of escape and wonder, of madness and terror.
Shop with LULU Global