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A Return to Salem's Lot (1987)

A man and his son vacation to the quiet vampire populated town of Salem's Lot.


Larry Cohen


Stephen King (characters), Larry Cohen (story) | 2 more credits »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Moriarty ... Joe Weber
Ricky Addison Reed Ricky Addison Reed ... Jeremy Weber
Samuel Fuller ... Dr. Van Meer
Andrew Duggan ... Judge Axel
Evelyn Keyes ... Mrs. Axel
Jill Gatsby ... Sherry
June Havoc ... Aunt Clara
Ronee Blakley ... Sally
James Dixon ... Rains
David Holbrook David Holbrook ... Deputy
Katja Crosby Katja Crosby ... Cathy
Tara Reid ... Amanda
Brad Rijn ... Clarence
Janelle Webb Janelle Webb ... Sarah (as Georgia Janelle Webb)
Robert Burr Robert Burr ... Dr. Fenton


Joe Weber is an anthropologist who takes his son on a trip to the New England town of Salem's Lot unaware that it is populated by vampires. When the inhabitants reveal their secret, they ask Joe to write a bible for them. Written by Patrick D. Rockwell <prockwell@thegrid.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

11 September 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Salem 2 - Die Rückkehr See more »


Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Larco Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Considered the nadir in Larry Cohen's career. See more »


Boom mic visible a minimum of six times during the scene where Jon interrupts the Judge's dinner party and they talk around the table. See more »


Van Meer: I'm not a Nazi hunter. I'm a Nazi killer!
See more »

Alternate Versions

All German Version have been cut to reduce violence See more »


Follows Salem's Lot (1979) See more »

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User Reviews

Why was this ever a good idea?
19 December 2010 | by ianwhitelondonSee all my reviews

I don't bother writing reviews like this but I finally caught 'Return To Salem's Lot' on satellite TV last night and it hacked me off so much I figured I'd add my voice to the hordes of other victims who are screaming 'Keep away!' On any level, this movie is an insult to your intelligence. True, there are a lot of similarly insulting movies out there (and maybe some of those are even worse than this one) but what really aggravates me about Larry Cohen's diabolically sub-amateurish effort is that no-one, not Cohen, his actors or his production team, at any point seems to give a flying crap about the audience: the script is beyond childish, the performances give wood a bad rap, the visual effects... don't get me started... and why the hell does the King Vampire spend a couple of sequences made up looking like a joke-shop Yoda after he ate all the pizza?... and it's a total insult to Tobe Hooper's '79 classic which still has the power to enthral me and give me chills more than thirty years after I first saw it.

I get that other reviewers have said this film shouldn't be taken as a sequel to 'Salem's Lot' but, in that case, don't even go there with the title and certainly don't use the original's very classy Barlow graphic (and title typesetting) in the advertising! It's deception, pure and simple, and this overly long and moronically conceived and executed piece of stupidity isn't even inspired enough to keep the deception running as far as the opening title sequence. (On that note, the music might be the best part of this whole effort, and only because it sounds like a ten year old's attempt to rip off some of John Carpenter's 'Halloween' and 'The Fog' themes)

If there's anything I can say in 'Return's' favour (and believe me, I'm not proud of this) it's that I did end up watching it all the way through because I couldn't believe that there wouldn't be one small moment that might switch it around from being a complete train wreck.

Also, Larry Cohen did write the script for 'Phone Booth', which I've always thought was a very tight, economical and effective piece of work... so part of me watched 'Return' and refused to believe that he wouldn't acquit himself in some way, shape or form.

There are so many potentially brilliant film makers out there who would sell their souls to get even a small percentage of the budget that it took to make this (so-called) film... and many of those film makers will never get that chance, never get even the small theatrical exposure that this travesty received. And I'm not a particular fan of Stephen King... true, I thought the novel 'Salem's Lot' was excellent, and I enjoyed 'Misery' (but I love the Bill Goldman screen adaptation so much more than the book)... but how anyone could take such a rich vein (no pun intended) of source material and spew out something this badly written, badly acted, turgid and not even so-bad-it's-good... well, this is beyond a spectacular fail.

To paraphrase Richard Jeni's routine about watching 'Jaws 3', even if I didn't have a brain, even if I was just a spinal cord with a bucket of popcorn watching this from the sofa, even my spinal cord would be insulted.

Avoid at all costs, and don't be swayed by a few of the other reviewers claims that there's some sharp satire going on here and that a potentially cool twist on the vampire genre was let down by choppy editing and a low budget. Nothing could let this film down because Larry Cohen and his crew didn't have anything good to start with... except the legacy of a superior title, the memory of which they've staked through the heart. And that metaphor is as close to anything truly vampiric as 'Return To Salem's Lot' gets.

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