Salem's Lot Footage Reaction: This Stephen King Adaptation Looks Scary As Hell [CinemaCon 2022]

Thanks in large part to the success of 2017's "It" and its sequel "It: Chapter Two," Hollywood is more obsessed with the work of Stephen King than ever. Granted, adaptations of his work have been happening for decades now, but the tide has turned in a way, with these being treated as big events. And it also means some of his best books are getting a new chance to shine on the big screen. Case in point, we're getting a new "Salem's Lot" movie this year, and we just got our first taste of what to expect at CinemaCon.

The book itself was one of King's early works and was published in 1975. It centers on an author by the name of Ben Mears who returns to (you guessed it!) Salem's Lot to write a book about the house that has haunted him since he was a kid. However, he discovers his hometown infested with vampires.

We are on the ground at CinemaCon in Las Vegas getting a glimpse at what many studios have coming our way in the near future. Warner Bros. decided to bring a little bit of its latest King adaptation from director Gary Dauberman, director of "Annabelle Comes Home" and writer of "It." Dauberman is also reuniting with modern horror master James Wan, who is on board as a producer. So, what have they cooked up for us? Let's get into it.

The Salem's Lot CinemaCon footage

Dauberman took to the stage today to give CinemaCon attendees a look at a rough cut of some early footage from "Salem's Lot." The filmmaker introduced the first look by calling the vampire novel "one of the crown jewels" of King's library. He pointed out that, like "IT," which was also adapted into a now-dated miniseries before making it to the big screen in 2017, "Salem's Lot" is the rare King property that hasn't been developed into a feature film until now.

The director noted that it's important to him that the scares in the new "Salem's Lot" feel as grounded as the novel on which it's based, and to make vampires feel scary by highlighting their humanness. The first footage reflects just that. In it, a group of people walk through a foggy wooded area in search of something–or someone. "You don't think there's a chance he's still out there somewhere?" a woman asks. "Not if history tells us anything," Bill Camp's Matt Burke answers.

As the group notes that the town has fallen prey to more than one mysterious disappearance, the camera cuts to a man digging a grave in the dark. This gives way to snapshots of the chaos that's about to befall Jerusalem's Lot, Maine. A young kid with glasses wanders into the middle of the street, covered in blood. A resident is attacked from behind by an unseen silhouette. Then, finally, we get a good look at these vampires.

The first footage of the creatures stalking "Salems Lot" is impressive. We see a vampire on fire, a vampire facing down a priest, and a vampire hidden in a dark, closet-like space, inches from Matt and the aforementioned kid. The most indelible sequence, though, shows the sudden, frightening appearance of tons of vampires via a tricky pan shot. The camera focuses on a man running down the street alone, then the camera quickly pans away as someone calls his name. When it pans back, the street is suddenly swarming with vampires. It's a great, classic-feeling horror movie scare.

The cast includes Lewis Pullman ("Bad Times at the El Royale") as Ben Mears, with Alfre Woodard ("Luke Cage"), Bill Camp ("The Queen's Gambit"), William Sadler ("The Shawshank Redemption"), Makenzie Leigh ("The Assistant"), and Spencer Treat Clark ("Glass") rounding out the ensemble.

"Salem's Lot" is set to hit theaters on September 9, 2022.