Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot Finds Its Director

A director has moved into ‘Salem’s Lot and he didn’t have to travel very far either.

A director has been announced for New Line’s upcoming film version of Stephen King’s classic novel, ‘Salem’s Lot, and it seems the search did not have to go too far or wide: Gary Dauberman, who’s already writing the screenplay, will now get behind the camera as well for the James Wan-produced project, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Dauberman made his directorial debut last year on Annabelle Comes Home, easily the best of the three Annabelle movies and a genuinely creepy exercise in its own right. Dauberman has also written the Annabelle trilogy, as well as The Nun, and also co-wrote the King-based films It and It: Chapter 2 with director Andy Muschietti, all for Warner Bros. Pictures’ New Line division.

‘Salem’s Lot was King’s second published novel, coming out in 1975. It was centered around a town in rural Maine called Jerusalem’s Lot that is overrun by vampires after an ancient bloodsucker arrives there from Europe. A small band of townspeople, led by a haunted writer, a young boy, a college professor and a local artist, try to stop the plague before it overtakes the entire town.

King’s book, long considered one of his finest (by the author himself, as well), was acclaimed for its fresh spin on the vampire genre, taking the monsters out of their usual Gothic or period settings and placing them squarely in 20th century small town America (much like King’s hero Richard Matheson had done with his own classic book, I Am Legend).

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‘Salem’s Lot has been adapted twice before, both times as a four-hour miniseries. The first, aired by CBS in 1979, was directed by horror legend Tobe Hooper (Poltergeist) and starred David Soul, Bonnie Bedelia and James Mason. The second, produced by TNT in 2004 and directed by Mikael Salomon, featured Rob Lowe, Samantha Mathis, Donald Sutherland and Rutger Hauer.

A separate TV series based on the King short story “Jerusalem’s Lot” — a prequel that took place in the 1850s — is also in the works from Epix starring Adrien Brody.

Dauberman told Den of Geek last year that his goal with the new version of ‘Salem’s Lot was to make vampires frightening again: “We haven’t seen that in a really long time and they should be terrifying, and the novel’s terrifying, and it’s fucking great to work on. I can’t wait to bring it to the big screen, we’ve seen it on the smaller screen and it’s going to be awesome on the big screen.”

Dauberman presumably continues to work on the screenplay, but given the current world situation, a cast, start of production and release date are all likely to remain up in the air for now.