Stephen King Movie Getting Shelved Forever?

By Brian Myers | Updated

salem's lot
  • Fans are worried the next big Stephen King adaptation will be shelved without ever being seen.
  • A year after its initial release date, the remake of Salem’s Lot still has no release date.
  • Stephen King mentioned the delay on X, saying that he has seen the film and has no explanation for the delays.
  • Rumors that Salem’s Lot will be released on Max seem potentially supported by reports that the streaming service has a shortage of new releases because of the Actors’ and Writers’ strikes.

Nearly one year after the last promised theatrical release date, Salem’s Lot is continuing to collect dust on the shelves at Warner Bros. After several delays in production and an initial delay when it was passed up for another horror film’s theater debut, the highly anticipated horror-remake is one that hungry fans are worried might be destined to be forever shelved by the studio. Now the creator of the source material, Stephen King, has weighed in on the quality of the flick and the question as to why it still hasn’t been released.

The King Weighs In

salem's lot

Taking to X early this week, Stephen King wrote to his followers that he’d seen the Salem’s Lot remake and that it was “quite good.” He described the style by writing, “Old-school horror filmmaking: slow build, big payoff.” Unfortunately, the horror master made it clear he was as ignorant as the rest of us regarding the studio’s hesitance to release the flick: “Who knows. I just write the f**king things.”

A Series Of Delays

salem's lot

Salem’s Lot first went into production in September 2021, with the studio hoping that it would be released the following September. But after several Covid-related production delays and some necessary reshoots, Warner Bros. decided to delay the debut until April 23, 2023. However, in August 2022, the studio gave fans some devastating news; not wanting the film to compete with another horror film under their direction (Evil Dead Rise), Salem’s Lot was delayed yet again.

One might think that a film that has undergone two successful screenings and has received the highest of praises from Stephen King (whose 1975 novel the film is based on) would have Warner Bros. chomping at the bit to get it to theaters. Fans of both the novel and the previous cinematic adaptations seem more than eager to see Salem’s Lot, suggesting a giant hit for the studio.

The Director Knows Horror

This incarnation of Salem’s Lot brings veteran horror screenwriter Gary Dauberman in a joint role of writer and director. Though the only directorial credit Dauberman has to his name was the successful Annabelle Comes Home, Dauberman has penned the scripts for a good number of popular films in the genre. He penned the screenplay for the first two Annabelle films in the creepy Conjuring cinematic universe (Annabelle and Annabelle: Creation), as well as getting screenwriting credits for The Nun and The Dark Side.

The Director Isn’t A Stranger To Stephen King, Either

Salem’s Lot isn’t the first time that Dauberman has produced a screenplay based on a Stephen King novel, either. IT and IT Chapter Two were both adapted for the big screen by Dauberman’s clear talent for taking literary horror and recreating it for audiences. Based on the box office successes and the reception of those two films, one be led to believe that the delayed release of Salem’s Lot is one that Warner Bros. might want to rethink.

Other Adaptations

salem's lot

The first Salem’s Lot to be filmed was a made-for-TV mini-series that debuted on CBS in 1979. It featured a powerful cast of 1970s talent, including David Soul, James Mason, and Bonnie Bedelia. In 2006, TNT aired a remake of the film starring Rob Lowe, Andre Braugher, Donald Sutherland, and Samantha Mathis.

A Max Release?

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Fans who are disappointed by the indefinite delay in the latest Salem’s Lot hitting theaters might take some solace in a rumor that the film will instead premiere on Max. Though it hasn’t been confirmed by official sources, what is known is that the streaming company has experienced a shortage of releases that stem from the latest SAG strike. Whether or not fans will ever see the film remains to be seen, for now.