Salem’s Lot in Downtown Ipswich

Alison Sullivan, Journalist

Just this October, Downtown Ipswich was transformed into a 1970s town for a Hollywood production. South Main Street and Elm Street had a complete makeover- signs were changed, buildings were repainted, and even interiors were transformed. Salem’s Lot, originally a book written by Stephen King, is being reimagined on film in our very own town.
Stephen King had hand picked Ipswich as the location since it so closely resembled the original film’s setting. Salem’s Lot is a horror story based on vampires taking over a small northern town in America.

The story starts with a writer, Ben Mears, who has come from out of state to revisit his hometown, Jerusalem’s Lot (Salem’s Lot), Maine, in hopes to write a new book. Ben decides to write about the renown abandoned house (Marsten House) because of a traumatic childhood experience where he claims to have seen a ghost hanging from the rafters. Ben later on finds out that the townspeople are turning into vampires. 

Researching further into the Marsten House, Ben finds out  the house had been sold to a man named Kurt Barlow, from Austria, who plans on having an antique and furniture store in Salem’s Lot.  No one has seen Barlow himself, but instead they see his business partner Richard Straker, who appears as a “front-man” for Barlow. Barlow keeps himself concealed as he’s the vampire who is infecting the townspeople. The vampire stalks at night, starting with infecting a 12 year old boy. The blood thirsty plague strikes the town rapidly. 

 “I thought it was exciting to just see the process,” says Angela Zaremba, The owner of Luxa Jewelry. “I’ve never been involved with anything like that before”. Luxa was temporarily remodeled into a classic small town 70s diner, with full inside bar seats and extra tables with napkins and condiments. The process didn’t seem like an easy feat, as according to Angela, she had moved everything out of the space herself. “We did get to meet the director (Gary Dauberman, who also directed It) in the very beginning…It was neat to see their brains working on what they’re actually plotting out for their set. All crewmembers were respectful of time and cooperated well with every business in a professional manner. 

Although it may be assumed that having your store on the big screen may attract more customers, with the complete makeover our downtown had, most stores don’t match up with their real purpose. Luckily, businesses were paid for the use of their buildings and some local businesses were able to serve as actors and directors who were a part of Salem’s Lot. 

Businesses in the area as well as people who live in Ipswich are incredibly excited to see their town in the horror film, hoping to recognize anything they can. “It’s not going to look anything like our store, just the bones, but definitely I think it will be exciting to see the whole thing,” Angela responds. The movie is expected to be released in theatres on September 9th, 2022, close to Halloween.