Just in time for the Halloween season, Warner Home Video is releasing three classic Stephen King tales of horror on Blu-ray for the first time on September 20. These long-awaited high-definition debuts of the original television miniseries IT and Salem’s Lot, as well as the 1985 theatrical anthology Cat’s Eye, all feature new HD masters and bonus material. Cat’s Eye has a commentary from filmmaker Lewis Teague; IT has commentary from director Tommy Lee Wallace and stars Richard Thomas, Dennis Christopher, Tim Reid and the late John Ritter; while Salem’s Lot includes an all-new commentary from director Tobe Hooper. Here’s a quick look back on these Stephen King classics:
David Soul plays a writer who returns to his hometown to write a book about the haunted Marsten House, only to find the citizens are turning into vampires. James Mason plays Richard Straker, the mysterious new owner of the home, who runs an antique shop with his equally mysterious—and never seen—business partner, one Kurt Barlow.
Stephen King’s original novel was published in 1975—only the second book of his then-young career, sandwiched between Carrie and The Shining—but it would take a few years for Salem’s Lot to make it to the screen. In this case, the original concept of a theatrical release was determined too daunting by Warner Bros. execs, as paring King’s 400+-page novel down to a 100-page script was not producing the desired results. Eventually it was decided to go with a four-hour miniseries, directed by horror giant Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist), which aired on consecutive weeks in November of ’79 and went on to receive three Emmy nominations and generations of horror devotees.
Stephen King himself wrote the screenplay for the three stories that make up this horror anthology. James Woods stars as a smoker who undergoes a horrifying program to kick the habit in “Quitters, Inc.”; Robert Hays plays a gambler involved with the ex-wife of a jealous crime boss in “The Ledge” and a ten-year-old Drew Barrymore is the focus of “General” where she must battle nighttime trolls. The movie’s title is derived from the fact that these three unrelated stories are threaded together by a roaming feline.
Little more than ten years after Salem’s Lot, a second miniseries of a Stephen King novel came to the small screen with the adaptation of King’s 1986 massive (more than 1,000 pages) best-selling novel, IT. The story revolves around seven small-town children haunted by their own fears that manifest themselves via a sadistic and murderous clown named Pennywise (Tim Curry in one of his most iconic roles), who resurfaces 30 years later bringing the now-adult group back to their hometown to do battle again. The stellar cast is a who’s who of television stars from the ‘70s and ‘80s, including Harry Anderson (Night Court), John Ritter (Three’s Company), Tim Reid (WKRP in Cincinnati), Richard Thomas (The Waltons), as well as screen vets Richard Masur, Annette O’Toole and Dennis Christopher. And in case you missed the news, there will be a theatrical release of IT coming next year.