Saturday, January 07, 2017

Short Film: One for the Road

The Stephen King short story One for the Road had previously been turned into a Bulgarian short film entitled Wrong Way. I noticed a Kickstarter recently aimed at making a further short of the story and, when preparing a piece to highlight that Kickstarter, I came across another short of the story – this time from 2011.

For those who don’t know the story it is a sequel to the King vampire classic ‘Salem’s Lot and this version, directed by Paul Ward, has one distinct difference. Rather than set during a snowstorm, it is set with freezing fog – presumably easier to do on a budget.

Janey and Francis
Having shown us a trio of men in a truck, with a voiceover talking about the fog and the fact that they are heading towards ‘Salem’s Lot, we move into the recent past and a family in a broken-down car. Dad, Gerard Lumley, is going to head out for help leaving mom, Janey (Audrey Walters, Preacher), and young son, Francis (Drew Walters), in the car (note the original King short had the child as a daughter). He heads to a tavern (one hours walk away) that is just closing up for night, staggers through the door and collapses.

the bar
Owner, Herb Tooklander (Reggie Bannister, Bubba Ho-Tep), and last patron, Booth (Adam Robitel), revive the traveller with brandy and then discover where he broke down. At first they try to get the sheriff but the lines are down and there is some umming and arring before they agree to go with Lumley. He, for his part, gets more and more irate as it seems the two men stall but finally they are en route.

searching the fog
We are told that the town went bad, more and more people vanished and those that subsequently moved to the town either left quickly or vanished themselves. Then the town burned down to the ground and things seemed to get better, but only for a short while. Both men have religious items on them and suggest that if the family aren’t in the car they turn around and leave. There is instruction not to talk to anyone and they eventually flat out tell the man the town is full of vampires.

burnt vampire
The vampire design in this owes a debt to the 1979 ‘Salem’s Lot, specifically the look of the Master. Though the colouring is more grey than blue these vampires have front fangs and large-bat like ears. The look seems uniform not altering due to age or gender. The vampires in the fog look rather cool, they are repelled/burnt by the holy items but that is the most we get in respect of lore.

So, what happens? Well if you’ve read the short (and I suspect many of my readers have) then you already know. If not then you can see for yourself below. The imdb page is here.

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