Salem's Lot movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Salem's Lot filmed?

1979

About Salem's Lot

Salem’s Lot is like any other town in New England, or at least it seems to be. It is small and quiet until forces of evil invade the place and haunt the community. With a terrible secret about to be revealed and the horrifying powers of darkness clashing with the mortals, can the townsfolks win against the evil consuming the town?

Make sure you have company when watching this movie, as it will terrify you until the end. If it scared you watching it as a child, it’s still scary even many years later. But if it’s your first time watching the show, this guide contains some significant scenes (spoiler alert!) and several Salem’s Lot locations you may want to tour to add to the experience.

Based on the legendary storyteller and novelist Stephen King's novel of the same name, Salem’s Lot is a 1979 TV miniseries directed by Tobe Hooper, starring David Soul as Ben Mears and James Mason as Richard Straker. It is about a writer, Ben, who returns to his hometown to work on a new novel but discovers the horror and frightening reality happening to the townspeople.

Ben is specifically drawn to the infamous Marsten House, set on a hill, and wanted to rent there during his stay. Unfortunately, the old mansion already has occupants: a man named Richard Straker and his business partner, Kurt Barlow (Reggie Nalder). But that did not stop him from being close to the property.

One night, he has a bizarre encounter with Richard when he approaches the house, and they come face to face with each other outside the property. After giving him a strange look, Richard simply greets him, “Good evening,” and walks toward the house.

It doesn’t take long until mysterious events start happening in the town. Various residents are being admitted to the hospital due to ‘anemia or disappearing. Soon, he realizes that the new occupants of the old house have something to do with the terror overwhelming the people of Salem’s Lot.

City Locations

Ferndale, CA; Los Angeles, CA

Location Types

Architectural, American, House, Victorian, Mansions, Buildings/Offices, Religious, Studios

Location Styles

Dated/50's-60's-70's Building, Gothic/Victorian, Office Building Style, Old Hollywood

Salem's Lot Locations

The 1979 miniseries is set in a fictional town, Salem’s Lot, in Maine, New England. However, none of the scenes in the two-part film series were filmed in Maine. Instead, Salem’s Lot production took place in the Northern California town of Ferndale.

While some scenes were recorded in a studio in Burbank, California, the cast and crew headed to this magical town of Ferndale in July 1979 to start with principal photography. Then filming wrapped on the last week of August of the same year.

If you haven’t been to Ferndale, it’s a quaint Victorian Village on the north coast of California nestled in a pastoral valley near the California Redwoods. It’s isolated from the rest of the country and has developed its own cultural and active social life, much of which centers around its historic churches. It also boasts a scenic setting, enchanting natural beauty, and small-town vibe, making it an ideal location to build the Salem’s Lot film set.

To commemorate the miniseries once filmed in the town over four decades ago, Ferndale organized Salem’s Lot 40th Anniversary Celebration on October 18 and 19, 2019. It featured screenings at the historic Ferndale Cemetery, self-guided and guided tours of filming locations of Salem’s Lot, and other fun events.

Fun fact:

The idea behind the novel Salem’s Lot, where the miniseries were based, was born during a conversation that Stephen King had with his wife, Tabitha, over dinner. He wondered what would happen if Dracula returned to America in the 20th century.

The Marsten House scene in Salem’s Lot

Private Home, 850 Bluff Street, Ferndale CA

As soon as Ben arrives in the town at the beginning of the film, the first place he visits is the old Marsten House. He parks his car by the fence and slowly walks toward the mansion. While intensely gazing at the property, Ben suddenly sees a man walking out of the house. He seems glued to where he’s standing until the man drives past him.

If you want to visit this house on the hill as described in the miniseries, you’ll have to go to 850 Bluff Street on the south side, past Strawberry Lane on the left if you’re coming from the town. However, don’t expect to see the same building you’ll find in the film.

Although there’s a house on the site, the exterior was a set addition. Instead of a huge mansion, you’ll see a blue home with a long driveway where Ben is seen gazing up at the Marsten House in the series. It’s on the outskirts of town but isn’t too far from the heart of Ferndale.

The house is on a peaceful and scenic hillside overlooking a part of the Victorian Village or Ferndale. It’s an easy walking distance from the main town if you don’t want to drive.

Crockett Realty scene in Salem’s Lot

Faulkner Building, Ferndale, CA

After visiting the Marsten House, Ben heads to the Crockett Realty office “looking for a place to rent,” he says after introducing himself to Mr. Crocket (Fred Willard). He intends to rent the notorious haunted mansion during his six-month stay but finds it unavailable. So Larry Crocket refers him to the boarding house operated by a widow, Eva Miller (Marie Windsor).

Providing a setting for the Crocket Realty office is the Faulkner Building, located in the town’s Main Street Historic District. It’s a commercial false-front built in 1881. As you walk along the main street, you’ll find many late 19th- and early 20th-century storefronts.

One of the iconic buildings lining the street is the Victorian Inn, built in 1890, also known as the Russ Building. It’s a Stick Style Eastlake Victorian building with windows and bracketing in Italianate style. It’s impossible to miss, as it stands beside the Faulkner Building. As you visit the area and relive the scenes from the miniseries, take your time to explore the main street and marvel at the impressive architecture lining the area.

The antique shop scene in Salem’s Lot

The Ferndale Enterprise, Ferndale, CA

Also shown early in the film is the Barlow and Straker Fine Antiques, an antique shop that Richard Straker owns with his business partner, Kurt Barlow. While Richard tidies up the store, Larry Crockett appears, surveying the place he sold to him. When he asks where Mr. Barlow is, who the townspeople haven’t seen, Richard emphasizes that he “will arrive… soon.” “A lot of people have been waiting,” Larry adds.

The interior scenes were recorded on a sound stage at Warner Bros. Studios. But the exterior shots of the antique store were taken outside The Ferndale Enterprise. It’s a newspaper publishing company in Ferndale and has been the paper of record for the Victorian Village and its surrounding areas since 1878. It is housed in the historic Dr. Alford home, built in 1884.

A visit to the publishing house is a must, especially for first-time visitors. It has friendly staff who will welcome you to the office and the town. Inside the white building is a warm and cozy space where you can sit and chill while reading a newspaper.

And suppose you’re looking for a place to stay while exploring Ferndale. In that case, the Enterprise office is also a lovely vacation rental with a nice living area and bedroom. It is located at the heart of the town and close to other Ferndale sights and attractions, so it’s easy to find and highly accessible.

Susan and Ben’s dating scene in Salem’s Lot

Jungle Backlot, Warner Bros. Studios, Burbank, CA

Susan Norton (Bonnie Bedelia) and Ben are out on their first date. When Ben asks where she wants to go, Susan answers, “Let’s go to the lake.” Ben happily obliges. So, the couple sits by the lake, enjoying the cool evening while deep in their conversation. It’s also where Susan confesses that she likes Ben.

But who would’ve thought that this isn’t an actual lake in Salem’s Lot, Maine? The filmmakers shot this intimate scene between Susan and Ben at the Jungle Backlot in Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California. The Backlot Jungle set is a famous versatile location used in multiple movies and TV shows over the decades.

Today, it features a massive lagoon with a barn, roadhouse, and a shoreside cabin surrounded by a lush jungle of foliage. It can be a verdant forest, murky swamp, or a tropical paradise. But in the case of the Salem’s Lot film scene, the set served as a lovely lake perfect for a date night.

You can take advantage of Studio Tours to go behind the camera lens and discover the location where this scene and other films and shows were filmed. It’s one of the must-see attractions in Los Angeles you should experience.

It is accessible by car, train, bus, and taxi. You can take buses 155, 222, and 501 or catch the Red Line from downtown LA Union Station to North Hollywood station. Then you can take bus 501, which departs every fifteen minutes.

Danny Glick’s funeral scene in Salem’s Lot

Ferndale Historic Cemetery

Things are normal at the funeral of the young kid, Danny Glick (Brad Savage). But as the mourners leave, Mike Ryerson (Geoffrey Lewis) is left to fill in the grave. When the sun hides beneath the clouds and the wind blows strongly, Mike jumps into the grave as if in a trance.

He opens the casket, revealing Danny’s body, and finds a pale dead body with glowing eyes looking at him. As Mike looks up, Danny gets up and bites him on his neck. Unfortunately, it’s too late for him to escape.

It’s undoubtedly one of the scariest scenes in Salem’s Lot! Thankfully, there’s nothing terrifying about the place where this scene was filmed, which was the Historic Ferndale Cemetery.

The Ferndale Cemetery is one of California’s most photographed historic cemeteries, so it’s not surprising that it’s chosen as one of the iconic Salem’s Lot locations. Established in 1868, this cemetery remains one of the most picturesque historical burial sites you can find in the state, overlooking the beautiful Eel River Valey. It sits over a steep hillside only two blocks from Main Street.

The Cemetery was featured multiple times in the TV miniseries. It served as the Harmony Hill Cemetery and was seen throughout the show, showing different shots from various angles. But perhaps, one of our favorites is the shot from the serene hillside, showing the unique landscape, the valley, and the gorgeous village below. You can even see the ocean, making it a must-visit destination if you’re in Ferndale.

Visitors can stroll along the mausoleums and tombstones, but make sure to pay your respect. Walking through the cemetery is like a trip through the town’s history you won’t experience anywhere else.

Ben collects holy water scene in Salem’s Lot

Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Ferndale CA

By the end of the final episode of Salem’s Lot, we see Ben collecting holy water from the church before heading to Marsten House to face the vampires. Then he runs out of the church while Bill Norton (Ed Flanders) waits in the car. Referring to the water, Bill asks, “Is it blessed?” to which Ben replies, “It’s holy water.” Then they drive straight to the old mansion

It was only a quick shot, but the white church with huge blue doors featured in this scene was Our Savior’s Lutheran Church at Shaw Avenue in Ferndale. It’s a friendly Christian community, welcoming visitors to join in the worship.

Whether you’re religious or non-believer, a visit to this Lutheran Church should be part of your film tour. If you don’t want to go inside, you can see its exterior and take a photo of its external structure. It’s also a stone’s throw away from Ferndale Museum, located on the same street.

Conclusion

If you’re like many people fascinated with the locations behind Stephen King’s novels and movies, visiting Salem’s Lot filming locations will give you an exciting tour. But if you haven’t been on a dedicated walking tour highlighting its real-life locations, this article can be your starter guide. It will help you explore behind the scenes of the iconic horror miniseries that have terrified viewers for decades.

But one of the best things about visiting the filming locations of Salem’s Lot in Ferndale is that the sites are very close to each other. Since the town is a small area, you won’t have trouble finding your next destination, whether it’s the cemetery, a Victorian building, or an office.