I finished 'Salem's Lot' today and really enjoyed it. I hadn't read it before so it was good to go on a journey of discovery with the big guy, rather than an (admittedly illuminating, entertaining and worthwhile) retread of previously covered ground, as with Carrie.
King talks of the effect Dracula had on him when he read it as a youngster and it was reassuring to be reading something with more in common with Stoker and the old school than the glut of airbrushed, teen-angst vampire romances that we're being subjected to these days.
I think it would be over-dramatic and a bit of a lie to say that I had a nightmare during the course of reading 'Salem's Lot', but I did have a spot of 'irrational mind activity' similar to when I watch a horror film that gets under my skin. When I say they get under my skin I certainly don't mean that I believe that this shit could happen to me e.g. the supernatural stuff of j or k-horror or a good old demonic possession. I'm an atheist so know that it's all bollocks. It's all a matter of being swept up by the storytelling, empathising with the characters and fearing the unknown or the thoroughly terrifying specifics of the beastie's actions and capabilities. It all comes down to these factors. And Stephen King knows his stuff.
So, anyway, I'd got to the bit where Mike Ryerson stay's at Matt Burke's house and dies and I called it a night. I fell asleep fine but an hour later, I woke up with a start and had the fear. I'd heard a loud noise, so I'm convinced someone's downstairs nicking the new telly or has kicked the back door in. So I creep down to check, shitting my pants despite knowing there isn't a vampire waiting for me and the back door will be intact and the telly still there. I get back in bed and quiz my wife on what this noise could have been. She's a lighter sleeper than me and didn't hear a thing. I've since concluded it was her 'tractor engine' snoring and have left it at that. The thing was, it then took me a while to get back to sleep and the next morning, although a bit out of sorts, inconvenienced by the lost sleep and annoyed by letting a vampire story affect me like this, I was also pleased that it did have an effect on me. I'm throwing myself at his mercies and am depending on his talents to take me places I've never been. Otherwise I'm proving two of my friends right in their assertion that I am wasting my time reading two or three Stephen King novels, nevermind all of them, one after the other.
The rest of the book didn't have nearly the same effect on me. I've a feeling I've let the recent cartoonising and cauterising of the vampire legend taint the true terror inherent in its premise and details.
Or maybe I just rushed it.