Thursday, September 2, 2010

All you ever wanted to know about the Fright Night Remake!

The original Fright Night (1985) was the horror film responsible for getting me to fall in love with horror movies. Well, it was Fright Night and the Nightmare on Elm Street Movies. But, before Fright Night, I used to be afraid of horror movies. I mean, I would be terrified of them to the point where I had nightmares! Or to the point that I couldn’t sleep right. So much so that when I saw the original Salem’s Lot on television (I must have been around 4 or five) for the longest time I had this incredible fear of seeing a vampire kid hovering outside my bed room window!

But it was with Fright Night (which I saw around the tender age of 11) that I learned to have fun with horror movies! It was all about those awesome make up effects! Yeah it was scary, but it was also fun. I also enjoyed the main characters. The nerdy and naïve Charlie Brewster befriending Peter Vincent, an aging actor living on memories of his glory days when he would kill vampires and monsters in films. I liked the friendship they created, I liked that Charlie’s friends and girlfriend are worried about him, and I just liked the chemistry between all of them.

Chris Sarandon was the perfect Jerry Dandridge. Deceptively charming all through out the film, until he grows some fangs and nails, then he becomes Charlie’s vampire neighbor. Nobody believes Charlie, not his mother, not his best friend, and not his girl. Everyone thinks he has a couple of screws loose from watching so many horror films late at night instead of studying his Trig.

In my opinion, the film is very well constructed, it moves along at just the right pace, it is never boring. The filmmakers also made a lot with very little. I remember reading an article on Fangoria magazine saying that Tom Holland (the original films director) had made “chicken salad out of chicken shit” in reference to the films budget which was a mere 9 million dollars, not really a whole lot when it comes to Hollywood films. But damn, for nine million bucks, they got away with a film that is very atmospheric and at times very funny. They got away with a film that has likable characters and excellent make up effects. The make up effects crew in charge of the look of the vampires and the creature effects are make up effects guys and gals that are not really that well known, but damn did they do a great job. Especially when it comes to a flying bat, a werewolf transformation and the make up effects of the vampires! I’ve always loved the way Amy looks when she is turned into a vampire. It’s the kind of make up effects that makes you wonder how it was done. The film went on to become one of the most memorable vampire flicks from the 80's. It is always mentioned as one of the best from that decade, along with The Lost Boys and Near Dark.

So now here comes this remake, which I’m kind of happy about, but at the same time kind of worried about. As expected, they have changed things around a bit. For example, they amped up the films budget considerably! And the cast is actually looking pretty good. I’m going to go through all the info I have so far on this new movie, just so you guys can get an idea of what to expect from it.

The remakes director Craig Gillespie

First things first: the remakes director is one Craig Gillespie. Not exactly a house hold name, but he has been responsible for two films that I have seen: Mr. Woodcock (2007) which felt like an attempt of Gillespie’s to do a money making commercial film. Mr. Woodcock barely made its budget back. Gillespie is also responsible for Lars and the Real Girl (2007) a film that was nominated for an Oscar for best screenplay, but failed to win that year. Still, the film was nominated for and won many other awards. What worries me about Gillespie is that he isn’t exactly well known for making horror films. In fact this will be his first. Also, he is not a director who is known for working on fx heavy films either, and if this remake sticks to the original, then it should be an effects heavy film. So these facts have me on the fence as far as the director of this remake goes. But I’m giving the guy the benefit of the doubt, Gillespie will probably have the best special effects houses at his disposal. After all, the film is being produced by Dreamworks, they aren’t exactly known for meager budgets. Speaking of budgets, Gillespie will have 17 million at his disposal to make this film. That’s a whole 8 million dollars more than the original. Let’s hope that will be enough for a good remake.

The writer of this remake will be Marti Noxon. I know, I know, you probably never heard of her either. But that’s probably because this is her first stab at writing a screenplay for a feature film. She’s worked a lot on tv though. She’s written for Mad Men, Gray’s Anatomy, Still Life and many more. But what probably got her this gig was the fact that she’d written many episodes for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. I enjoyed a couple of episodes of Angel (actually I got hooked on it!) so I’m hoping she will do a good job with this remake.

So, what’s the cast looking like? What I’m going to do is I’ll post a pick of the actor who portrayed the character on the first film, and then I’ll show a pic of the actor playing the same character on the remake, so you’ll get an idea of what to expect, cast wise.

William Ragsdale in Fright Night (1985)

Charlie Brewster: On the original Charlie Brewster was played by William Ragsdale. His character is a nerdy teenager who has just discovered that his next door neighbor is a vampire. He tries to convince everyone of what’s happening, but nobody believes him. That probably has a lot to do with the vampire charming the pants out of everyone, even his mother! But the vampire isn’t that charming at all. He has turned Charlie’s best friend into a vampire and has fallen in love and kidnapped Charlie’s girlfriend as well. What is Charlie to do? Will he ever get his best friend or his girlfriend back? And who’s going to help him?

The new Charlie Brewster 

Who plays Charlie in the remake? Anton Yelchin, whom some of you might remember from starring in Terminator Salvation (2009) Most recently he played Chekov in the Star Trek reboot. I think he is perfect for the role; Yelchin seems fragile, nerdy and vulnerable, perfect traits for a Charlie Brewster.

Roddy McDowall as Peter Vincent on the original Fright Night

Peter Vincent: On the original Fright Night Peter Vincent (the great vampire killer!) was played by Roddy McDowall. Peter Vincent is an aging actor on his last legs, he lives mostly remembering his glory days when he starred in old horror films. He survives by hosting a horror movie t.v. show. The show is called Fright Night. Unfortunately, the show has just been cancelled! So when Charlie and his friends offer Peter a couple of bucks in order to kill their vampire neighbor, he accepts. He thinks its all part of a prank, but he soon discovers that it’s all too true. Their neighbor really is a vampire! Peter Vincent is used to killing vampires in his films, but he must know face vampires for real! Will he have the courage to do it?

The new Peter Vincent

Who plays Peter in the remake? David Tenant, some of you might recognize him from the new Dr. Who television series. This is one of the characters that has suffered the most changes. Instead of being an aging television host, on this remake Peter Vincent is actually an illusionist! Vegas style! Something along the lines of David Copperfield or David Blane. Actually, he’s more of a Chris Angel because his magic show is called “Fright Night” and his illusions are based on old horror movies. So that’s a cool element to it. Also, as you can see, Peter Vincent is no longer an old man living on memories of his former glory.

Chris Sarandon in one of his most memorable roles as Jerry Dandridge

Jerry Dandridge: This is the main villain of the film. Sarandon played Dandridge as a man who is irresistible to women. One look from his hypnotic eyes and that’s all it takes, they are immediately in his power. He has just moved into the neighborhood and his main purpose is to suck the town dry! (Not that it would be much of a loss..) Problem comes when Charlie Brewster (his next door neighbor) discovers that he is a vampire. He doesn’t see it as much of a threat, cause who’s going to believe a nerdy teenager? Especially when his story involves vampires? Nobody that’s who! Dandridge than falls in love with Charlie’s girlfriend and kidnaps her. Will he manage to turn her into his lover? And into a vampire as well?

Jerry Dandridge (2011)
Who’s playing Jerry Dandridge on the Remake? Collin Farrell. I think Farrell has what it takes to make a great Jerry Dandridge. I am actually most curious to see how this character turns out in this remake. It’s the one character who can make or break the film, lets hope he nails it.

Amanda Bearse as Amy Peterson in Fright Night (1985)

Amy Peterson: This character was played by Amanda Bearse on the original film. She is the girl starving for more attention from his boyfriend, who seems to only think about horror movies and vampires. She thinks Charlie is going a little coo-coo in the head from watching so many horror movies. She is actually the one who pays Peter Vincent to convince Charlie that there are no such things as vampires. Too bad she is dead wrong! Dandridge falls head over heals for her, because she actually reminds him of a love of his from eons ago. Will Dandridge manage to turn Amy into a vampire? Will Charlie rescuer her in time? Survey says: No chance in hell!

The new Amy? Sure! Why the hell not!

Who Plays Amy in the remake? Imogen Poots. I haven’t heard much of Imogen Poots, but that’s just because she’s an up and coming actress. She’s got the looks though, and she’s definitely a one up on Amanda Bearse. Poot’s has some experience in horror films, she was seen a couple of years ago in the excellent zombie film 28 Weeks Later (2007).

‘Evil’ Ed Thompson: Evil was played on the original by Stephen Geoffrey's. Geoffrey's portrayal of Evil Ed is actually one of the more memorable things about the original. He played the character in a very wacky, evil and crazy fashion. At first he is Charlie Brewster’s best friend. He is also a very knowledgeable dude when it comes to horror movies and vampires. He is kind of nerdy, and gets picked on in school a lot. He thinks Charlie has gone crazy with all these vampire stories, so he takes it all as a joke. “There are no such things as vampires you fruit cake!” he says at one point. He genuinely believes that, until he comes face to face with Jerry Dandridge himself! Will ‘Evil’ crossover to the dark side of the force? Survey says: Yes siree!

  Evil Ed will get some McLovin

Who Plays ‘Evil’ on the remake? Christopher Mintz Plasse. Yeah, McLovin is playing Evil. I mean, he isn’t my favorite choice, but he is appropriately geeky looking which goes with the character. That’s about all I can say about Mintz playing evil, I just hope he can do the character justice. I don’t see Mintz being that menacing as a vampire, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Charlies spaced out mom, not entirely in tune with whats going on in the universe

Judy Brewster (Charlies Mom): On the original, this character was played by an actress known as Dorothy Fielding. This character isn’t all that important on the original, she appears only a few times, but her portrayal is that of a ditzy mom who is never really aware of anything that’s going on. She is living in the clouds, and when Charlie tells her that her next door neighbor is a vampire all she does is offer Charlie some hot cocoa. Jerry Dandridge woos her, so he can get closer to Charlie, cause he knows that Charlie knows.

Charlies new mom

Who plays Judy Brewster on the remake? Toni Collete. Some of you might remember Toni Collete as the mom in Little Miss Sunshine. I wonder if they’ll beef up this character for the remake or leave her as a secondary one? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Finally, we have a new character in the film! This new character does not appear in the original at all, it was completely made up for the remake. The character’s name is ‘Virgin’ and she will be played by Sandra Vergara. She is going to be playing Peter Vincent’s assistant magician in his magic show. All I can says is YOWZA!

Peter Vincent sure is moving on up with an assitant like this!

So that’s it my friends, that’s all the info I have on this new remake. How do you feel about it? Is it sounding like something you’d want to see? For your info, this movie is going to be premiering on Oct 17 2011, perfect movie for seeing on Halloween! Actually, I always play the original on Halloween, people seem to always stay stuck to the screen whenever a vampire shows up. Lets hope this new remake lives up to the awesomeness of the original. I leave you with the first pic of Dave Tennant as Peter Vincent. What do you guys think? Comment below and let me know!

Fright NightFright Night Part II


Sarah E. Jahier said...

I was tentative about the remake when I first heard about it, but then I saw that gawd-awful Peter Vincent poster and my hope kinda drained...

Still curious to see what Farrell does with the vampire role and excited that Toni Collete is involved, but I'm not expecting much.

Unknown said...

Yeah, that Peter Vincent poster kinda killed it for me, too. Still, I do have a twinge of curiosity of what Colin Farrell will be like a suave vamp. I've always liked him and that might be enough to get to check this out.

But, the purist in me still thinks that this is an unnecessary remake and the original was good just the way it is.

Franco Macabro said...

I think that this banner is not an official poster, I think it is more of a prop.

It looks to me like its part of the movie, Peter Vincent promotes his show, and its called Fright Night, so this banner might very well show up in the film itself.

Shaun Anderson [The Celluloid Highway] said...

I'd be lying if I said I was enthused about this remake. Mostly for the reasons you outlined above Franco about the nature of horror remakes and the sheer ineptitude therein. I'm not a big fan of the original movie. I watched it once, and that was in about 1990 I think and havent felt the need to return to it...perhaps I will now after reading your article.

Franco Macabro said...

Well, maybe its a personal favorite, but I doubt it, I have met a lot of people who rave about it as much as I do. I guess its one of those movies that those who love it REALLY LOVE IT!

But yeah, Im on the fence on this one, I just hope it isnt one of those refined and polished remakes, where they cut off the gore and horror elements cause Im gonna be PISSED!

Im crossing my fingers on this one.

Mr. Fiendish said...

ugh... I like Dr. Who but this is just awful

venoms5 said...

I don't know about this one. The original I liked a lot and think it's one of the best 80's horror movies. The sequel, not so much.

And with the direction that sickening plague that is TWILIGHT has taken vampires, I shudder to think what kind of film this will turn out to be. Vampires have over saturated the market these days as have zombies. It's time for something else.

Franco Macabro said...

Hey Venom, I know what you mean about over saturation, they are even doing vampire spoofs now (Vampires Suck) so I think thats a sign to give vampires a break for a while, but I guess, as long as vampire movies keep raking in the dough, I doubt hollywood will stop making them.

As for Fright Night Part II, I dont hate it as much as some people hate it, I actually enjoy it. I mean, its not as awesome as the first one, thats for certain, but its still a fun watch, and a good sequel. I mean, it literally followed the same storyline, you feel like, this is a continuation of the first, like these are the same characters and we have followed them a couple of months after the first film. It does not feel like some sequels that feel detached from the first one.

I did miss Evil Ed on the sequel (especially after the way the first one ends) but I guess Stephen Geoffrey's was too busy making 976-Evil and gay porn.

I reserve my judgment of this remake until I have seen the previews. If the previews do nothing for me, then I wont support this one. But Im being positive about things...

venoms5 said...

I thought the sequel was okay, just was not as enjoyable as the first movie. I haven't seen it in years though.

Franco Macabro said...

The sequel has some positive things about it:

- The Return of both Peter Vincent and Charlie Brewster

- The continuation of the story from the first film. Charlie is into therapy, trying to convince himself vampires dont exist.

- Thought it was cool that it was Jerry Dandridge's sister who's out for the revenge of her brother.

- Super hot Julie Carmen playing Regine Dandridge.

So yeah, its not the most important story ever told. It is essentially a revenge story, pure and simple. But it partially turns Charlie into a vampire and has him actually considering becoming one for a second, confronting the temptation of having his first kill I thought that was cool.

All I say is, it could certainly have been worse! At least its not a crappy sequel.

I Like Horror Movies said...

Knowing that there IS a Fright Night remake is more than I ever wanted to know about the Fright Night remake lol..

A great collection of information here dude, I have been avoiding all news about the remake to try and avoid making any prejudgments on it prior to its release, but McLovin might actually be able to handle the role and was a surprising pick I hadnt considered!

Franco Macabro said...

I know what you mean Carl, the original Fright Night is a film I love very much, its spooky fun, and it will always be there no matter what remake is being made, but I am kind of curious to see how the update works out! Im hoping it will retain that spooky, old school horror element, cause thats what makes the first one special for me.

Also, the cast had such wonderful chemistry, I hope this new cast can achieve that as well.

mlvc said...

No Billy Cole? :o)

Franco Macabro said...

No mlvc, it appears as though Jerry Dandridge wont have a ghoul on this remake, there is no Billy Cole anywhere on the credits in IMDB...


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