Every second week of the month, Catie Rhodes and I review a classic film and its reboot in our Original versus Remake series. For the month of February, we’ve gone back to the horror genre and selected Fright Night. While Catie will be reviewing the original on Wednesday, and I will be covering the more recent adaptation next Friday, today I thought I’d share my take on the ‘80s classic I watched countless times as a little girl.
Yes, that’s right; my parents let me watch whatever I wanted when I was younger. The horror genre really took off in the ‘80s, and I can’t express my thanks enough to my parents for not sheltering me from these movies. Watching these frightening flicks didn’t scare me away either; I absolutely love slashers and all kinds of horror today.
But most vampire movies today want the audience to fall in love with the vampire. Take the Twilight series for example – none of the Cullens actually feed on humans (not that we see, anyway). No, the bad vampires (like Victoria) are the evil vamps killing innocents; and the good vampires, like the Cullen family, fight these bad seeds to protect Bella and the other humans.
The same can’t be said about Tom Holland’s 1985 classic, Fright Night.
That’s not to say the viewers don’t secretly love Fright Night’s vampire lead. Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon) possesses all the qualities we love in a vampire; he’s sexy, seductive, brooding, and he’s not afraid to sink his teeth into a nightly feed.
But Jerry is not the character the audience is supposed to cheer on during the big showdown at the end of the movie.
Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) lives a normal teenage life with his single mother, Judy (Dorothy Fielding), quirky best friend, Edward, aka “Evil Ed” (Stephen Geoffreys), and girlfriend, Amy (Amanda Bearse), until one night he notices the new neighbor moving in with what resembles coffin-like boxes.
Being a horror fan, Charley immediately questions whether or not a vampire has just moved in next door and he begins investigating. He reaches out to a television vampire hunter, Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall), for ways to prove, or disprove, that his new neighbor is indeed a blood-sucker.
Watching women disappear after joining the mysterious man next door, Charley decides to sneak over and put some of Peter’s ideas to the test. His suspicions are confirmed when he notices Jerry’s image does not reflect in a mirror. But unfortunately for the teenager, Jerry learns that his young neighbor has been sneaking around when Charley leaves behind a piece of his mirror.
Jerry stalks Charley, terrorizes him, and makes his life a living hell. He lures those closest to Charley by turning them and compelling them to do as he wishes.
Charley’s only hope is to trust Peter. Armed with holy water, crosses, and wooden stakes, Charley and Peter enter the vampire’s house with one goal—kill.
Fright Night is not a feel-good vampire movie. It’s mysterious, dark, and at times spooky. Even the music was eerie and seductive, particularly the instrumental “Dream Window (Come to Me)” by Brad Fiedel.
The movie won awards, spawned a novelization, a sequel, a comic book series, and a computer game.
And in 2011, a remake.
DreamWorks (Steven Spielberg) has remade the classic film, and cast Colin Farrell as Jerry. Colin Farrell! Who doesn’t think this is the best casting for the sexy, dark role of Jerry?
The casting all around is FaBOOolous: Anton Yelchin (Terminator Salvation, Star Trek) plays Charley Brewster; Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense, United States of Tara) plays Jane Brewster; David Tennant (Doctor Who, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) plays Peter Vincent; and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Role Models, Kick-Ass) plays Evil Ed.
A few other notable roles include: James Franco’s (Freaks and Geeks, Spiderman, 127 Hours) little brother, Dave Franco, playing Mark; Sofia Vergara’s (Modern Family) little sister, Sandra Vergara, playing Ginger; and Lisa Loeb (1994 hit song, “Stay”), playing Evil Ed’s mom.
So how does the remake hold up? You’ll have to come back next week to find out!
Be sure to tune into Catie’s blog on Wednesday to see what she thinks about the original, and I’ll be back next Friday with my take on the 2011 film.
What do you think? Were/are you a fan of the 1985 Fright Night? I’d love to hear from you!