Spooky and Seductive Vampires – Fright Night (1985)

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.

Until then…

What do you think?  Were/are you a fan of the 1985 Fright Night?   I’d love to hear from you!

Catching Up with the Movies – Part Two: The Top Half

Very rarely do we actually go to the movie theater to catch a new release, but my guy and I do frequent the fabOoolous movie vending machines known as Redbox.  We also like to “rent” movies via OnDemand, whether it is the pay services or the free premium channels that accompany our cable plan.  Without fail, there’s always an “older” film we missed…

Every December, my guy takes an extended amount of time off and we use his vacation as our annual staycation.  Not only do we catch up on our sleep, but we also catch up on the latest releases we missed during their stint at the theater.  Usually we lean toward the comedies, wanting to relax and laugh the previous year away, but this time we frequented the drama and tension filled actions and mysteries.

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a list of movies here at The Ooo Factor, so it’s time… but, warning: not all of the films I watch come highly recommended.

Two weeks ago, I published Part One of this list: Magic Mike, Killer Joe, and The Amazing Spider-Man.  Today, I share the remaining films ranked from our least favorite to the most.

Today’s flicks I do actually recommend…



#4 – Total Recall

If watching the remake of Total Recall taught me anything, I learned that I needed to rewatch the original.  My guy kept insisting that the two films while somewhat similar were still quite different.  Clearly, I don’t remember enough about the Schwarzenegger version; however, I do know this: if action is what you like, the 2012 release doesn’t disappoint.

One thing’s certain—Colin Farrell is much sexier as Quaid.  And Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel are not only gorgeous, but also well suited for action/adventure movies.

But if a trip to Mars is what anyone is looking forward to or expecting, let’s just say don’t get your hopes up.


#3 – The Raven

I’ve never really been a big fan of poetry, but when asked which poem is my favorite, I always answer Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.”  Partner this with the fact the motion picture The Raven stars John Cusack, and I knew I had to see it.

Maybe it’s because I like him, but I personally think Cusack’s portrayal of the seemingly misunderstood, gloomy, and melancholy writer to be fantastic.  And while the story is believed to be fictional—at least I don’t think a madman ever recreated Poe’s murder scenes in real life to be true—it is still intense and highly believable… as in it “could” have happened.  It took me following the clues along with Poe and the inspector to truly figure out who was behind the madness, making it a great whodunit as far as I’m concerned.  There’s also romance, a sad and forbidden love shared between Poe and his lady if that’s what you like.

There are things I want to say about the ending, but I won’t.  I highly encourage anyone with any ounce of interest in Poe and/or mysteries to see this and experience it for themselves.


#2 – The Dark Knight Rises

Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney.  They’ve all played the The Caped Crusader, and all of their movies were enjoyable; but Christian Bale is Batman as far as I’m concerned.  It all started with Batman Begins back in 2005—a darker story with nowhere near the comedic aspects of the earlier films in the franchise.  And then there was The Dark Knight.  Not enough can be said about this installment, especially not when it comes to Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when we pressed play on the final film in this trilogy, but every minute of the two and a half hours that we watched kept me on the edge of my seat.  This movie is intense from pretty much the beginning all the way to the very end.   I’m not saying The Dark Knight Rises is better than its predecessor, that would be difficult, but it also doesn’t disappoint.

Perhaps what I enjoyed the most was the ending… a part of me thought throughout the movie that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was the real star of the film; it seemed to me his character was on screen more than Bale’s.  I couldn’t figure out why… until the ending.  I was shocked.  And I loved it all the same.  My guy said he saw it coming, but I didn’t.

Why they say this is the final film in this particular franchise is beyond me.  I would love to see it continue.

Oh, and Tom Hardy played Bane?  I had no idea!  After watching him and falling in love with him in This Means War, I seriously had no clue he was the masked man wreaking havoc on Gotham City in this movie.  None.  I can’t quite think of another antagonist to compare his performance to… Bardem’s portrayal of Silva in Skyfall does come to mind though.  Bane is bad; man, is he bad.  But I still felt myself liking this character.


And #1 – Savages

Savages… what can I say about this movie?  From the first time I saw the trailer, I knew I wanted to see this film.  Why?  Taylor Kitsch; Blake Lively; John Travolta; Benicio del Toro; and Salma Hayek.  Talk about an all-star cast!  I didn’t mention Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and that’s because I didn’t know who he was… not until watching the movie.  I still don’t know him from anything else, but now I will at least recognize his cute face.

So, back to Savages—a movie about two friends (a botanist and an ex Navy SEAL) running a highly lucrative marijuana business in California who run into trouble when a fading Mexican cartel wants to partner with them.  Why would a Mexican cartel, fading or not, want to partner up with two small town boys in Laguna Beach?  Because their strain has 35% potency, whereas most other strains have only about 5% potency.  I guess that’s some REALLY good pot…  Anyway, the boys try to walk away from the cartel… and well, that never ends well.

From the start of this movie, I was afraid we were walking into another “lorno,” or light porno, especially after watching Killer Joe earlier in the week.  But it wasn’t a lorno; however, there are a couple of really hot and racy sex scenes in the opening minutes.  And let me just say that Gossip Girl would have loved to report on Blake Lively’s shenanigans in this movie to her Upper Eastsiders…

This story is more about the back and forth between these two boys and the Mexican cartel.  And the dialogue.  The dialogue is probably why I chose this film as my number one over the holiday.  The back and forth between the two parties I expected; but the witty and smart one-liners are what really drew me in.  I laughed when the movie isn’t at all a comedy.  John Travolta proves that he isn’t one-dimensional.  Salma Hayek?  Well, you’ll have to see to believe… And Benicio del Toro?  I personally think he’s always great…

I watched this film not only with my guy but also with my mother.  She doesn’t usually like this type of film, but she watches because my father and I both enjoy them.  However, even she though this movie was very engrossing… and we’re both glad my nephews left earlier in the night.


Have you seen any of these movies?  If so, what did you think?  What movies have you seen lately that come highly recommended?  I’d love to hear from you!

Catching the 3:10 to Yuma

It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and me to break down another cinematic original and its remake.  Sticking with our usual ways, Catie reviews the original and I take on the remake.  This month we tackle the classic western, 3:10 to Yuma.

First, let’s check in with Catie’s Homemade Summary that applies to both the 1957 and 2007 versions:

A timid rancher who is down on his luck finds himself responsible for making sure a smooth-tongued outlaw does not escape justice.

Catie and I both stepped out of our comfort zones for these reviews.  But since our readers actually suggested 3:10, we decided to give it a shot.

Before I begin, let me just say why I requested the remake.  Regardless of how ashamed I am to admit it, I usually choose the newer versions because I have not seen the originals.  And while I indeed haven’t seen this 1957 movie, that is not why I picked the 2007 film this time.

Honestly, I have no idea why, but I don’t watch westerns.  For this reason, I had never seen either version of 3:10 to Yuma nor did I ever plan to.  Despite my mother’s insistence that I would enjoy this film, my attitude about westerns didn’t change and I put off watching this movie until the very last minute.

When I finally did watch, the fact that 3:10 was a western didn’t even seem to matter much anymore, much like Wyatt Earp and Tombstone—two westerns that I’ve actually seen from the beginning to the end AND enjoyed.  And trust me, I’m not kidding when I say the list of cowboy-type movies I’ve watched pretty much ends there.

Back to the question at hand—why did I request the remake?  Two words—Ben Foster.

My review of the 2011 remake of The Mechanic is actually what prompted us to review 3:10 in the first place.  Back in October, I raved about the performance of a relatively unknown actor cast opposite Jason Statham in the action film—Mr. Ben Foster.  A reader and fellow author, Steven Montano, then suggested we cover 3:10 to Yuma.  Not only did he want to see how we’d break down the western classic and its remake, but he also wanted me to watch Ben Foster’s performance in another movie.

Ben Foster’s performance of Charlie is pure perfection.

And after watching, I’ll say one thing—I really like this guy.  Much like in The Mechanic, Mr. Foster almost steals the show.  His role is small, but his delivery is perfection and his eyes are captivating—he pulls the viewer in.

But let’s get back to the movie…

Based on the Elmore Leonard short story Three-Ten to Yuma, the movie follows the story of Dan Evans, the hero, and Ben Wade, the villain.  Now, if I’ve learned anything about Elmore Leonard’s writing  by watching Justified (the hit television series  based on his work), it’s that he knows how to develop characters—and not just the heroes.  Like his antagonist Boyd Crowder in the FX TV series, I couldn’t keep myself from liking Wade (played by Russell Crowe) AND Charlie (played by Ben Foster).

Clearly, Wade is the villain; he is the antagonist.  But his character has so many layers that he’s hard to despise while watching the 2007 remake.   To quote Alice Evans, played by Gretchen Mol, “He’s not what I expected.”

Wade’s pistol in the movie is known as “The Hand of God.”

Wade is a business man who burns barns to collect when not paid back in cash; he’ll “borrow” livestock to set up a blockade to complete a heist, but he returns them to their rightful owner  once they’ve served their purpose;  he’ll steal a man’s horses so he can’t follow him and his crew out of the mountains, but he’ll tie them up down the way so the owner can retain possession; he’s a patient man who loves to sketch God’s precious creations; and he’ll quote the Bible, even when using the said quote to justify his most recent killing—a man in his own crew.

“Proverbs 13:3.  He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life.  He that opens his lips too wide shall bring on his own destruction.”  ~ Wade to his crew, proving anyone is disposable when they put the rest of the group at risk.

Up until this point in the movie, Wade sits back and watches his men, led by Charlie Prince, do all of his dirty work.  It’s at this moment that the viewers see that Wade means business and he will not hesitate to remove anything or anyone standing in his way.

Everyone seems to fear Wade, but one down on his luck rancher—Dan Evans (played by Christian Bale)—who will do anything to raise enough money to save his family’s home and livestock.

Dan Evans, a hero who will do whatever it takes to be seen as such to his family.

Dan, the hero, is another character who pulls us in immediately…  He’s a war veteran, a husband and father, a man fighting to save everything.

“I’m tired of the way that they look at me.  I’m tired of the way that you don’t.  I’ve been standing on one leg for three damn years, waiting for God to do me a favor.  And He ain’t listening.” ~ Dan to his wife Alice.

As for the film itself, and like Catie stated in her review, the conflict is obvious.  Dan Evans will do anything to save his ranch and protect his family.  He steps up when no one else will and he vows to place Wade on the 3:10 train to Yuma.  On the flip side, Wade will do everything in his power to avoid the train because he knows upon reaching his destination he will surely hang.

Leading up to the big showdown and expected gunfight at the end, Dan’s son William (played by Logan Lerman) and Wade share a moment that defines the complexity of Wade’s character:

William: “Call ‘em off.”
Wade: “Why should I?”
William: “Because you’re not all bad.”
Wade: “Yes, I am.”
William: “You saved us from those Indians.”
Wade: “I saved myself.”
William: You got us through the tunnels.  You helped us get away.”
Wade: “If I had a gun in them tunnels, I would have used it on you.”
William: “I don’t believe you.”
Wade: “Kid, I wouldn’t last five minutes leading an outfit like that if I wasn’t as rotten as hell.”

But is he?  Is Wade all that rotten?  Well… watch the ending to see.

Now, I haven’t seen the original, so I have nothing to compare the remake to.  However, I do know that Russell Crowe and Christian Bale are absolutely fantastic in this movie.  It’s hard to imagine Tom Cruise playing Wade and Eric Bana playing Dan, but they almost did.  Thank the movie gods that this didn’t happen.  I have a hard time believing 3:10 to Yuma would have been nearly as enjoyable without Crowe’s and Bale’s intense performances.

Elmore Leonard knows characters, and Crowe and Bale master their portrayals of hero and villain.

Catie always lists some sort of fun trivia in her reviews, so I thought I’d throw one out there: from the time the city’s clock strikes three times for three o’clock, and the time the train arrives, exactly ten minutes pass in the movie.  That’s ten minutes of intense gun fighting AND ten minutes where I personally found myself rooting for the hero… and the villain.

I said it once before and I’ll say it again: I don’t watch westerns.  But, I am glad I watched this one.

What do you think?  Have you seen either the original or the remake of 3:10 to Yuma?  If you’ve seen both, which do you prefer and why?  If you haven’t, do you want to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to stop by Catie’s blog discussing the original if you haven’t already.

My Holiday Dates with the Movies – Part One: The Bottom Half

Very rarely do we actually go to the movie theater to catch a new release, but my guy and I do frequent the fabOoolous movie vending machines known as Redbox.  We also like to “rent” movies via OnDemand, whether it is the pay services or the free premium channels that accompany our cable plan.  Without fail, there’s always an “older” film we missed…

Every December, my guy takes an extended amount of time off and we use his vacation as our annual staycation.  Not only do we catch up on our sleep, but we also catch up on the latest releases we missed during their stint at the theater.  Usually we lean toward the comedies, wanting to relax and laugh the previous year away, but this time we frequented dramas and tension filled actions and mysteries.

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a list of movies here at The Ooo Factor, so it’s time… but, warning: not all of the films I watch come highly recommended.

Today, I’ve decided to rank these films from our least favorite to the most.  And after writing my reviews of each movie, the post far exceeded my usual word count, so I have split it into two:

Today’s Part One: The Bottom Half

And January 18th’s Part Two: The Top Half (next Friday will be the first installment of the 2013 Original versus Remake series collaboration with Catie Rhodes, thus the skip in weeks…)



#7 – Killer Joe

Killer Joe stars my boy Matthew McConaughey as “Killer” Joe Cooper, a detective by day and a hired gun by night.  I had never heard of Killer Joe before flipping through the available movies at Redbox, and it sold me almost immediately.

I wish it hadn’t.

First, I must issue a disclaimer.  If anyone is interested in watching this movie, make sure nudity and borderline pornographic scenes do not offend you before pressing play.  I mean it—the first scene is quite eye-opening… and it doesn’t stop there.

And pornographic?  Yes.  Let me just say there are two Matthew scenes that floored me… floored me as in I can’t believe he filmed them in the first place.  My guy skipped this film and decided to play video games instead.  I tried to get him to watch these two scenes with me after the fact, but he wasn’t interested after I told him about them…

The movie may have flopped as far as I’m concerned, but Matthew sure does look good in his cowboy hat!

If one can look past the “sexy” aspect of this movie, and I say “sexy” loosely, then we have the story itself.  For me, it didn’t get much better.  Really.  I laughed out loud more than I should have.  Some claim Killer Joe to be a dark comedy… well it is dark and I did laugh, but I never really “got” that it was supposed to be funny.  And I love dark comedies.


#6 – Magic Mike

I’m probably going to upset quite a few women having Magic Mike so low on my list… But let’s face it; the story itself is actually pretty weak.  Oh, and the acting isn’t really that much better…

One might question how the acting could be so bad when the film is stocked-full of top-notch actors today… just look at this list: People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, Channing Tatum; the boy who knocked my socks off in I am Number Four, Alex Pettyfer; our favorite True Blood werewolf Alcide, Joe Manganiello; the super suave and sexy Neal Caffrey from TV’s White Collar, Matt Bomer; one of the best looking CSIs on TV to date, Adam Rodriguez; and one of my all-time favorite Southerners, Matthew McConaughey.  Luckily for these guys, the horrible acting isn’t really their fault… it’s more the girls in the movie—the two girls.  To me, it felt like the casting directors locked in all of these studs and then forgot the movie needed a female presence, so they cast one relative up and comer (Olivia Munn) and someone I’ve never heard of to play the major female role (Cody Horn).

Regardless, did the female population go see this film because we expected the plot and acting to completely knock our socks off?  No—we paid money to see the boys and their dance moves!

Look! It’s my boy Matthew in a cowboy hat again…

When thought of from the eye candy and dance perspectives, Magic Mike does not disappoint!  I personally skipped out on Step Up, but I am now convinced Channing Tatum is an amazing dancer.  Not only that, but he’s one heck of a choreographer… at least I believe he helped teach the remaining hotties how to dance sexy-style.

Like most of the other women in the country, I first saw Magic Mike in the theater.  But when my mom came to visit over the holidays, I wanted her to see it too.  There are certain films that my father simply won’t see, and I was afraid this would be one of those movies.  And I was right.  So, despite the fact I wasn’t really a fan the first time I saw it, I watched it again with my mom.

Not surprisingly, she felt the exact same way I did.  Actually, she may have been a bit more critical than I was about the film.  But she did agree with me on one aspect—the guys are beautiful and boy can they move!


#5 – The Amazing Spider-Man

I’m not a comic book buff, but I know who Spider-Man is.  I even saw all of the Sam Raimi films starring Toby Maguire and enjoyed them.  This led me to question the decision to restart the franchise with a new Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) instead of continuing with the story already in place… there’s no Mary Jane (Kristen Dunst), no Harry Osborn (James Franco), and really no other similarities other than Peter Parker is orphaned and now living with his aunt and uncle.

That said, the reboot does have something I liked—Emma Stone.  I adore this girl.  Every movie I’ve seen her in I’ve enjoyed.  Granted, The Amazing Spider-Man is one of my least favorites on my holiday movie-watching list, but her role brightened the experience for me.

Emma Stone… I really like this girl!

Andrew Garfield isn’t bad as Peter/Spider-Man either; I just wish the series would move forward instead of going backward—absolutely nothing against him.

Now, my guy is a comic book buff, and even he was disappointed with this film.  His biggest complaint?  This movie lacked originality.  He pinpointed a few of the scenes and ideas that were considered ground-breaking and awe-inspiring in the Maguire generation of movies that were simply copied, even if not exactly, and inserted into the reboot.

Me?  I didn’t notice this per se, but I do know the film just didn’t do it for me.


I really battled with my decision to list Killer Joe at #7 and Magic Mike at #6.  Both films were equally as unimpressive… but, considering I actually paid for and watched Magic Mike twice, it has the edge up.  I will probably never watch Killer Joe again.

The Amazing Spider-Man is actually not that bad, I was just disappointed… and my guy… but that doesn’t mean we will skip out on the future films in the franchise.

Have you seen any of these movies?  If so, what did you think?  Have you been disappointed by any recent films?  I’d love to hear from you!

Remember to come back the 18th for the top half of the list when I review:

Total Recall


The Dark Knight Rises

The Raven

Can anyone guess the order in which these flicks will fall?

Until then…

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