Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Holy 1985, Batman!

OK, so this trailer came out today:

The original Fright Night is one of my favorite movies from the 1980s. You can't beat the 80s for movies that combined cheesiness, heart, and cornball special effects that we all thought were way cool because they were done on COMPUTERS. Radical!

Anyway, Fright Night was a little out-of-nowhere vampire movie from 1985 that you probably saw on video, if you saw it at all. Plot basics: Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale, who now is an Actor in stuff like "Justifed" and "Judging Amy" but who got his start starring in this flick) suspects that his new next-neighbor is a vampire. But no one - not his single mom, not his perky girlfriend, not his insane best friend Evil Ed - believes him. So Charley recruits Peter Vincent, a has-been B-movie star who calls himself "The Vampire Killer" on the local scary-movie show. Peter doesn't believe Charley either - at first. But it turns out Charley is right.

Yada yada, best friend is turned into a vampire, girlfriend almost goes the same route, washed-up actor has to regain his lost confidence, vampire goes bye-bye. I didn't say Fright Night was a good movie. But it was a great movie.

Love the cast. Chris Sarandon played Jerry Dandridge, the vampire. That's right, people: Prince Humperdinck, Jack Skellington, and Jerry Dandridge, all played by Chris Sarandon.

I guess they used a lot of makeup in Nightmare Before Christmas.
Jonathan Stark played his fellow vampire/assistant/boyfriend, Billy Cole. He went on to write for TV shows like "Cheers" and "Ellen," and he created "According to Jim." But I don't hold it against him because he was great in Fright Night.

Stephen Geoffreys played Evil Ed, who stole the damn movie.

"Dinner is in the oven!"
And if you haven't heard much from ol' Stephen Geoffreys in the last 20 years or so, it must be because you don't watch a lot of hardcore gay porn videos, which is how Evil Ed has been making ends meet (sorry, I'm not quite over yesterday's Weiner post, I guess).

And of course, the great and wonderful Roddy McDowall played Peter Vincent.

I know, this is McDowall as Cornelius in
Planet of the Apes, not Peter Vincent
in Fright Night. I like apes.
Amada Bearse (later of "Married...with Children" fame) played girlfriend Amy, showing off a range of looks, from this:

to this:

Go find a copy of the original Fright Night. Seriously. Fun, fun movie, synth-heavy soundtrack, lots of orange contact lenses.

So they're releasing a remake in August. Normally I wouldn't care a bit about a post-Twilight 21st-century update of my beloved Fright Night. First Karate Kid, now this. Ho-hum. Except!


And as you can see in the trailer, he wears eyeliner and goes shirtless.

I can honestly say that as much as I adored Roddy McDowall in the part, God rest his soul, the appeal of his Peter Vincent was not smokey eyes and a bare chest. And seriously, I would go see the new Fright Night for David Tennant even if he weren't wearing eyeliner and going shirtless. But holy crap, is that an added incentive or what?

When you look like this AND you played the best
Doctor Who ever, you don't need added incentives.
Still...eyeliner and no shirt, knowhutimean?
David Tennant is an amazing actor. His Hamlet was breathtaking. Nonetheless, I freely admit that I will bring a stack of napkins to the movie theatre to stanch my drooling when he's on screen.

Frankly, I don't have very high hopes for the rest of Fright Night. Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Evil Ed? He was impressive as Red Mist in Kick-Ass, sure. But what are his gay porn credentials, hmmm? Seriously, I'm not sure anyone can top Stephen Geoffreys in this role.

Then there's Anton Yelchin as Charley Brewster. You know, William Ragsdale was not exactly the dramatic glue that held the cast together in the original, so maybe this could work. I've only ever seen Anton Yelchin as Chekov in the Star Trek reboot, and oh hey, he played the kid in Hearts in Atlantis? Eh.

The biggest problem for most of the online movie geeks (where do these people come from?) seems to be the casting of Colin Farrell as Jerry Dandridge. Whatever. My biggest problem is that there doesn't seem to be a Billy Cole in the remake! Are you serious? Billy Cole was the movie! OK, maybe not, but I'm not happy about this. Not at all.

Who's a cute little vampire?
The number-one result of seeing this new trailer is that I now really, really want to see the 1985 version again. And yeah, I really want to see David Tennant as Peter Vincent, too. It's going to be hard to go into the remake with an open mind, but I'm willing to see if I can derive as much innocent, cheesy pleasure from it as I did the original Fright Night. I'm going to try. I really am.

But to quote Jerry Dandridge, "You have to have faaiittthhh for that to work."

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