Remakes have become the bane of movie enthusiasts, particularly with horror movies. I’m not entirely against the idea, except remakes are (usually) poorly executed and only done for the sake of getting the studio a little extra cash without having to worry about such things as, oh, creativity and originality.
There have been so many remakes of iconic horror movies that have been lackluster or simply awful. The reason why earlier I said I’m not entirely against the idea is because if a remake of a story were taken seriously, it could be an interesting and creative new take that adds a new layer. Unfortunately, the trend is to just make a carbon copy or a dumbed down version of the original that make the fans and anyone with an IQ want to stab their eyes out. Over the past so many years it seems that we have been flooded with these remakes. Â Off of the top of my head the worst ones that come to mind are Prom Night, My Bloody Valentine, The Hitcher, The Wicker Man, and The Fog.
There are exceptions to this, of course. Dawn of the Dead, The Last House on the Left, The Ring, and one of the most terrifying movies ever, John Carpenter’s The Thing, are exceptional remakes. It’s sad that the ratio of good to awful remakes is so vast because whenever I hear of yet another movie being remade my immediate reaction is that of frustration and grief.
When I discovered that Fright Night, one of my favorite vampire movies ever was being remade, I was mortified. I knew that the need for this remake was because of the recent vampire craze thanks to a certain sparkly d-bag, so on top of everything else I was immediately resentful. Fright Night is not only scary, it’s funny, sexy, and has the wonderful Roddy McDowall as Peter Vincent, actor turned vampire killer. I didn’t want this great vampire movie getting a “Twilight” treatment. As time went on I kept tabs on the project, fearing the worst.
One of the first major updates with the remake was that Marti Noxon, one of the writers fromÂ Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Mad Men, would be writing the script. I’m a *huge* fan of Buffy and pretty much grew up on that show, so admittedly I was a bit intrigued by Noxon being hired as the writer. Then Craig Gillespie, the director of Lars and the Real Girl, was attached. Once again, even though at this point I was still on the nay side, I was intrigued.
Finally, members of the cast were announced. Anton Yelchin, a Defective Geek’s favorite, had been cast as Charlie. I must admit that I am rather fond of Mr. Yelchin as an actor, so that made me pretty happy, but still on the fence with the project. More members of the cast were announced including the lovely Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Dave Franco. At this point I was thinking, “Well, at least there will be eye candy and entertaining performances even if the movie itself blows.”
Then I found out who was cast as Peter Vincent: David Tennant. Yes, THAT David Tennant.Â Not only is Tennant playing Peter Vincent, but in this version Peter Vincent will be a silly Criss Angel knock-off. This, my friends, was the moment when I finally decided that I was going to give this movie a chance. The fact that Peter Vincent has been updated from a movie actor in lieu of Peter Cushing to a Vegas performer, to me, shows that the remake is being taken seriously because it’s keeping up with the times and retaining the grandiose of Vincent’s character, while still remaining comical. Also, look at this picture. You *know* they’re poking it at Criss Angel, and who doesn’t want that?
Another important aspect of this project is the casting and treatment of the big bad vampire, Mr. Jerry Dandridge. In the original Chris Surandon was Dandridge and did a damn good job of being scary, but also totally smooth. There had been a lot of debate over who should be the next Dandridge and I have to say that I was very pleased with Colin Farrell being cast. He’s got the looks and the attitude and is a fine actor (if you don’t believe me, watch In Bruges and tell me he wasn’t amazing).
From what I’ve read in this version Jerry Dandridge is a lot scarier and more predatory. Even though I love the original Dandridge for being such a smooth ladies’ man, I think having Dandridge be a scary MoFo in this version is great because the vampire genre right now is crawling with way too many sweet and romantic vampires. If the new Dandridge was exactly like the original, then I feel that this portrayal would simply be categorized as yet another mushy vampire, despite his scariness, so in order to be refreshing and stand out from today’s vamps, we need him to be utterly terrifying. So, this is a change that I am supporting. Bring back scary vampires, damn it!
This clip also gives me hope:
Farrell here is cold, slick, and quite scary. I dig it.
I’m pretty sure that my saying this will get my “Horror Fanatic” member card revoked, but I am looking forward to seeing this remake. From everything that I’ve seen it looks like Noxon and Gillepsie have taken the movie seriously and have done a good job with casting and setting a new tone. Is there still a possibility that this movie will fail? Of course, but I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. If it does indeed suck (har har) then I’ll eat my words and suffer the consequences. At first I was one of the strongest naysayers, but now I must admit that given all of the evidence it looks like there is a chance that this remake will be worth the effort. My only complaint, though, is that there hasn’t been nearly enough Tennant in the trailers.
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