Saturday, December 24, 2011

Comparison and contrast: Fright Night

Shawn and I enjoy shitting on remakes or reboot or whatever the kids and studio execs are calling them these days. Primarily because most suck, and suck hard. But that's not the case with all of them.

A good remake brings something unique to the table, retelling a good story in a new and interesting way. Like a good production of Hamlet, which has to be one of the most told stories in human history.

I'm not saying The Thing or Halloween or Fright Night are on the same level as Hamlet, but they are stories that lend themselves to retelling. And, when done right, each version can be as timeless as the one that came before it.

With that in mind, I've tackled  the 1980s horror classic and its redo, released this past summer.

Fright Night (1985)

I first saw this movie back in 1985. It's the first horror film I watched in a theatre and it scared the crap out of me. Now it's just a great funhouse ride of laughs, scares and gruesome, but fun, visual effects. Chris Sarandon is just awesome as the vampire and Roddy McDowall is a joy to watch as Peter Vincent: Vampire Killer. This was made back when horror movies, and movies in general, were a lot of fun and it shows. I find it hard to believe the remake will have anywhere near the energy and wit writer/director Tom Holland put into every frame of his movie. A Good for me. 

Fright Night (2011)

This could've been one of the better remakes in the horror cannon had the final act not fallen apart in a mess of  nonsense and contrived plot twists. But the 40 or 50 minutes that come before it are a fun and frightening update of the original film. Director Craig Gillespie and writer Marti Noxon make all the right choices in retelling the story of a vampire that moves into a suburban neighbourhood. Scenes are moved around and changed, giving the story a different feel. Colin Farrell makes Jerry his own, turning him into and angry and frightening villain. The rest of the cast is equally as good, and different, from the one that came before. I wish I could give this a Good, but the weak ending puts it in the Bad.

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