Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ball-less Vampires with Fang

Nevermind that I recommended seeing the Fright Night remake yesterday. I let one overzealous critic get my hopes up. My head is clear now and I realize that my initial assessment was right. Why try to redo something that was so good to begin with?

I'm a sculptor so let me use this analogy: The original Fright Night was like a sculpt of The David - it has all the right parts in the right places, everything is where it's supposed to be, it's whole. You could scrutinize it up close and see that each part is good and appropriate. You could also step back and find that all together it works and it is beautiful.

The Fright Night remake, instead of starting with a nice new block of marble, is some hybrid mutation of the original chunked up and reformed. The rebooters maybe chiseled off an arm and cemented it to the back, or sliced off the nose and glued it to a thigh. And the balls, well, they hacked those off and tossed them completely. So what you have when you take a step back and size up the remake is an ugly mess that is a little frightening (and not in a fun way), makes no sense and is ball-less.

After the show I was embarrassed to have worn my Fright Night t-shirt. I left the theater with my arms crossed over my chest. I won't pick apart who was the worst at what because everyone sucked. Farrell was a terrible Jerry Dandrige! Evil Ed sucked. Everything that made Charley Charley was gone in Yelchin's portrayal. Instead of being a innocent boy with steadfast convictions he was a wishy washy high school hero wannabe skeptical of that which he was up against. That sounds more like Peter Vincent's character! Even Charley's mom got a make over. No longer was she the clueless doting mother. Instead she was a wizened hip single mom too wary to fall to the (non existent) wiles of new neighbor Jerry Dandrige. Even new Jerry's house was innocuous and sterile. Remember how spooky original Jerry's house was, with all the old timey stuff and cobwebs and nooks -n- crannies? Nevermind that freakin' staircase! And what happened to Billy Cole, the subservient watchdog / bodyguard of Jerry's? He just got written out? I guess Jerry didn't need someone to watch his back while he sleeps the sleep of the undead since in this reboot Jerry doesn't seem to need to sleep during the day. Is the new Jerry taking queue's from the Twilight vampires now, he doesn't need to slumber during daylight hours? And forget about the special effects. I don't even want to go there because that would mean another 500 words just on how substandard the new CGI vampy effects are compared to the original. The reboot used state of the art effects to essentially try to recreate what the first movie did with masks and makeup, and FAILED.

I guess I did want to pick it apart.

This movie seemed like a metally diminished person watched the original Fright Night and incorrectly analyzed each character and then overemphasized his miscalculations when re-imagining the characters. For example, in the original I never got the feeling that Ed was an outcasted nerdy loaner / loser. He was just this creepy dude that you assumed would someday be in trouble with the law for something weird and scary. And as fate would have it, he indeed would end up doing illegal and highly scary, creepy things - only as a vampire. It always seemed like Ed's exclusion from social circles was his own doing. He didn't give a shit what anyone thought.

Same goes for the new Jerry. Where's the charisma? What happened to the sexy? They most definitely did not bring sexy back. ...Maybe they should have cast Justin Timberlake as Jerry. To sum up this heinous misrepresentation of one of cinema's coolest vampires, let me lay another analogy on you:

Farrell's Dandrige IS TO Sarandon's Dandrige AS high school drop out auto mechanic IS TO virile world traveler with a masters in antique collecting and ass kicking.

****SPOILER ALERT!****
As a matter of fact, the cameo of Chris Sarandon only served to highlight that he is STILL way cooler and more fitting as Jerry Dandrige. They should have chucked the cameo idea and just recast Sarandon as Dandrige. Let Farrell do the damned cameo.
****END - SPOILER ALERT!****


Overall I got the distinct feeling that director Craig Gillespie misunderstood the whole spirit of the original Fright Night. The original was unsettling and also whimsical. Frightening and hilarious. It understood what real horror movies are all about. It just got it. That's how you make a cult classic movie. Even the soundtrack played a pivotal role in making the original movie work. Brad Fiedel made magic with his Fright Night score. I can hear two or three cords from that creepy Fiedel Fright Night riff and I'm immediately inundated with memories of Charley Brewster sneaking about, blindly poking his nose into darkened corners and spooky places that are better left unexplored. Maybe the reboot works for a new generation of viewers, what with all the sexual remarks and wise-ass cracks. What I'm saying is that, sadly, Gillespie took a horror movie that happened to be about a teenager and turned it into a teen horror movie.

Please forget I recommended the Fright Night reboot so enthusiastically. Pretend I said Daybreakers.

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