Fright Night Reboot: Did They Suck All The Fun Out?

I recently checked out the new trailer for the remake of one of my favourite ’80s cult classics Fright Night, and while I admit that I’m quite satisfied with the excellent cast that has been brought together for this film (Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin and Christopher Mintz-Plasse are all top-notch choices for their respective roles), I couldn’t help but notice now shockingly un-funny it appears to be from the trailer.  Being such a huge fan of the original, which is one of the finest horror-comedies of the ’80s (and perhaps of all-time), I have been eagerly awaiting the release of what I believed to be an inspired choice for a modern remake.  The first 45 seconds or so of the trailer start out with a bit of lighthearted humour, but things quickly become very serious once the whole vampire plot is introduced, and the film appears to move in more of a straightforward teen monster-movie direction than that of a tongue-in-cheek horror-comedy like the original. This is extremely disappointing, considering how well the 1985 cult classic blended its self-parody moments with scenes of full-blown creature horror, perfectly layering cheesy laughs with actual scares.

David Tennant as Peter Vincent, Mind-Freak!

There was also hardly any sign of the film’s second lead, the washed up ex-TV star and monster-hunter by the name of Peter Vincent, who was marvelously played by Roddy McDowall in the original and ended up single-handedly taking that film from good to great with his charismatic performance.  Now, I’m aware that actor David Tennant (from TV’s Dr. Who) has been cast in the role of Vincent in the new film, and a production still depicts him as a sort of Chris Angel-type of phony magician (right), so he will definitely play a role in the remake, but his absence from the trailer is somewhat disheartening.

Perhaps the producers are just testing the waters with more of a straightforward trailer in order to gauge viewer interest?  That would account for the lack of Peter Vincent, who may actually be an incredibly funny character in the new film (thus making his appearances unsuitable for a dark trailer like the one above).  Or maybe the filmmakers just dropped the ball with this one, sacrificing the fun behind this cult classic in order to cash in on the teen-horror fad that has developed in the past few years.  Who knows.  One thing’s for sure though: unless I see signs of some real comedy in the next trailer, this is one dead corpse I won’t be rushing to see at the theatre.

And for your viewing pleasure, here are 10-minutes of early footage from the original Fright Night (1985), where you can see the fantastic Chris Sarandon as vampire Jerry Dandridge meeting and confronting William Ragsdale as Charely Brewster.  This clip doesn’t show “Evil” Ed or Peter Vincent, two of the film’s greatest characters, but it does contain one of my all-time favourite scenes from that film (the final scene shown).  Hope you enjoy!

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~ by Mark D'Amico on June 2, 2011.

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