Fright Night (1985 v. 2011)

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Well, to everyone who’s been reading these, I am sincerely appreciative. I know that these days the easiest thing to do is watch YouTube videos, or read single-lines on Facebook, so the fact that anyone has taken the time to read 300+ words…really means a lot to me. That is sincere, I’m not being disingenuous.

Anyways, this time around its Jack Skellington vs Collin Farrell, 80s camp vs 2011’s … modern camp. I would like to welcome everyone to …

 

Fright Night

(for real)

Our adventure this time begins just 4 years before I was born. 1985, and the release of Fright Night. The 80s were a simple time, a campy time, filled with movies like Night of the Creeps, Evil Dead, and Re-Animator, this was a golden age for schlock fans. Fright Night was no exception. The IMDB synopsis for the uninitiated :

When a teenager learns that his next door neighbour is a vampire, no one will believe him.

It really doesn’t get more complicated than that. This kid learns his neighbor is a vampire and is determined to do something about it. So, he does. Aided (hesitantly) by his girlfriend and his INSANELY ANNOYING friend, our hero takes on his vampire neighbor, and his weird zombie companion.

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The main villain, played in this by Chris Sarandon (or as he’s better known, Jack Skellington), is charming and really a time capsule of delightful 80s horror villains. Not to mention he has super awkward vampire sex with the romantic lead and definitely fingers her while 80s saxaphone solos play in the background.

But I digress.

The movie is cheesy, fun, and has some very enjoyable effects and make up that really make this movie stand out, and stand up against 30 years. The story is simple, the actors are sincere and likable, and it’s really a fun movie to watch. Performances all around are a lot of fun, and it seems like the kind of movie everyone enjoyed making.

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There really isn’t a ton more to say though, this isn’t some secret 80s classic, or the best movie ever, but it’s certainly a fun watch for anyone who has already worn out their copy of The Lost Boys and needs something hip, and fun.

Flash forward to 2011.

This remake came out without a whole lot of attention, at least that’s how I remember it. Pretty quick onto DVD and not a bunch of advertising or much caring about it. Or as IMDB says :

A teenager suspects that his new neighbor is a vampire.

Well, that was easy.

What drew me to the movie initially was the appearance of David Tenant, as the movie came out not long after I was deep into the more recent series of Doctor Who, and frankly, who doesn’t love Tenant? This time around, we’ve replaced Skellington with Colin Farrell, and frankly, he does a fine job. The smoldering, handsome neighbor/evil maniac vampire role really works for him.

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The movie is essentially the same as the original, the usual plot tweaks and things that we see in all remakes, but nothing that is especially important, at least in my opinion. Peter Vincent is a sexy, cool magician instead of an aging horror-host. Which, really just updates the movie’s relevance.

I personally found all of the new actors just as likable as in the first one. I would also argue that Christopher Mintz-Plasse as “Evil” was a SERIOUS upgrade, considering the 80s actors absurdly high level of irritating-ness. So, I guess that’s a point to the remake.

That being said, the 2011 version is missing a bit of the charm that the original had. I think mainly because of the switch to CGI effects over the practical effects from the original. I  understand that most of the budget would have gone to Farrell’s salary, and that doesn’t leave a lot for practical effects. Unfortunately, something feels lost in that aspect. The digital effects aren’t necessarily bad, but they lack a certain charm that is plastered all over that original movie. So, point to the original on that front.

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Either way, both movies are extremely watchable, neither is an AMAZING movie, but both are worth your time. It really just depends if you want something that floats closer to being campy, or something a little more slick and scary. I enjoy both of these movies about the same. Maybe the edge given to the original simply because I do love to old practical effects.

I do have to give this to the original, but really only by a hair. Watch them both, or just one, or neither, it’s your life.

A bit of a shorter one this time, but there’s not tons to say. Both have their merits, both are fine movies.

FINAL GRADES 
     1985 : B-
     2011 : B-

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One response to “Fright Night (1985 v. 2011)

  1. Pingback: A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984 v. 2010) | Barley Does Horror·

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