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Welcome to Fright Night

A couple weeks ago, brainiacfive prompted that day's Wish For Transporters That Work by mentioning that someone was holding a screening of Fright Night in L.A., with writer/director Tom Holland and some of the cast slated to attend.

It would be hard to overstate how obsessed I was with that movie in high school. I was fifteen years old and thirty miles from the nearest movie theatre, so after seeing it once with Dad (my lifelong SF and horror buddy), I drafted car- and license-having friends to see it twice more. And of course I was just amazed that nobody stopped my not-even-CLOSE-to-looking-seventeen self from seeing an R movie *gasp* without an adult! I taped it the second it hit HBO, of course, and played the tape into shreds.

I loved the cast, the story, Brad Fiedel's music, Jerry Dandridge's awesome white pale grey leather trenchcoat and thing for snacking on fruit, William Ragsdale's full-out commitment to Charley's panic. I boggled at the fact that Amanda Bearse was OMGTWENTYSEVEN!!, never imagining that I'd be playing teenagers past thirty myself. I still say they had the creepiest bat-critter ever put on film. And, the icing on an already very cool cake, The Roddy. Oh, Roddy. ~snif~ If only they could have done this reunion when he was still with us!

Because not only did this event take place (a couple thousand miles from me *pout*), but the guys over at Icons of Fright arranged for not one but two "pirate" commentaries. The logistics didn't work out to get everyone together at once, so they have one with Holland, Chris Sarandon, and Jonathan Stark (who played Dandridge's latter-day Renfield, Billy Cole), and another with Holland, Ragsdale, Stephen Geoffreys (Evil Ed), and FX artist William Randall Cook. Both can be downloaded as mp3s from the Icons page linked above. Haven't had a chance to check them out yet, but can't wait. I was just thinking the other day that it's been ages since I rewatched the movie, which I still love as pie.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 28th, 2008 08:12 am (UTC)
"Fright Night" remains as one of the best horror movies ever made, both VERY funny AND very scary.
Sep. 28th, 2008 09:24 am (UTC)
Indeed. We watched it the other night with the first of the commentaries, and Holland in particular repeatedly spoke of it as a "love letter" to the genre and fellow fans of it. The observation that you need the heart -- you need to care about these people in order to be frightened by their danger -- is fairly obvious, if frequently ignored by filmmakers. Less so, and much appreciated, was the comment that part of achieving that was having fun with the characters and the conventions of the genre, not making fun of them.

I also really enjoyed listening to them point out details I've always loved as deliberate choices. Even as a teenager, I knew the reason it stood up to so many repeated viewings was that there was always more to notice. It reads very much as the labor of love it apparently was, with both an extraordinarily textured physical production (Holland couldn't gush enough about the art direction, these twenty-plus years later, and I don't blame him) and the luxury of two full weeks of rehearsal before they rolled a single frame of film. Sarandon pointed out that his only other film that afforded the cast the luxury of rehearsal was Dog Day Afternoon.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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