The panel for Fright Night opened with Chris Sarandon, the original antagonist Jerry Dandridge, as the moderator. Followed by Sarandon on stage were director Craig Gillespie and writer Marti Noxon. Actors Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots and Christopher Mintzo-Plasse then joined.
Noxon spoke of wanting to write a vampire who didn’t play piano, alluding to Interview with the Vampire, and wanting a vampire that provokes fear. Before introducing a clip from the film, Gillespie added that the language in the clips were edited since they were only allowed two F-bombs — but that didn’t stop him or a few cast members from dropping more than two before the clips were shown.
One clip featured Farrell as Jerry Dandridge, who comes over to Charley Brewster’s (Yelchin) for beer and strikes up a conversation about Charley’s mother (Toni Collette) and his girlfriend Amy Peterson (Poots). And suffice to say, Jerry comes off as a predatory sleeze.
In another clip, Jerry once again approaches the Brewsters home, but Charley refuses to invite him inside and barely convinces his mother to do the same. Jerry retaliate by ripping out a gas pipe and setting their home on fire, stating, “I don’t need an invitation if there’s no house”. Charley escapes with his mother and girlfriend and a car chase ensues. And I must praise the chase scene: the focus is inside the family’s car and showing Jerry’s truck in pursuit from the back window, side windows and windshield. Keeping the perspective on the group being terrorized gave a sense of horror and urgency, and it was executed wonderfully.
The last clip shown was of David Tennant as TV occultist Peter Vincent, who Charley comes to for advice on how to kill a vampire. There was a lot of laughs in Hall H while Vincent casually slipped off his wig, sideburns and accessories that complete his occultist persona.
During the Q & A portion of the panel, Farrell admitted that he lost sight as an actor and was lost in his sudden success, but in the past five years he became passionate about acting again and found the joy he once had during his youth.
Then, of course, he signed something for a fan on stage while his butt crack made a surprise appearance. The entire place, including the cast and crew erupted in laughter.
I was apprehensive about the remake of Fright Night, but the panel proved that the cast and crew want to pay homage and do justice to the original. And instead of a scene-by-scene remake, they’re taking the basic formula and taking it in a different direction. And frankly, it looks like they know what they’re doing.
Fright Night hits theaters August 19, 2011.