Late last year while watching the remake of Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner I blogged about the value of remakes. I observed that while the vast majority of genre remakes are pretty weak, the right to remake is perfectly valid. After all sometimes it can yield interesting results (e.g. Friedkin's Sorceror, De Palma's Untouchables, etc.). That being said even my open-minded point of view took a mighty blow yesterday when I saw details on the upcoming Fright Night remake over at Ain't It Cool News.
There are a handful of genre films out there that I consider to be perfect, never taking a wrong step. Perfectly conceived, scripted, casted, scored, filmed, marketed . . . you name it. Fright Night is one of those films. Chris Sarandon, Roddy McDowall, and William Ragsdale give arguably the best performances of their respective careers, director/writer Tom Holland never hit a higher note, Brad Fiedel turned in an outstanding electronic score, the accompanying rock soundtrack was excellent, and honestly the whole thing came together as the best vampire film of the 80's. Even so, just like I wrote of The Prisoner, I think I would be open to revisitation under reasonable conditions. These are not those conditions.
The broad sketches of the re-imagined story as I understand it once again involve the central trio of Charley Brewster (now spelled Charlie for some reason), Peter Vincent, and swinging vampire Jerry Dandridge. Now though Vincent is a wacky Vegas magician instead of a Hammer-style horror host, again employed for his supposed ability to take on vampires. Already that's some serious trouble, as the concept for Vincent is what made the first film so great. It was a love letter to old school horror stars. What is this a love letter to . . . seedy Vegas nightclub acts?
Then there are the new cast members. Anton Yelchin as Charlie, David Tennant as Peter, and Colin Farrell as Dandridge. Oh and McLovin from Superbad as Evil Ed. I liked Tennant okay as Dr. Who, and the other three can be okay under certain circumstances. As replacements for Ragsdale, McDowall, Sarandon, and even Geoffreys this is a disaster in the making. Perhaps the craziest aspect of all is that Tennant couldn't be that much older than Yelchin, which totally changes the dynamics of the Brewster/Vincent relationship. You can't tell me they couldn't find a more approrpriate bunch to fill out the roster. In my mind the only one who has a shot at a performance approaching the classic cast's quality level is Farrell. I'm not a big fan, but if he swings for the fences I think he could do a respectable Dandridge. But it's a big if.
While the rational critic in me says remakes have a right to exist, the fan is exclaiming please stop the remakes now! No chance of that it seems . . . which celebrated classic will be next I wonder?