Fright Night Retrospective Part Four: Character Inspirations, Vampire Desires and the World of Homo-Eroticism in Fright Night - Dread Central
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Fright Night Retrospective Part Four: Character Inspirations, Vampire Desires and the World of Homo-Eroticism in Fright Night

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If you’ve ever seen Tom Holland’s original Fright Night, then I probably don’t need to tell you just how special the characters are in the film because you’re already well aware. But for those of you out there who may not be as familiar with Holland’s story, allow this writer to indulge a bit in the world of my favorite horror film of all time and take this opportunity to bring you up-to-speed on just what makes Fright Night so special, even after 26 years.

Fright Night: A Look Back at the Original Film

In Fright Night Holland tells us the story of teenager Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale), who discovers his new next-door neighbor, the always charming Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon), is hiding a dark secret: He’s really a bloodthirsty vampire who has plans to turn Charley’s community into his own personal meal ticket, and I guess you could say he starts off by feasting on the local prostitution population, which is something that red-blooded Charley picks up on when he notices random girls showing up on Jerry’s doorstep.

Charley has other problems, though. He’s in the doghouse with his girlfriend, Amy (Amanda Bearse), due to his growing fanaticism over Jerry’s arrival, and he’s also contending with both the growing distance between himself and his best friend “Evil” Ed (Stephen Geoffreys) as well as Ed’s increasing ridicule of him over Charley’s belief that an actual vampire lives next door to him.

Charley tries to do the right thing once he realizes Jerry’s responsible for all of the deaths featured on the local news so he reaches out to local law enforcement, Detective Lennox (Art J. Evans), but his plans to expose Jerry as a deadly killer are thwarted by the vampire’s henchman and roomie, Billy Cole (Jonathan Stark), who provides a plausible alibi for both him and Jerry to Detective Lennox.

Desperate and realizing just how much danger he’s put both himself and his unassuming mother, Judy (Dorothy Fielding), in now that both Jerry and Billy are on to him, Charley reaches out to local horror host Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) and asks Peter to help with the vampire living next door to him.

As you can imagine, Peter thinks Charley’s some kind of a lunatic by the way he carries on in his desperate pleas so he hightails it out of his conversation with Charley, leaving the teenager feeling utterly alone and helpless. With all hope lost, Charley decides to man up and take Jerry down himself, turning his bedroom into a vampire war zone that would make Buffy proud.

Once Amy and Ed realize just how Charley’s obsession with killing his vampire neighbor is spiraling out of control, the pair reach out to Peter in a last-ditch effort to have the host step in and perform a “vampire test” on willing participant Jerry in order to put Charley’s fears to rest.

Jerry agrees to drink holy water in front of the group (but as per “reborn Christian” Jerry’s request, it must actually be tap water so as it not be profane to his religious beliefs), and while the vampire passes Peter’s phony test, only angering young Charley, the horror host takes it upon himself to perform his own mirror reflection test on Jerry on the DL, which reveals Charley’s been telling the truth all along. Jerry casts no reflection in Peter’s mirror, and once again, afraid to face his own lack of courage, Peter hightails it away from Jerry’s house and plans to leave town just as soon as the sun rises.

In the meantime Peter’s mirror test is discovered by Jerry, and from there a tragic chain of events is set in motion that pushes poor Charley to the edge when Jerry puts his loved ones in jeopardy. The teenager is now faced with the huge task of having to put an end to Jerry once and for all in an effort to save everyone around him.

Eventually the cowardly horror host decides to join Charley for the showdown at Jerry’s house. For Peter, his need to destroy Jerry is something altogether different: It’s about his own need to face his fears and put the horror host façade behind him and truly become Peter Vincent through and through. For Charley, it’s personal: Jerry took his girl and his best friend, and if doesn’t put a stop to it, Jerry won’t quit until he takes Charley’s life, too. It’s about the teenager embracing manhood and Charley’s ability to become a protector against the bad lurking around in the world.

In this last part of our retrospective series with Tom Holland, Dread Central delves into the world of the characters with the writer/director to find out what his inspirations were when he was originally crafting the script. We also talk with Holland about the idea of vampire desire, homo-eroticism in Fright Night and wax nostalgic about iconic actor McDowall, whom Holland calls “a walking history of Hollywood.”

Check out the last part of our video interview below as well as the last two exclusive stills from behind-the-scenes on Fright Night‘s creature work by Steve Johnson and Randy Cook, courtesy of Holland.

And since this is the last installment of our retrospective interview series on Fright Night, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank Tom Holland for being so open and gracious with his time. If it had not been for his willingness to sit down to talk with Dread Central about his directorial debut and his generosity in sharing with us the stills from the creature work done on the flick, there’s no doubt the quality of this retrospective series would have suffered.

As someone who has been a fan of Fright Night since the very beginning, it’s been truly nothing short of an honor to have had the opportunity to celebrate one of my favorite genre films of all time. I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to create this Fright Night retrospective series for those of you reading the site, and I really appreciate everyone who took the time to take this nostalgic trip down memory lane with us in honor of one of the best vampire films of all-time: Fright Night.

CLICK HERE FOR PART ONE.

CLICK HERE FOR PART TWO.

CLICK HERE FOR PART THREE.

Fright Night Retrospective Part Four: Character Inspirations, Vampire Desires and the World of Homo-Eroticism in Fright Night

Fright Night Retrospective Part Four: Character Inspirations, Vampire Desires and the World of Homo-Eroticism in Fright Night

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New Insidious: The Last Key Trailer Speaks Softly But Carries a Big Whistle

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The last word we brought you guys on the fourth installment in the Insidious franchise was when we let you know the new film had snagged a PG-13 rating from the MPAA for “disturbing thematic content, violence and terror, and brief strong language”.

Today we have a new trailer/TV spot for Insidious: The Last Key, and if you aren’t already on board for a fourth round of spooky shite courtesy of screenwriter Leigh Whannel, maybe this quick trailer will do the trick.

You can check out the new trailer below; then let us know how excited you are for Insidious: The Last Key!

I’m digging what I’ve seen from the new film thus far, and this new trailer only strengthens that. Plus I’m excited to see what director Adam Robitel can do with this series after his fucking terrifying previous film The Taking of Deborah Logan.

The film is directed by Adam Robitel from a script by Leigh Whannell and stars Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Josh Stewart, Caitlin Gerard, Kirk Acevedo, Javier Botet, Bruce Davison, Spencer Locke, Tessa Ferrer, Ava Kolker, and Marcus Henderson.

Insidious: The Last Key hits theaters January 5, 2018.

Synopsis:

Parapsychologist Elise Rainier and her team travel to Five Keys, N.M., to investigate a man’s claim of a haunting. Terror soon strikes when Rainier realizes that the house he lives in was her family’s old home.

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Luke Genton’s The Bone Box Trailer Proves Not All Graves Are Quiet

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Sometimes a fright flick comes along that sells me on the logline itself. And writer-director Luke Genton’s upcoming supernatural horror movie The Bone Box has just such a premise.

The film follows the story of a grave robber who comes to believe he’s being haunted by those he stole from. And if that premise doesn’t sell you on at least checking out the film’s trailer, I don’t know what to do for you.

Speaking of the trailer, you can check it out below. Then let us know what you think below!

The film stars Gareth Koorzen (The Black That Follows), Michelle Krusiec (The Invitation), and Maria Olsen (Starry Eyes), Jamie Bernadette (I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu), David Chokachi (Baywatch), Aaron Schwartz (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), and Tess Bellomo (Liked).

Look for updates on Facebook HERE and the Director’s Instagram: @lukegenton.

The Bone Box is currently in post-production. It is scheduled to be completed by November 2017 and is seeking distribution.

Synopsis:

Depressed and reeling from the recent death of his wife, Tom (Koorzen) has built up quite a gambling debt. He goes to stay with his wealthy Aunt Florence (Olsen) in hopes that she will write him into her will. When a nasty creditor makes it clear that Tom is out of time, he devises a plan with Elodie (Krusiec), the undertaker’s daughter, to rob the graves of the rich townspeople buried in the cemetery across the road. After plundering the graves, Tom begins hearing and seeing strange things that seem to coincide with the deaths of the people he robbed. Even more disconcerting… he appears to be the only one sensing the occurrences. One question lingers: Is Tom’s conscience playing a trick on him… or is he really being haunted by those he stole from?

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H.P. Lovecraft’s Kingsport Festival: The Card Game, Overview and Review – Last Meeple Standing

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Yeah, I know. I’ve said it before, and I will scream it to the heavens again: There is an abysmal glut of Lovecraft Mythos games out there (and still streaming into the market). For a while there, it was vampire games (wanna take a sparkly guess why?). Then, it was zombie games (only Robert Kirkman knows why). Now it is Lovecraft games, and it is a LOT of them. Shambling, fish-headed masses of them, weighing down the game shop shelves like heavily laden buckets of freshly shorn tentacles (calm down, hentai fans). It’s true, and a lot of them seem to be sad doppelgangers of other games, just skinned with a rotting coat of Elder God goo.

Photo Credit: Tiffany Hahn

For that reason, it is nice to run across a Lovecraft-themed game that is GOOD. H.P. Lovecraft’s Kingsport Festival: The Card Game is one of those… it’s good, but it’s not great (for ONE painful reason). But, for our nefarious purposes today, that’s good enough. The stars are PARTIALLY in alignment. There is one little detail to get out of the way before we wade into the spawn-infested miasma of this game: it is the hellish offspring of an earlier, more complex game called (you guessed it) H.P. Lovecraft’s Kingsport Festival the board game. Much has been said about the relationship between these two games and many comparisons have been made, but since I neither own the board game nor have I played it, let’s leave it to fester in cold, barren space all by its lonesome for now. I’m sure its time will come…when the stars are right (rolling his eyes).

COMPONENTS:
It is RARE (like fresh Deep One filets) that the components of a game are as nice as the gameplay, but there are two elements of Kingsport Festival: TCG that really make it shine. The first is the titular cards that make up the bulk of the game. The artwork on the tarot-sized cards depicting the various gods, lesser gods, demons, and evil corgis (I kid) from the Mythos is dark and shows off the creatures to good/evil effect. I have to admit that these are some of my favorite depictions of the creatures from Lovecraft’s mind I’ve seen. They really look threatening here. The portraits on the cards presenting the investigators/evil cultists look dignified, a little creepy, and mysterious, as is only right for nogoodniks taking on Cthulhu’s worst. The graphic design is really classy with easily interpreted iconography and border artwork. Equal care has been taken with the backs of the cards, which have appropriately aged and Victorian elements. The only parts to this game are the cards and the dice. Wait, this is a card game, right?

Well, yes and no.

Although cards make up the lion’s share of the game, there is a heavy dice aspect as well, and these are some NICE dice. I’m a SUCKER for custom dice, and Kingsport Festival: TCG comes loaded with them. There are three types of dice: a white d10 with a clock icon on one face, brain-pink (a nice touch) d12 dice representing the player’s sanity with a Sanity icon on one face, and grey Domain d6 dice with three types of domain faces: purple Evil, black Death, and red Destruction. All of the dice are high-quality and engraved, not printed, with easily recognizable faces for ease of play and match up nicely with the icons on the game’s cards. Squee! Wonderfully evil custom dice!

SETUP:
Set up is pretty basic. All of the cards depicting the horrid gods are displayed in order of their power in six rows within reach of all of the players. The total number of copies of each type of god card is dictated by how many people are playing, so the number varies. Each player gets one of the brain-ilicious d12s with which to track their sanity and sets it to 10. All players white timer die, with the high roller taking the role of the starting player. Then each player sets their Sanity die to 10 (yes, the value can be increased up to 12 through game effects. That player takes the white d10 and sets it to the clock face. Players can pick an investigator card, but I suggest dealing them out at random to each player to liven things up (before they get driven insane, of course).

GAMEPLAY:
Gameplay is equally simple, yet strangely engaging. The first player takes the white timer d10, passes it to the next player to their left, who turns it to the number 1, effectively creating a timer that will count up from 1 to 10, ending the game. That player becomes the starting player. Once the white die is passed, the passing player increases their Sanity by one, as will be the mechanic throughout the rest of the game.

At the start of a game, the players will have no cards in their hands. They acquire them throughout the game, but we’ll talk about a general turn. The starting player rolls one of the domain dice and notes the resultant face. If they have cards to play, now is when they would play them. The card effects are varied. They might instruct the player to roll more dice, add specified domains to their pool of domains, change rolled die faces, etc. There are many possibilities. After the player has played all the cards they wish to and resolved the card effects, the player may spend the resources/domains gained through the dice they’ve rolled and the cards they have played to buy ONE god from the displayed cards and add it to their hand. It should be noted that players are limited to one and only one copy of each available god.

Once the player has completed their turn, they check to see if the round indicator on the white d10 matches one of the Raid rounds shown on the investigator card at the very bottom. If the numbers match, the player must compare the Gun icons on his cards to the strength of the raid indicated on his character card. If the Cultist’s strength is greater, he gains the difference in Sanity points. If the Cultist’s strength matches the Raid strength, they neither gain nor lose Sanity. If the Cultist’s strength is less than the Raid strength, they lose the difference in Sanity points. After this, the next player to the left will take their turn.

WINNING:
The game ends at the end of the ninth round, unless a Cultist is able to invoke the Elder God Azathoth, which results in dogs and cats sleeping together (no, not really). The cultists look at all of their god cards and add up the Elder God symbols at the bottom of each card. The Cultist with the most Elder God symbols/points at the end of the game WINS!

FINAL THOUGHTS:
So, there you have it: an epic battle between creepy Cultists and ghoulish Gods in one rather small box. I’ll get to the point. I really like H.P. Lovecraft’s Kingsport Festival: The Card Game. I happen to be fond of little filler games like this. The box lists the playtime for this game as 30 min, but once the players know the rules, you can cut playtime down to 20 min, easy. It lists the age limit at 13+, which I think is absurd. There is nothing in the theme or artwork that would preclude players 10 and up from playing, other than rule complexity. Between the awesome art, the devilish dice, and the rad rules (ugh…), there is not much to dislike about this game… other than the hellish rules. You may be asking what I mean. The rules seem easy. They ARE. It’s the rulebook that is a pain in the neck. For some reason, the graphic designer (I’m looking at you, Savini -no, not Tom-) decided to print all of the rule examples in the book in a nearly unreadable “old-timey” font that is TINY. I think they thought they were adding flavor. If so, that flavor is YUCKY. When learning a new game, you want crystal-clear rules, not something you have to squint and struggle over, like this sad, arcane tome. The same hellish font appears on the cards in places, as well, making me one unhappy game collector. You may look past it, but I had a hard time doing so. Other than that, though, the game is great fun, a nice way to fill in time between bigger games, and beautiful to look at. You make your own judgement.

PRODUCT DETAILS:
Designer: Gianluca Santopietro
Artist: Maichol Quinto and Demis Savini
Publisher: Passport Games/ Giochi Uniti
Published: 2016
Players/Playtime/Age Rating: 3 -5 players/30 min/13+ (seriously?)

RATING:
3/5


Last Meeple Standing is brought to you by Villainous Lair Comics & Games, the ultimate destination for board game fanatics in Southern California. For more information visit the official Villainous Lair Comics & Games website, “Like” the Villainous Lair Facebook page and be sure to follow Villainous Lair on Twitter and Instagram.

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