Fright Night 3D: Inside the Editing Bay
Tom Holland’s Fright Night is not only a modern horror classic, it’s a movie that this writer holds near and dear to her heart. A film I’ve probably seen well over 1,000 times in my lifetime and could list by memory every cast and crew member and quote every line of dialogue until I’m blue in the face.
Fright Night to me has always been sacred territory, and since it is one of the movies that was partially responsible for my lifelong love affair with the horror genre, the upcoming remake is something I’m taking very seriously.
Recently Dread Central was invited by DreamWorks to an edit bay visit in Santa Monica where we not only screened 20 minutes of the movie in 3D, we were able to sit down to catch up with director Craig Gillespie and the film’s stars Colin Farrell and Anton Yelchin to hear their thoughts on tackling the classic flick, what’s being updated and what’s staying the same for fans of the original Fright Night.
Gillespie isn’t generally a name that horror fans will recognize off the bat, but that all looks to be changing with not only Fright Night’s theatrical bow coming on August 19th but also the fact that he was recently announced as the director on the upcoming film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. He discussed what it was about Fright Night that piqued his interest in making a vampire film in an age where the creature is now regularly associated more with romance than death.
“What attracted me to the script other than obviously the tone- which was this great blend of horror and comedy- is the way that Marti (Noxon) wrote the vampire,” explained Gillespie. “It was so refreshing and just goes back to the idea that he’s a monster. He’s a predator- a sexual predator even- and I think that something that has been lost track of recently. It’s become much more about the romance and there’s no real threat to them. I actually like the reality of thinking about Jerry as a predator and how he would exist, how he would get around- almost in the same realm of a sexual predator or a serial killer.”
Gillespie went on to discuss how even though this Fright Night is going to be a new experience for audiences, those who love the original may find some familiarities between the two. “There’s a lot to the structure of this one that pays homage to the original with certain set pieces like the night club scene. Obviously, we kept the idea of the vampire next door and everyone not believing it at first, but then coming to believe it so I think it was good to keep all of that from the original and feature those aspects. But at the end of the day, our version was rewritten to be quite a different piece.”
When we arrived at the Santa Monica studio, one of the editors on Fright Night brought a few of us journalists into one of the editing suites where she was busy still putting the final touches on the project to show us several scenes that have been completed already for the remake.
We were able to check out one of the scenes that had been previously released during CinemaCon that showed just how crafty Jerry Dandridge can be when he’s on the hunt for some new victims and the lengths he’d go to in order to teach Charlie (which not spelled Charley any longer - a notable change from the original flick) to mind his own business.
Farrell, who has the daunting task of stepping into Chris Sarandon’s shoes as Jerry Dandridge talked about how his love for the original Fright Night almost stopped the actor from even reading the script for the remake, let alone taking the role of the deadly vampire living and killing his way through suburbia.
“Initially I was drawn to the notion of Jerry as a vampire and not as a romantic icon,” said Farrell. “I loved the original and I didn’t want to like this script, but when I read it, I loved it. So I was like ‘balls.’ And then I met Craig and I liked him a lot so I was like ‘double balls’ then. I knew I had to do it. And what was smart about this script was that the vampire was designed in a very specific way, as kind of the ultimate example of carnivorous existence or someone that reacts without compunction or remorse or even contemplation. At first I found him kind of oppressive so I started asking all these questions like ‘Does he have to pick her up in the night club?’ ‘Can we not have the seduction anymore?’ ‘Can we do this, can we do that?’ And two weeks into the film, Craig was like ‘Colin, you’re fighting the wrong fights.’”
“As an actor, you have to address what’s in the script but bring something new to it and so I had to engage myself with this animal, this beast, and then after deliberation I started to enjoy walking around in his shoes, engaging with that cruel sense of power that Jerry carries with himself throughout the whole film. He so gets off on his own power and he’s really bored after 400 years of living in solitary and cyclical existence with daily repetition. He’s bored and he’s so sick of these fucking humans because they’re so dull and he needs them to feed. And if he can get some sport out of them, that’s all well and good. So when Charlie shows himself to be a worthy adversary, that’s where the game kind of takes off for Jerry,” added Farrell.