Fright Night has left behind a legacy as one of the most influential vampire movies ever made, so a documentary about how the film got made is certainly something to be happy about. Director Gary Smart tells us what to expect.
Dread Central: So, you were a fan of Fright Night?
Gary Smart: I’ve been a fan of Fright Night since as long as I can remember. It’s always been a movie that I revisit and have fond memories of watching as a child. I have always been a huge horror and vampire fan, as well as a fan of Roddy McDowall, so with that in mind Fright Night is the perfect movie for me.
DC: Why do you think that the film left such a legacy?
GS: It’s all to do with the perfect harmony of horror, comedy, effects, writing, direction and characters that fans love. The performances from the actors, especially Roddy McDowall, have made the characters stand out in a sea of horror films from the 80s as well as the cast and crew having such affection for Fright Night. That love so infectious and the fans connect to this and it keeps the legacy alive.
DC: What prompted you to make a documentary about Fright Night? Do you feel that the story needs to be told?
GS: As I’ve said, I’ve always loved Fright Night, and after completing Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II, I really wanted to tackle another 80s cult classic movie where I knew that the cast and crew were very keen to share their stories. After discussing it with Tom Holland and instantly picking up his enthusiasm and love, I knew that Fright Night had a wealth of stories to tell.
DC: And will your documentary offer new details about Fright Night that have never before been revealed?
GS: I’m hoping it will; we are interviewing 20 of the cast and crew so there is bound to be stories that the fans never knew. These projects always unearth interesting facts and stories about the behind-the-scenes [events], and this is something I am very much looking forward to discovering.
DC: Who will be featured in the documentary?
GS: The full cast and crew are featured on our Facebook page (frightnightdoc), but they include all principal cast, writers, directors, special effects artists and other crew members. We hope that they will uncover lots of great stories and trivia about the making of these movies.
DC: Is Tom Holland involved?
GS: We couldn’t do this without Tom on board. Tom will also be our producer and creative consultant, and already Tom has been instrumental in attracting cast and crew to be interviewed. Tom is a Hollywood legend and has a wealth of knowledge about the world of movies in general. We are so lucky to have Tom on board, particularly in a hands-on role.
DC: And I understand that the documentary will be three hours long? That’s a bold undertaking.
GS: Yeah, the documentary is intended to be three hours. But saying that, Leviathan was always meant to be four hours and ending up being nine, so I imagine the running time of Brewster will be more like four to five hours. These projects need to be in-depth, and it’s silly to cut important information just for the sake of a strict runtime.
DC: Lastly, you probably get asked this all the time, but what did you think of the remake?
GS: As a movie the remake is not bad, and I quite enjoyed it. For me the biggest issue was the character of Peter Vincent. I fully understand why they needed to modernize him, but to go from one extreme to another and change the character that much took the heart away from the story. Tom has always said that Peter is the heart of Fright Night, and I think that was lost with the remake. But good on them for at least keeping the legacy alive.