Posted on Wednesday, November 11th, 2009 by Russ Fischer
Back in January of this year, the world outside may have been cold and barren and gripped by the dead of winter, but my heart was warm. Because reports came that the proposed Screen Gems remake of Fright Night had died a quiet death. But everyone knows what happens in stories about monsters and the undead: the Big Bad is never really dead the first time. And every once in a while, when it surges back onto the screen, it wins and gets to stick around.
So it is with the Fright Night remake. Housed at Dreamworks since May, the potential film has now been given a writer, and not a bad one at that.
THR reports that the writer given the task of redoing and updating the film is Marti Noxon, who has been a producer and writer on some significant television: Mad Men, Grey’s Anatomy and Buffy. (She was showrunner on Buffy for the last couple seasons.)
OK, interesting choice. You’ve got my attention. So what will the story be? In Tom Holland‘s 1985 original, a kid discovers that his new next-door neighbor is a vampire. After some ‘boy who cried wolf’ problems, he faces down the creature with help from his girlfriend (Amanda Bearce!), a fellow horror movie junkie named Evil Ed and the aging host of a late-night horror TV show. Part of the reason we heard the Screen Gems version died was a desire to deviate significantly from the original plot, and that a suitable screenplay was never devised.
The trade says the plan is to keep the horror/comedy tone but update the effects, which is becoming boilerplate conversation when talking about the remake of a film with a large or specific fanbase. “No, we just want to update it, just polish it up a bit.” But the late-night horror movie show host is fairly antiquated as a character. Maybe the kids will join forces with Harry Knowles? And will the remake retain the gay subtext (it’s just barely subtext) of the original film? For that matter, will it hire an actor who’ll go on to do gay porn afterward, just like Stephen Geoffreys did? So many questions!
Fright Night is a fantastic film. It has great performances and some excellent practical effects. The idea that ‘updating’ might be neccessary is silly. (The DVD needs updating, though!) But Noxon has some great credits in the resume, so now I’m curious. Her past work suggests she might be just right to help create a film that could parallel the original.
Crackle is streaming the original film for a while, so you can check it out there if you’ve never seen it. (Note that it is NSFW.)