Colossal (2017)

colossal-poster03It’s undoubtable that this film will fly under the radar, especially being out at the cinema at the same time as the likes of Alien: Covenant (2017) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), and with Wonder Woman (2017) and The Mummy (2017) just around the corner. It’s safe to say that a lot of people will either overlook it, or not even know it was a thing. While certainly not the greatest film of its kind, it is definitely worth a look. Focusing mainly on and overcoming abuse, first alcohol, then moving to physical and emotional abuse.

Directed by Nacho Vigalondo (Open Windows (2014)), and starring Anne Hathaway (Interstellar (2014)), Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses (2011)), Austin Stowell (Whiplash (2014)), Time Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), and Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast (2017). Colossal follows Gloria (Hathaway), an alcoholic, recently fired from her writing job, and kicked out by her boyfriend Tim (Stevens), as she moves back home in an attempt to get her life together. While living alone in her families old home, in a small town, she runs into Oscar (Sudeikis), a bar owner and childhood friend of Gloria’s. He offers to show her round town, and ends up drinking late into the night with her and his two long-time friends, Joel (Stowell) and Garth (Nelson). In the morning, after drunkenly stumbling home, she awakens to discover a colossal, indescribably creature, had suddenly appeared above the city of Seoul, South Korea, caused monumental damage, and then suddenly disappeared moments later. Shocked by the news, the incident repeats itself the next day. Discovering there is a pattern with the creatures appearance, always appearing at the exact same time, Gloria begins to notice similar habits and tendencies between herself and the creature. After a few more days of experimentation, Gloria discovers that herself, and the creature, are indeed one and the same.

From here, there is little that can be said, plot wise, without giving away massive spoilers. The film carries with it, through out, and exceedingly dark comedy tone, breaking every now and then for moments of intense emotional anguish. The uses the more obvious allegories of giant monsters as stand ins for our inner demons, to an outstanding degree. The films uses its creatures well, clearly as part of its lower indie budget, never showing them for too long, but the weight of their impact is still felt, either through the films sound design, or the actor’s phenomenal reactions. One particularly impactful scene takes place entirely in a children’s play area, involving just two characters, but the weight of the monsters actions off screen is entirely felt and almost heart breaking.

Anne Hathaway gives a wonderfully believable performance, comfortable when even needing to embarrass herself while acting drunk, or crying profusely. However, the standout actor of the film, is Jason Sudeikis, giving a phenomenal performance, regardless of the tone needed, and playing a deeply torn and complex character. Together, they bring a lot of credibility to the films, admittedly, absurd premise. At no point do you feel the film takes it too far, it remains engaging throughout, and tries its hardest to remain engaging.

While it’s tempting to skip this release, especially given the major Hollywood blockbusters currently exploding at the box office. Colossal is more than worth your time, providing a fun, engaging and emotional experience, even with a selling point as odd as ‘Anne Hathaway starring in an indie, Kaiju movie’.

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Child’s Play (1988)

childs-play-movie-poster-1988-1020203155I remember my mother telling me this story once, about her franticly searching all over town, and the next town over one year, just to get me the brand new Buzz Lightyear, and Woody the Cowboy dolls, released to coincide with the now seminal classic Toy Story (1995). Honestly, I do not remember asking for the dolls, but hell if I wasn’t one happy kid that year. Watching the opening 20 minutes of Child’s Play, I couldn’t help but drudge up that memory, and feeling very glad that my mother’s quest turned out very different to that of Catherine Hicks.

Directed by Tom Holland, just 3 years after the phenomenal cult vampire film Fright Night (1985), Child’s Play introduced the world to the now iconic possessed serial killer doll Charles Lee Ray, more commonly known as Chucky. Given the somewhat absurd plot of the film, and the era in which in came out, it’s not hard to go into this expecting laughable effects, and an over the top, campy story. Safe to say, that assumption was completely off. On the run from the police, Charles Lee Ray (played and later voiced by Brad Dourif (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975))), a wanted serial killer, hides in a toy store. As he bleeds out, he transfers his soul using voodoo, into the body of a nearby doll, known as a “Good Guy”. The next day, a young boy, Andy (played by Alex Vincent (House Guest (2013)), making his acting debut here), and obsessive fan of the Good Guy television series, wants nothing more than to own a Good Guy doll for his birthday. A talking, and head turning doll, each with its own individual name, says three pre-programmed lines from the show, and costing $100 apiece. Unable to afford the doll, and desperately trying to keep her son happy, after the death of his father, Karen (Catherine Hicks (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986))) stumbles across a homeless man, selling the doll for the phenomenal price of $30. Without thinking, and astonishingly happy to have found Andy the perfect gift, she brings the mysterious doll home, and it’s not long before all the trouble starts.

While child actors can be fairly hit or miss, the young Alex Vincent plays his role incredibly well for his age. Always believably, and actively connecting with each member of the cast, especially the Chucky prop, young Alex was certainly quiet the find here, with a lesser child lead, this film could easily have become a laughable mess. But young Alex plays his role well, both sweet and innocent, but able to deliver a truly bad ass closing line, reminiscent of the likes of Stallone or Schwartzenegger. Catherine Hicks is heavily sympathetic throughout, and even when you are screaming for her to listen to Andy, hear what he has to say, you understand her reasoning, and cheer her on as she tries to get the police on her side. Brad Dourif brings a heavily animated quality to his acting, which works astonishingly well for something like the maniacal Chucky, almost as though a Looney Tune character had been pushed to the edge, after one too many benders, and found himself in an R rated horror flick. Chris Sarandon, previously the devilishly charming Jerry Dandridge in Holland’s Fright Night, acts as the film’s straight man, the detective who initially chases Chucky down at the beginning of the film, now determined to see the job through to the end once he learns of Chucky’s reappearance. The entire cast of the film is well rounded, and it brings the film this wonderful sense of realism, even in the face of the absurd.

Going in to this, effects wise, I was expecting a few scenes that would be close to something like Dick Jones’ death in Robocop (1987), the suit in Green Lantern (2011), or every single effect in Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010). Taking eccentric care through every effect. Implementing several, multi-operator puppets, elaborate sets and costumes, and incredible makeup work, the film does it’s best to bring Chucky to life, both in the film, and on the set. It’s no wonder why Chucky has become such a staple of pop culture. Though the fact that such a film, one that ended on a particularly high note, has a string of sequels ready and waiting to be seen, does indeed fill me with more dread than the damn doll was supposed to.

A classic and horror staple, you may not find the film especially scary, but it sure is a treat to behold.

 

One in universe question though? Who names their product “Good Guy”!? How is it that successful!? That’s the real voodoo magic of the film, right there..

Deadpool (2016)

Deadpool_posterAfter countless attempts to bring fan favourite character Deadpool to the big screen, including a supposed appearance in the laughably atrocious X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), 2016 finally gave us the much anticipated Deadpool. Boasting ‘Deadpoolian’ advertising, and a Valentine’s day release, the public was foaming at the mouth for the fourth wall breaking, foul mouthed antics of Wade Wilson. And what did we get? A fairly basic, bare bones story, with sexual humour ripped from bad late 90s comedies, and fourth wall breaks so blatant and in your face, that I’m surprised the television screen doesn’t crack.

With fan out cry, and test footage ‘accidentally’ leaked to the internet, the final product fell to the hands of Tim Miller as director, making his feature length debut, and starring Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern (2011)), as the loud mouth, womanising, hit man for hire Wade Wilson, turned anti-hero vigilante, Deadpool, Morena Baccarin (Homeland (2011-2013)), Wade’s stripper girlfriend, Vanessa, and T.J. Miller (Big Hero 6 (2014)), Wade’s closest friend, and barkeep, Weasel. Deadpool, based on the Marvel Comics character, follows Wade Wilson, after meeting Vanessa, and starting a long, very sexually charged relationship, Wade discovers he has inoperable cancer, and in an effort to cure himself, becomes willingly part of a mad man’s experiments in order to save himself. Now armed with an unlimited healing factor, but a face heavily scared and nowhere near the good looks he prides himself upon, Wade sets out on a quest to make himself ‘Hot Again’, and win back the heart of Vanessa, who already thinks he is dead. Wade’s quest, while entirely vain and self-centred, is presented as his only on going purpose, putting into question exactly what it is he intends to do post film, happily lending itself open to the inevitable array of sequels Fox will inevitably produce just to milk its new cash cow. Most likely presenting the same, soon to be tired, sexual innuendos and fourth wall breaks, that will become the soon to be franchises entire identity.

While I’m not saying sexual humour and fourth wall breaks are a bad thing, far from it, when used correctly and in the right situation, they can be downright hilarious, even after multiple viewings. Take, for example, American Pie (1999), a film I still can’t bring myself to like even 11 years after my initial viewing, the films constant use of sexual humour works, because that is what the film is about. It works, because the situations and characters are obsessed with sex, and the goal of the film is them losing their virginities, they help to further the story. The horrible, downright atrocious story. However, with the likes of Deadpool, I find myself groaning more than laughing, wishing he would just shut up already about how much he wants to sleep with his girlfriend. I get that Wade is a shallow guy, but please just shut the hell up and give me some actual god damn humour. Granted, the film does have its genuinely funny moments and one liners, I can’t count the number of times I’ve used the line “All the Dinosaurs feared the mighty T-Rex!”, but on a second viewing, they significantly lose their impact, making the film more of a bore to sit through then genuinely entertaining. The use of fourth wall breaks, while a staple of Deadpool as a character, becomes easily annoying by the films end, and while they can be effective, downright hilarious if used at the right time, see Spaceballs (1987) or Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975). Here, it comes off as someone beating you in the head repeating the phrase, “Hey! I’m in a movie! I know you’re watching me. Isn’t that funny!?”, by the end, I feel like Alex DeLarge, being strapped into a chair and repeatedly beaten over the head with the remains of several 4th walls.

Tiring by the end of initial viewing, and downright boring on multiple viewings, Deadpool is surely a divisive film. If crude humour and excessive in film jokes are your thing, then go ahead and enjoy it. If not, you’re honestly not missing much.

Batman & Bill (2017)

Batman & Bill poster ad - borderlessIn the 70 plus years since his creation, you would be hard pressed to find someone on the planet, who does not know the name Batman. For over 70 years, we have been transfixed and inspired by the Caped Crusader. Spreading fear into the hearts of the wicked, and comforting all the lost, good souls along the way. His accompanying cast of characters are just as memorable, entering pop culture on the same level as the Batman himself, Robin, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, The Joker, Catwoman, Two-face, etc. For 70 plus years, the legendary being known as the Dark Knight, has been credited to one man. Bob Kane.  However, despite years of it being believed, and beaten into public consciousness, there is one other. Denied credit, and publicly ignored for years, the forgotten Bill Finger was finally given his dues on September of 2015. However, the long journey to this breakthrough, came with its own heartache, sweat, and tears.

Directed by Don Argott (The Art of the Steal (2009), Last Days Here (2011)) and Sheena M. Joyce (Awkward Sexy People (2015) The Atomic State of America (2012)), Batman & Bill explores the long and tiring research of Marc Taylor Nobleman (Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman (2008), The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra (2017))  for his 2012 book, Bill the Wonder Boy: the Secret Co-Creator of Batman. Including interviews with those that knew the lost creator, admirers of his work, and his discovered family. Batman & Bill is a fantastic journey through the early creation of Batman, exploring the creation of his costume and iconography, the life and sad death of Bill Finger, a brief and entertaining look at copyright law, and the quest to find ‘The Heir to Batman’. The documentary follows Nobleman’s research, showing just how limited the information on Finger was, despite his monumental contributions. Following every scrap of information available, digging deep through archives, obituaries and birth records, Nobleman acts as the Dark Knight Detective himself, seeking to bring justice for the forgotten creator.

Including interviews with veterans of the comic industry, such as Roy Thomas (Batman #336 – 338 (1981), Star Wars #1 – 10 (1977-1978)), lawyers, the few surviving friends and family of Finger, and celebrity comic book fans and writers, such as Kevin Smith (Clerks (1994), Tusk (2014), Yoga Hosers (2016)). The documentary has a very well rounded nature to it, providing multiple opinions, as well as various accounts of events, backed up with phenomenal amounts of research. Utilising footage from previous documentaries, interviews with Bob Kane himself, and all strung together with fantastic comic book style animation, by the end, you’re left questioning how much we thought we knew about Batman’s lineage, but with a profound appreciation and respect for a man who has greatly impacted the lives of everyone who has ever felt a connection with a Batman story. We begin to understand Bob Kane far better through these revelations, as well, with these new perspectives, and the countless boasts he had in life to being the sole creator of Batman, and the life he ended up leading. It’s hard not to see him now, as a real life counterpart to some of the villains portrayed in the early Batman stories. Taking the money for himself, and never once helping a man he once called his friend, even in his final days. It’s amusing, though down right cruel, to note that the only time Kane publicly admitted to Finger’s involvement was over a year after Finger’s death, provided yet another sad twist to his life.

At moments, both heart-breaking and triumphant, Batman & Bill is a must see for any fan of the Caped Crusader, seeker of justice, or just those interested in learning about the marvellous genius that was Bill Finger.

Fright Night (2011)

large_kBKxDam1ZDRSS39knyVzrN3YzqZRemakes are a tricky thing. On the one hand, if the original didn’t quite work  the first time round, and advances in technology, or current politics course the original’s plot to become more relevant, then a remake may well be welcome. However, more often than not, remakes are greenlit by studios in order to cash in on current trends, or the popularity or the original property. In the case of the 2011 remake of the 1985 cult classic Fright Night, it’s clear that, while a 21st century version would have been welcome, it’s existence is solely due to both the popularity and backlash of the likes of Twilight.

With this incarnation directed by Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl (2007), The Finest Hours (2016), Million Dollar Arm (2014)), and starring the late Anton Yelchin (Star Trek (2009), Terminator Salvation (2009), Green Room (2015)), Colin Farrell (Total Recall (2012), In Bruges (2008), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)), and David Tennant (Jessica Jones (2015), Doctor Who (2005 – 2013), St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold (2009)). The film, for the most part, follows the basic outline of the original, Charlie Brewster (Yelchin) discovers his new neighbour, Jerry Dandridge (Farrell), is a vampire, and enlists the help of his friends and famed vampire killer, Peter Vincent (Tennant) for help. Beyond that initial outline however, and nodes to original scenes, the film fails to provide the compelling hold the original had. The changes, while interesting at times, often play against the characters, and create more questions than needed. Charlie is not the one to make the great discovery that his neighbour is indeed a vampire, it’s in fact Ed that presents the idea to Charlie that there is something off about his neighbour. This is given no explanation, up until this point, we are given no to suspect Jerry of any misdeeds, other than of course reading the blurb on the back of the Blu-Ray case. When Ed presents his proof, it’s just raises more questions about Ed himself, with Jerry only being a recent edition to the town, what exactly drew Ed to consider investigating. In the original, its small sights and sounds that feed Charlies curiosity, and eventually leads him to investigate. Here, it just leads to making Ed’s character unlikable, and somewhat creepy.

While the casting of Anton Yelchin as Charlie sounds like ideal casting, especially given his portrayal of Chekov in the Star Trek reboots, Instead of acting as the likeable everyman, or the boy next door, but the character, especially in the first 20 minutes, comes off as unlikeable, and incredibly shallow. The Charlie shown here, is shown to have abandoned his long-time friend, Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), for the wholly unlikable Mark (Dave Franco (21 Jump Street (2012), Now You See Me (2013))) and Ben (Reid Ewing (Modern Family (2009-2017))). Ed himself is harshly underused, and comes off more as a blackmailing sociopath, than a caring friend. He appears briefly during the film’s opening, and when he returns later, with the same transformation as the original, we don’t have a reason to care, we have no connection to him. The idea of making Peter Vincent a younger, Las Vegas stage performer, with a heavy vampire killer edge to his act, does make sense in the 21 century. The likes of Roddy McDowell’s late night horror show host, doesn’t fit now a days, with portrayals of such a character acting more like throwbacks to the Hammer Horror days, than genuine characters. However, Tennant’s casting is questionable, while he is a good actor, with a tremendous following from his portrayal of the 10th Doctor on Doctor Who, and later proof that he can play darker roles in 2015’s Jessica Jones, he seems to spend most of his time on screen over acting, clearly having fun, even pointing out some of the films more absurd moments, but his acting is clearly nowhere close to his other works. Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later (2007), Need for Speed (2014), V for Vendetta (2005) as Amy, is largely bland, playing the modern generic hot girl, who happens to be dating the lead character. The fact that Amy is already portrayed as heavily sexualised, makes her fate towards the end, less meaningful. The overall weak point of the casting however, is Colin Farrell as Jerry Dandridge. He comes off as heavily creepy, but not in the intended way. The moments where his intent is to charm, comes off as unsettling, but still somehow bland in his execution. At no moment does he seem threatening, though his vampiric exploits are shown in gory detail, they have no impact.

The monster effects throughout, are laughable at best, and frequently hits the uncanny valley square in the face. Compared to the practical effects of the ’85 original, and even CGI in the early 2000s, it’s hard to find any real terror in it. If you are searching for a comparison for practical vs. digital, then Fright Night is a prime example. Even though the original effects could be seen as laughable at times, they have their charm, and have inevitably left their mark on film history, unlike the lazy, half-finished attempts of its 2011 counterpart.

With awful effects, half assed acting, and an uncomfortable amount of throw away references to the original, the Fright Night remake is little to write home about.

Alien Covenant (2017)

alien-covenantIt’s not easy to match a masterpiece such as the original Alien (1979), many have tried, but certainly none is more up for the task that the great Ridley Scott, right? You would think, but sadly not.

Before going forward, I feel it’s important to set one thing straight. Prometheus (2012) was not a bad movie. It has it’s bad moments and shaky elements, yes, and it certainly wasn’t what people were expecting from an Alien prequel, but that does not make it a bad film. Exploration through the films alternative and deleted scenes, even review a far greater film that could have been, but this does not make it a bad film. The story is clear, the themes are in place, the effects are consistent and quiet striking though out, and the principle characters are well defined and memorable. The same however, could not be said of Alien Covenant. As both a sequel to Prometheus and prequel to Alien, Covenant attempts to bridge the gap as closely as it can, but falls flat in basic execution.

Directed by Ridley Scott (Alien (1979), Blade Runner (1982), The Martian (2015)), and starring Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Bastards (2009), Prometheus (2012), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)), Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice (2014), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), Steve Jobs (2015)) and Billy Crudup (Almost Famous (2000) Watchmen (2009), Big Fish (2003)), Alien Covenant brings us the tale of a terraforming crew, consisting of 15 crew members, 2000 plus colonists and several draws worth of second generation embryos in stasis, still 7 years away from their destination, as they are hit with a random solar flare that disturbs there ship. Note the second film in 6 months, following Passengers (2016), to use the ‘solar flare wakes crew members’, as an inciting incident. The crew sustain losses and damages, including their ships captain, a rather out of place James Franco cameo. During repairs, the crew pick up a transmission that could only ever come from human origins, stretching out from a nearby planet. Confused by how such a signal could possibly exist, the crew find a planet perfect for human life, and decided to change course, with the intent to abandon the last 7 years of their original mission, and set up on this previously unknown paradise. Following the signal, they discover the remains of the ship Elizabeth Shaw and David used to escape LV-223 at the end of Prometheus, and the horror that awaits. While the story is sound, and provides a great deal of potential, it’s the execution that lets it down greatly. What should be given time to develop, and set the tone, is horribly rushed to move the plot along, something shared with the opening of another alien film this year, Life (2017). The desired tension and exhilaration of the chase, is stagnant and rather tame throughout. Even the beloved Xenomorph itself, is heavily misused, and not given the proper time and attention that made it such a terrifying entity in the original film, something one would hope Scott knows full well. The opening few minutes of the film, pre-title card, while interesting, are disjointed from the rest of the film in tone and pacing. Feeling more like a cut scene from Prometheus, than a genuine addition to the film.

At its core, Alien Covenant is an exploration of one scene in the original Alien film. When watching Covenant, it is interesting to view David, as an extension of Ash, and his climactic scene in which he attacks Ripley and his true nature is revealed. During the original films commentary, Scott expresses a desire to explore Ash’s nature, and the nature of an impotent machine, wanting to create life, or at least take part in the pleasures that lead to such creations. While this notion is indeed interesting, and would make for a fascinating exploration, it’s inclusion and depiction in the film, feel mishandled and tacked on as a means to explain certain leaps in design and logic. It is easy to get the impression that more than a few minutes of film, were left on the cutting room floor.

The films use of CGI throughout, is laughable. At first noticed when viewing a crewman repairing the ship, looking more like footage borrowed from Titan A.E. (2000), than a 2017, high budget, horror, and continuing through out. The first look of the films creatures, are unfortunately viewed in full lighting, leaving nothing in shadow, and giving off an effect almost on the level of the yellow alien monkey from Lost in Space (1998). While some later shots are given their due, keeping the lighting and scene just right, to give the creature its subtle beauty, they are unfortunately short lived, and we are plunged back into the depth of the uncanny valley. The films score borrows heavily from Jerry Goldsmith’s original score, even blatantly repeating the main theme at times, in an attempt to recreate the originals atmosphere. While this works well in theory, the films pacing and editing works against itself. While the inclusion of Wagner works rather well, and plays in to both David and Walter’s characters, the addition of Paolo Nutini’s Let Me Down Easy (2015) is whiplash inducing, none the less for the fact that the film is set in 2104, and this is the only evidence of a pop culture element.

While the film is not terrible, and could certainly be worse, it is best to approach this film with extreme caution. It seems more than clear that plenty of elements were changed in the editing booth, and that a far better film could still be salvaged from its remains. However, the film fails to live up to the tension and tone of the original Alien, and even the effects of Prometheus. Scott seems best these days, when talking properties outside of the Alien franchise, and while his involvement with the upcoming Blade Runner 2049 (2017) is only that of executive producer, one hopes for a better addition, to Scott’s other Science Fiction masterworks.

Fright Night (1985)

Fright_night_posterMarking the directorial debut of Tom Holland (Child’s Play (1988), The Temp (1993)), and starring William Ragsdale (Herman’s Head (1991-1994), The Reaping (2007)), Chris Sarandon (The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), The Princess Bride (1987)), and Roddy McDowall (Planet of the Apes (1968), The Black Hole (1979)). Fright Night is an 80s horror classic, following Charlie Brewster (Ragsdale), a horror movie lover, and dedicated fan to the late night show Fright Night. One night, after a fight with his girlfriend Amy (Amanda Bearse), he spots what can only be described as vampiric activity coming from the house next door, after the arrival of new neighbours. After a young woman goes missing, a girl Charlie saw go into his neighbours house, Charlie becomes convinced that the man next door, the devilishly charming Jerry Dandridge (Sarandon), is indeed a real vampire. Charlie seeks out to convince Amy and his best friend ‘Evil’ Ed (Stephen Geoffreys), that vampires do indeed exist, and that they are all in grave danger. Even going as far as to attempt to recruit Fright Night’s own late night host, the self-proclaimed vampire killer, Peter Vincent (McDowall).

Releasing two years prior to The Lost Boys (1987), Fright Night is a marvel in vampire horror thrillers, with just a healthy dose of comedy thrown in. Boasting incredible special effects, manned by many of the visual effects geniuses who brought us Ghostbusters (1984), it truly earns its place as a cult classic. Written and directed by Tom Holland, who had previously written the script for Psycho II (1983), Fright Night acts as a love letter to monster horror films, in an age where slasher flicks rain supreme, answering Halloween’s Michael Myers (1978), and the mask killer of Prom Night (1980), with the charming but deadly Jerry Dandridge, and his off kilter assistant, Billy Cole (Jonathan Stark). While the vampire genre is flooded these days, especially in the teen demographic, thanks to the likes of the Twilight franchise (2008 – 2012), it’s hard not to see Fright Night’s impact on Vampire films after witnessing it.

William Ragsdale’s Charlie, is impulsive, kind hearted, and unmistakably relatable. While he jumps to conclusions relatively quickly, it’s easy to see how he draws his conclusions, you find yourself rooting for him heavily throughout, especially when the life of his beloved girlfriend, Amy, is at stake. Roddy McDowall, playing Peter Vincent, an obvious nod to Hammer Horror legends, Peter Cushing and Vincent Price, gives an incredibly strong and memorable performance, as a man who once starred in several low budget horror films, lowered to hosting a late night show where he showcases his previous efforts. When confronted by Charlie, Peter finds himself facing familiar situation, where the danger is oh so real, and he must find out if he really can live up to his moniker of ‘The Vampire Killer’. Stephen Geoffreys’ Evil Ed, easily the most animated character of the entire film, spouts some of the film’s most recognisable lines. Constantly buzzing with adrenaline, and making the films biggest transformation, Holland envisioned Ed as a stand in for the young horror fans of the world, who feel alienated, just as big of an outsider as the monsters he adores in the movies. Finally, it’s Chris Sarandon’s Jerry Dandridge who steals the show. At once charming to everyone he meets along the way, easily swaying the thoughts and opinions of those around him, it’s terrifying to realise the dark power he really has. His bloodlust always at the centre of his actions. In the film’s most famous scene, the night club, we see the often noted connection between vampirism and sex personified on screen, with his seduction of the young Amy. His dark and sinister power working its magic, as Amy transforms from a girl into a woman in his arms, before being whisked away to her doom.

The film’s effects are on top of their game throughout, released after the likes of An American Werewolf in London (1981), and The Howling (1981), Fright Night boasts an incredible array of practical effects throughout. Everything from extensive makeup for the vampire look, to the incredibly detailed and timed animatronic puppets and full body suits of the wold and bat transformations. It’s easy to see the visual effects teams pedigree and talent throughout. The film’s score by Brad Fiedel, coming off of his incredible work on The Terminator (1984) for James Cameron, provides a beautifully haunting addition to the film. Screaming with 80s electronica, and the iconic inclusion of the electric violin, the score has become almost as famous as the film itself.

Fright Night is more than worthy of its cult status, and despite having a 21st century remake, starring Anton Yelchin (Star Trek (2009), Green Room (2009)), Colin Farrell (In Bruges (2008), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) and David Tennant (Doctor Who (2005-2015), Broadchurch (2013-2017) , the film is well worth your time regardless. A must see for any fans of 80s horror, vampire films, or just those looking for a damn fun time.