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Is the New Fright Night As Queer As the Original?


Back in the 1980s and early 90s, almost every genre movie was suffused with homoerotic tension—action flicks (Commando), teen-escapade flicks (Weird Science), heist flicks (Point Break)—but none more so than horror movies.

Maybe it was the onset of the AIDS epidemic that added heightened frisson, or gay directors frustrated they couldn’t film the sequel to Can’t Stop the Music channeled their erotic impulses into movies like Once Bitten, Twice Shy and Nightmare on Elm Street 2.

Right up there with those crypto-gay slasher movies was Fright Night, a 1985 vampire movie that saw teen dork Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) battling his vampire neighbor Jerry for the life (and purity) of his girlfriend, Amy. How gay was Fright Night?

* Charley’s girlfriend was played by Amanda Bearse, the future Marcy Darcy on Married..With Children, who came out as a lesbian in the 1990s. Amy is fond of bulky clothes and drives a scooter. Capiche?

* Charley’s dorky buddy, Ed, was played by Stephen Geoffreys, who later dropped out of mainstream movies to appear in hardcore gay porn. Geoffrey gives a creepy/campy performance and even dons drag in one scene.

* The fuddy-duddy English actor, Peter Vincent, that Charley turns to for help? Roddy McDowell, the original Pass-Around-Polly of 1950s gay Hollywood. As PostModernBarney.com points out, “You don’t cast McDowall if you want any implications of heterosexuality in a character.”

Basically the only straight person in this movie is Ragsdale—and the vampire, played amiably by Chris Sarandon (who always claimed playing Al Pacino’s unstable boyfriend in Dog Day Afternoon ruined his career).

Flash-forward 26 years:  creativity-starved Tinseltown has decided to remake Fright Night, which was hardly the Avatar of its day to begin with. The new version—made, of course, in 3-D—stars Anton Yelchin (Checkov in J.J. Abram’s Star Trek) as Charley, Imogen Poots as Amy, Dr Who‘s David Tennant as Peter Vincent and Colin Farrell as bloodsucking neighbor Jerry Dandridge. Opening today, it’s a bloody fun romp (in both senses of the word), but is it as gay as the original?

Not exactly.

The new version ditches Vampire Jerry’s slavish  sidekick, Billy (left), and turns virginal Amy into something of a horndog.

And where Sarandon’s take on the undead villain was a bit fey—he’s wears blousy shirts and is totally obsessed with Charley— Farrell is just a straight-up bad ass. He thinks the kid’s a pest and is more interested in chomping down on  Charley’s mom (Toni Collette).

Moving on: Tennant’s Peter Vincent is more a washed-up Kris Angel than mincy Vincent Price type—but he does a good job channeling the glambisexual drunken sexuality of Russell Brand. (Can you believe we just typed those words?)

And while Stephen Geoffrey followed up his role as Charley’s nerdy pal by getting pierced with flesh stakes, we can’t see Christopher Mintz-Plasse (a.k.a. McLovin’) appearing in movies like Private Temptations and Guys Who Crave Big Cocks.

Does that mean you shouldn’t see Fright Night? You totally should—it’s fun, it’s gory, it’s more realistic than The Help. And it’s nice to see sexy Farrell return from obscurity Horrible Bosses.

Keep an eye on the new Fright Night‘s director, Craig Gillespie, too: He’s set to next direct Ryan Gosling in The Dallas Buyer’s Club, based on the true story of an electrician with AIDS who was given six months to live but extended his life with a controversial drug cocktail.

By:           Dan Avery
On:           Aug 19, 2011
Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

  • 13 Comments
    • fredo777
      fredo777

      Dave Tennant + Colin Farrell are in it. That’s all I care about.

      Aug 19, 2011 at 7:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alan Balehead
      alan Balehead

      that was supposed to be Brad Pitt’s gay role after brokeback mountain happened..why did he drop it??

      Aug 19, 2011 at 7:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mr. Enemabag Jones
      Mr. Enemabag Jones

      More shit from straight people. Pass. Some friends and I are having a screening of the original Fright Night on Saturday night. I’d rather re-watch a camp/cult classic, than watch straight-washed shit.

      Aug 19, 2011 at 7:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Aaron
      Aaron

      I don’t know where you get your information, but it’s years out of date. Gillespie and Gosling dropped out of The Dallas Buyer’s Club long, long ago.

      It’s currently moving forward with Jean Marc Vallee (The Young Victoria) directing and Matthew McConaughey starring.

      You think a “media” site like Queerty could at least afford an IMDB Pro subscription.

      Aug 19, 2011 at 9:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Aaron
      Aaron

      I don’t know where you get your information, but it’s years out of date. Gillespie and Gosling dropped out of The Dallas Buyer’s Club long, long ago.

      It’s currently moving forward with Jean Marc Vallee (The Young Victoria) directing and Matthew McConaughey (Shirtless Abs) starring.

      You think a gay media site like Queerty could at least afford an IMDB Pro subscription.

      Aug 19, 2011 at 9:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Aaron
      Aaron

      Whoops. Apologies for the double post.

      Aug 19, 2011 at 9:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ganondorf
      Ganondorf

      “who always claimed playing Dustin Hoffman’s unstable boyfriend in Dog Day Afternoon ruined his career”

      Pacino. Fix it now.

      Aug 19, 2011 at 9:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • milhouse
      milhouse

      This was a classic little gem in its day. I have no plans to view a straight-washed version, even with Farrel.

      Aug 20, 2011 at 4:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ganondorf
      Ganondorf

      Or don’t fix it. But if you want to convey that you know something about the industry, not knowing the difference between dustin hoffman and al pacino is an unusual way to do it.

      Aug 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • chpinnlr
      chpinnlr

      @Ganondorf: Thanks for that I was racking my braintrying to place Hoffman in Dog day Afternoon! LOL!

      Aug 20, 2011 at 2:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • So Yo
      So Yo

      David Ten-Inch

      Aug 21, 2011 at 7:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ian
      Ian

      Saw it this past weekend. Was fun, if “straight-washed.” Didn’t expect it to be an exact replica of the original and I do find it annoying that they “washed” it. But Farrell was great as “Jerry”. Tennant was fun, but I’m biased in his favor. And you get to see Anton Yelchin’s tight tight body. I’m thinking he’s at about 1% body-fat at this point. lol He’s a little too-twink for me, but like him nonetheless.

      Aug 22, 2011 at 9:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • xtiaan
      xtiaan

      farrel all gothed out?! Im SO there!

      Aug 28, 2011 at 4:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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