As I’ve blogged previously, I’m looking forward to the forthcoming remake of The Thing. However, there is another remake I’ve also been curious about. A film of the same name, based on Tom Holland’s 1985 cult classic Fright Night.
Now, for those who aren’t familiar with this high-watermark of cinema, the essentials of the plot are that Charlie Brewster discovers a vampire has moved in next door to him and must convince Peter Vincent, a vampire-slaying hero of late-night cinema (very much in the vein of Peter Cushing’s numerous turns as Van Helsing in Hammer Films) to aid him in destroying the unholy creature.
I’ve been watching the original this evening and rediscovering some vampire-mind-control moments that I had forgotten about. If you’re familiar enough with the story (or don’t care and just want to skip straight to the blank-eyed-yes-master-I-will-obey naughtiness), the film’s vampire mc scenes are located at the beginning of the following two clips:
I know, I know: 80’s music…ugh. Despite that though, the thing I enjoy most (and had largely forgotten) about this film was the interplay between Jerry Dandridge (the fanged one) and Amy. In the club, he’s definitely exerting control over her, but (and credit to the actress here) it feels less to me as though she’s fighting his control so she can run, but more that she’s fighting with the part of herself that wants to stay.
It all comes back to that tenant of erotic mind control that Tabico so eloquently summed up: “I shouldn’t want to, but I do.” This also represents an interesting sub-plot for the film. In the opening scene, Charlie (the ‘hero’) and Amy are having a good-old high school fumble in his bedroom which ends awkwardly and with the knowledge that Amy is afraid of sex (though in her defense who wouldn’t be afraid of sex with Charlie Brewster?).
So, for her character, Jerry Dandridge and his you-are-in-my-power vampire gaze not only evokes flat-out mind control but also what makes erotic mind control a potent fantasy for so many people: being ‘forced’ to do what you won’t let yourself do. So, the film makes an admirable contribution to the fine lineage of vampire-mind-control seduction that I imagine more than a few us have in our kink resumes.
For me, seeing this film as a younger man than I am now, I think it was the first movie I’d seen that eroticized vampirism. Its obviously not the first film to have done so, just the first one I happened across. Watching it now, I can distinctly remember feeling something else when I originally saw the film; something beyond the stirrings that a movie with sexual overtones would naturally elicit.
I always remember being especially interested in the scene inside the dance club; even over the more explicit scene that follows between Jerry and Amy. The mental battle she’s fighting, knowing what Dandridge is and yet still yearning to give in to him, I find very potent and well-executed…despite the 80’s music.
So, I think I still like the original more than the remake. Which isn’t to say the remake is bad, I enjoyed it and there are some nice blank-eyed stares from Amy in the 2011 film’s incarnation of the dance club scene. But…well its just not quite the same.
New material is on the way. I’ve been cranking out stuff like I haven’t in years. Tabico and I have a very cool new animated series in the works, I’ve got several manips finished and several more planned for a more traditional update and more ideas than I know what to do with.
So, with that tease, I’ll see you next time.