Fright Night

Fright Night 1985

Vampires are timeless; by their very nature immortal. Still, Hollywood has so shat the coffin with vampire movies of late that the creeping shadow on the wall no longer belongs to Nosferatu, but rather to permeating audience apathy. But there was a time, gentle viewer, when the legacy of the vampire canon found a way to integrate gloriously into the zeitgeist of a new era. That time was the 1980s. On this week’s episode, Cargill and I discuss some of our favorite vampire movies of the ’80s and examine how they incorporated the spirit of that decade into the long-running mythology of the blood-sucking undead. We won’t say this is an episode of Junkfood Cinema that you should sink your teeth into, because that’s far too obvious. That being said, you should totally sink your teeth into this episode of Junkfood Cinema. You should follow Brian (@Briguysalisbury), Cargill (@Massawyrm), and the show (@Junkfoodcinema). Download Episode #7 Directly

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Pixar Character Logo

It doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to say that there is probably a lot of overlap between fans of Joss Whedon’s television work and fans of Pixar’s animated films. People who like memorable characters, clever writing, and genre-themed storylines tend to take them wherever they can get them. So it shouldn’t come as any real surprise that a veteran writer/producer on Whedon’s first big show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has been picked up to become the latest member of the Pixar brain trust. According to The Playlist, Marti Noxon, who wrote Buffy episodes like “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,” “The Prom,” and “Wrecked,’ has joined Pixar to do work on an as-yet-unspecified project. More recently in her career, Noxon has been continuing her writer/producer schtick on television shows like the ridiculously critically acclaimed Mad Men, and the incomprehensibly popular Glee, and she’s also credited as being the writer on the recent remake of Fright Night – so the uses that Pixar could be putting her to are myriad.

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This Week in Blu-ray

Hey look, it’s an edition of This Week in Blu-ray. We’d bet you didn’t see that coming, did you? Anyway, it’s back to the grind with plenty of great new Blu-ray releases to talk about. Everything from one of the best shows on television to Brad Pitt revolutionizing the game of baseball to a few releases from previous weeks that we’re sad to have missed. This includes, of course, a release from last week that has us developing a severe case of mysophobia. Boardwalk Empire: The Complete First Season It has taken HBO something like forever to get their premiere drama out on Blu-ray and DVD, but the story of Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) and his power struggles at the top of 1920s Atlantic City is more than worth the wait. From an all-star cast led by Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Michael Shannon and Kelly McDonald (alongside Paz de la Huerta’s naked body), Boardwalk is one show that does not fail to keep its audience glued from episode to episode. Which makes it the perfect title for a Blu-ray purchase, as you’ll want to keep watching until you hit the end. And with its beautiful menus, well-designed and sturdy packaging and decent assortment of extras, the Blu-ray set feels right at home in the stylish world of Nucky and friends. It’s the collector’s item that you’ll want to have on your shelf for years to come.

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We can complain all we want, rationalize, or hope for the best, but the easiest way to stop the remake assault that studios have foisted upon audiences is not to pay for it. The studio system still hasn’t found a silver bullet for killing the monster of low attendance, and 2011 might have been the worst wake-up call they could get. Movie attendance fell by 4.4% from 2010, down to the lowest level since 1995. The problematic silver lining is that foreign sales are higher, which could result in even more broadly-appealing (and “appealing” is used generously here) movies that are generic and treat dialogue like a second-class citizen. On the losing side of the field (the one where producers aren’t having Gatorade dumped on them), are the remakes of 2011. Remakes are thought to be attractive because they come with built-in name recognition for audiences, and development has already been partially done for a story that’s already proven itself as a money-maker. For fans, they’re also infuriating because they signal both a lack of creativity coming out of an industry built on it and the potential (likely) bastardization of something we hold dear (and, yes, of course the original is still out there; it’s the principle of the thing). So it may come as pleasant news for some to see that remakes, regardless of their quality of genre, failed spectacularly at the box office this year. It’s the kind of thing that may just deter producers from trying to […]

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Hundreds of movies are released each year in theaters or straight to DVD, and a large percentage of them suck. A much smaller group though are fantastic slices of cinema that thrill, excite, invigorate and entertain, and while some of them are recognized at the box office many more are left to die a quick and undeserved death. And it’s essentially your fault. Of course I don’t mean you specifically, but instead I’m referring to the average American movie-goer who chose not to see these movies in the theater. They ignored the critical acclaim, reviews and recommendations from sites like ours and instead bought multiple tickets for the latest Twilight or Transformers movie. So while it’s too late to affect their box office returns (most of them anyway), Jack Giroux and Rob Hunter have put together a list of eleven movies that deserved far better treatment in 2011.

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It seems like every year I find myself disappointed in the horror offerings of the preceding twelve months. Especially if you think of widely released theatrical flicks, few of which ever make the lists. If it weren’t for DVDs and VODs, I don’t even know if I could in good conscience pretend that 10 (or 11) horror films were good. That said, I did manage to find some enjoyment in theaters and at home this year, but it wasn’t the easiest task in the world. In a good year, it’ll be hard to eliminate films from the list, but when it comes to horror most years, its scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with a full list. Quickly, in terms of eligibility, I write my lists a little differently than many others – for me, a film has to be widely available in this year, either in theaters or DVD or VOD. So films that only show at festivals generally aren’t eligible for my lists until they’re released on DVD. For example, Ti West’s The Innkeepers has made several lists, but it’s not widely available until 12/30 so most people won’t see it until 2012, so that’s that.

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This Week in DVD

This week’s DVD column only features one certified blockbuster, but happily it’s a kick ass movie worth picking up and enjoying as soon as possible. The rest of the week’s offerings are smaller fare of varying quality including the incredibly fun Detective Dee, the too grim to be good Little Deaths, the better than expected Fright Night, the enlightening but sad Circumstance, and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Apocalypse, CA It’s the end of the world thanks to an impending impact from a very large asteroid, but where most films with that premise would focus on efforts to avert disaster this smaller budget indie has a bit more on its mind. John is using Earth’s final days trying to make up for lost time, but his attempts to right past wrongs meet with questionable results. As you’d expect those results include body swapping, Armageddon, a 100-foot tall giant and more. Obviously. Imagine Bellflower with more appealing characters, a lighter tone and far less whining, and you’ll have a good idea what to expect from writer/director Chad Peter’s film. Well, not really, but the point is it’s an interesting and creative look at gender and relationships through an apocalyptic lens that makes up for its budgetary restraints and occasionally dodgy acting (I’m looking at you “Hank”) with wit, foul language and impressive visual effects.

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

We continue our journey through a month of frightening, bloody and violent films. For more, check out our 31 Days of Horror homepage. Synopsis: Charlie Brewster (William Ragsdale) is just a normal nerdy high school kid whose inconceivably less-nerdy girlfriend Amy (Amanda Bearse) wants to have sex with him. However, Charlie is more interested in what’s happening next door, where he believes a vampire has recently moved in. After a mysterious murder of a local prostitute sparks Charlie’s suspicions, he seeks the advice of local horror fan Evil Ed (Stephen Geoffreys) on how to protect himself. But when it becomes clear that Jerry (Chris Sarandon), the vampire next door, is wise to Charlie’s ways, he begs local TV show host and vampire hunting legend Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) to put the bloodsucker back in the grave.

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The Reject Report

They came. They stood. They weren’t afraid of a thing. And when the dust settled, they swept that up with the rest of the competition. Here in its third weekend out, The Help continues to pull in new as well as repeat audiences, and is very close to breaking the $100m barrier. Subsequent from its opening weekend, its percentage drops have been quite impressive: 23.1% down last weekend from the weekend before and 28.4% down this weekend from last. Though future weekends might see films open big enough to knock the period drama out of the top spot, its percentage downsizing doesn’t seem likely to grow, and The Help will end up being quite the success story come year end. And that’s even before the expected Oscar nominations for it are announced. Colombiana and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’s numbers were somewhat flip-flopped from what I anticipated. Colombiana was the only other film besides The Help to pull in double digits this weekend, but just barely. It didn’t perform too terribly worse than Olivier Megaton’s previous film’s opening weekend. Transporter 3 debuted with $12m, and ended up topping $100m worldwide. With Luc Besson’s name attached to Colombiana as well, you can expect foreign numbers to be much more favorable than domestic.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, screenwriter Marti Noxon discusses the lack of sparkles in Fright Night and writer/director Tom McCarthy talks good people doing bad things in Win Win. Plus, good old Rob Hunter faces off against Hollywood.com Movies Editor Matt Patches in a grudge match that will be written about for hours to come. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column, sure. But at its core, it is a hunter. A hunter of the most interesting film-related tidbits of the day. Can you feel the heat? It’s not enough for director Alex Proyas will make Paradise Lost, the story of the break between Heaven and Hell. But he’s also bringing Djimon Hounsou as the Angel of Death. If there is one actor that I look at on a consistent basis and think, “that man would bring death to me,” it’s Hounsou. It sure beats Bradley Cooper as Lucifer, so we’ll see how it shakes out.

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So many headlines that got lost after this weekend’s box office totals came in. “Conan Crushes His Enemies”. “Crom Shines on Conan the Barbarian”. There were a few others, but it’s moot now. Not only was Conan the Barbarian unable to beat out the returning power of The Help or Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the 3-D boost it had was just barely enough to get it into double digits. It was an even sadder state of affairs for Fright Night, which debuted out of the top 5.

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The Reject Report

Reject Report, what is best in life? To crush the box office, see them driven to the concession stand, and to hear the lamentation of their 3-D glasses. That is good! The Reject Report isn’t a barbarian. It probably wouldn’t even know what to do if you handed it a broadsword or told it to slay a Cimmerian Beast-Man. No, what it does is calculate the upcoming weekend’s box office, predict the winners and losers, and hears the lamentation of hundreds telling it it’s horribly wrong. This week it’s gonna be wrong about two new 3-D remakes from the ‘80s – The Reject Report’s favorite decade, BTW – the fourth in a kid’s series, and a love story starring Catwoman and that dude from Across the Universe. It’s not wrong about that, though. Jim Sturgess definitely WAS in Across the Universe. Sit back, clutch your battle axe (3-D glasses optional), and enjoy what this week’s Report has to say.

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Screenwriter Marti Noxon has had career infested with the supernatural. After great success with the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, she worked on Mad Men with the ethereally handsome Jon Hamm and then jumped to the screen with I Am Number Four. Her latest is Fright Night, and, okay, if you check out her resume, it features a lot of TV shows that have absolutely zero werewolves or ghosts or anything, but that doesn’t mean she’s not a massive fan of things that go bump in the screen light. My extended interview with Noxon will be a part of next week’s Reject Radio, but here’s a healthy part of the conversation to whet your appetite – including some talk about the screenwriting process, how she first got the idea for the script’s direction, and how Las Vegas is like a Spielberg suburb turned wasteland.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr flexes his rippling muscles and sets out to live a warrior lifestyle, just like Jason Momoa in Conan the O’Barbarian. But before he can do that, he has to drive a stake through his neighbor’s heart, since he’s certain he lives next door to a vampire. What else could all those sparkles be about? Meanwhile, he sends his kids off to a dangerous 3D, Aroma-Vision mission, hoping they can make it as real spy kids so they can teach him to put on a fake British accent and woo a not-quite-British Anne Hathaway.

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I am likely one of very few critics that sat down to watch Craig Gillespie’s Fright Night having not seen Tom Holland’s 1985 original first, but upon doing so after, feel I’ve unintentionally done myself a great service. Now that I’ve seen it, the original is a great film; Chris Sarandon’s Jerry Dandrige and Roddy McDowall’s Peter Vincent are uniquely them, the tone and pace a perfect example of eighties horror done right – smart and campy all at once. Like most re-makes/re-imaginings, if the original felt good and was a part of my film collage growing up, it would have colored my perception of the new offering by default. This certainly isn’t bad, but it’s not always the best way to approach something new. I am glad then that in putting the cart before the horse, I was able to appreciate and have a good bit of fun with this latest offering.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It is a nightly film industry news column dedicated to hacking away with the precision of a drunkenly wielded axe at the world of entertainment news. It has lopped off a few heads in its day, so keep your eye on it. We begin tonight with an image from the special Fright Night event held at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin last night. In attendance were McLovin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Anton Yelchin and Dave Franco, who looks just a little bit less stoned than his brother James. They made people drink other people’s blood and whatnot. Photo by Jack Plunkett

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I visited the set of the new Fright Night movie last September and wrote about the experience here. That post covers my thoughts on the whole process, but it’s not all I have to report. No siree, while I was there several members of the cast and crew took time out of their clearly busy schedule to chat with the press. Unheard of you say? It’s true! And here are some words to prove it from the likes of Anton Yelchin and director Craig Gillespie! [These are excerpts from group interviews conducted during the set visit.] Be sure to check out all of our Fright Night coverage here.

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I visited the set of the new Fright Night movie last September and wrote about the experience here. That post covers my thoughts on the whole process, but it’s not all I have to report. No siree, while I was there several members of the cast and crew took time out of their clearly busy schedule to chat with the press. Unheard of you say? It’s true! And here are some words to prove it from the likes of Colin Farrell and Imogen Poots! [These are excerpts from group interviews conducted during the set visit.] Be sure to check out all of our Fright Night coverage here.

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I visited the set of the new Fright Night movie last September and wrote (perhaps a bit too honestly) about the experience here. That post covers my thoughts on the whole process, but it’s not all I have to report. No siree, while I was there several members of the cast and crew took time out of their clearly busy schedule to chat with the press. Unheard of you say? It’s true! And here are some words to prove it from the likes of screenwriter Marti Noxon and producer Michael De Luca. [These are excerpts from group interviews conducted during the set visit.] Be sure to check out all of our Fright Night coverage here.

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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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published: 12.12.2014
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