Cocktails and Movies Take Out Theater: “Fright Night (2011)”

BY MIKE REYES

Cocktails and Movies bites off more than audiences could chew, as we suggests an overlooked horror flick.

Remakes are a dime a dozen, especially when they’re based on older horror franchises. Most of the time, just like a remake of any other genre of film, the purpose of the original is discarded for something a little more modern. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. After all, not everyone is George Clooney. This week, we present to you one of the remakes that worked so well it didn’t find an audience. Everyone thought it was a bad idea, and I was one of those people who had grown up with the original Fright Night, only to worry they were going to Twilight this one to the hilt. Thankfully what we got instead was a smart-assed bloodsucker flick, with a villain that was an actual improvement over his original form. Looks like the lesson of the day is if you want to remake an 80’s vampire flick, you should hire one of the producers of Buffy The Vampire Slayer to help write it. In honor of Halloween, and our programming theme of “Just When You Thought It Was Safe,” we welcome you to Fright Night (2011).

The Film

Fright Night (2011)
Directed By: Craig Gillespie
Year Released: 2011
Starring: 
Anton Yelchin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Colin Farrell, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, and David Tennant
Rating: R
Runtime: 
106 Minutes
Studio:
Dreamworks Pictures

Charley Brewster (Yelchin) is so cool. So cool that he’s blown off hanging out with his friend “Evil” Ed (Mintz-Plasse) in favor of building his reputation with all of the cool kids. All because he happens to be dating Amy (Poots), a girl who swims right in that particular social circle. Living with his single, real estate agent mother (Collette), he’s the man of the house in their Vegas suburb. All is not well though, as the new next door neighbor (Farrell) seems to have taken a particular interest the Brewster residence. He only shows up at night, doesn’t appear on film, and has Ed suspecting that he’s a vampire. He couldn’t be… could he?

What makes Fright Night (2011) particularly fun is the fact that it  knows the world in which it exists. The characters don’t learn everything historical about vampires during the film for the first time, as vampiric lore is firmly established and exchanged/dispelled. What could make for an annoyingly “post modern deconstruction” of vampires that spends too much time poking fun at itself to do anything serious, turns out to be a knowledgeable but still surprisingly fun exercise in the genre. It knows the rules, but doesn’t listen to all of them to keep things fun. It’s a given to expect a certain amount of comedy in a horror movie, but the problem that most filmmakers and screenwriters forget is how to balance the two equally. Fright Night (2011) not only balances the two, but takes full advantage of both and to the audience’s delight.

Going back to the original Fright Night, the story had two plot-lines I feel were vastly improved by their absence in the new one: the “kid trying to lose his virginity” plot and the “vampire finds his long lost soul mate” plot. Both were obvious products of their era, and work perfectly fine in the original film, but for a more modern audience, one would feel cliched and the other is just overdone. Marti Noxon’s reworking of the Brewster/Dandridge face off is pretty damned awesome, as it takes the basic premise of the original and modernizes when it has to. For instance, Peter Vincent (Tennant) is now a Criss Angel-esque magician, which gives Tennant a perfect opportunity to break the mold of his Doctor Who persona and swear with delight. Peter Vincent is an asshole, but he’s the audience’s favorite asshole.

In fact, it’s safe to say that while the whole ensemble is perfect for this picture, Mr. Tennant almost steals the film away from everyone else. Almost though, because it would be unfair to discount all the other actors involved in making up the exemplary cast showcased in this film. If Fright Night is proof of anything, it’s proof that if you give a relatively “mainstream” director the opportunity to make a smart, funny horror flick, you’re going to receive some great results. Gillespie’s handle on characters and even his relatively green nature when it comes to handling action don’t hamper his final product. (Which is more than could be said for director Marc Forester, who’s made two action pictures and still doesn’t know how to excite an audience.)

If you’re looking for a funny/scary remake that honors the film that came before it without ruining any memories of the original, then look no further than Fright Night (2011).

Now with a vampire movie comes a vampire drink. Not a hard stretch of the imagination, but this is something you could imagine even Peter Vincent himself slugging down in his penthouse at the Hard Rock Hotel. While Mr. Vincent is arguably more of a Midori fan, we doubt he’d pass up a couple rounds of this sweet yet bloody looking concoction. Much like the movie itself, this cocktail looks to entertain as well as properly spook a couple people out of their minds.

The Drink

Vampire’s Kiss Martini with Blood Drip Hard Candy RimVampire Kiss Martini - Finlandia Vodka

Ingredients

Blood Drip” Hard Candy Rim

1 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Karo Syrup
1/2 c. Water
Red Food Coloring

Vampire’s Kiss Martini

1 1/2 oz Finlandia Vodka
1 1/2 oz Korbel Champagne
3/4 oz Chambord black raspberry liqueur

Directions:

“Blood Drip” Hard Candy Rim

Combine sugar, syrup and water. Cook without stirring to hard crack stage – which is 300 degrees F. Add food coloring.

Turn off heat. While the mixture is still hot, dunk the top of the cocktail glass into the mixture to create the red rim. If you need to do several glasses, keep the mixture hot so it lasts longer (instead of turning heat off, just reduce slightly).You can go anywhere from just along the very tip of the rim to part way down the glass – whichever you prefer. Flip the glass right side up to cool. The thick consistency of the mixture will cause “drips” as it hardens on the glass.

Vampire’s Kiss Martini

Pour vodka and half of the Chambord in a martini glass. Top with Champagne. Pour the remaining Chambord over the back of a spoon to make it float.

Thanks toThe Hostess With The Mostess for the awesome hard candy rim, and Finlandia Vodka for the bloody good show they did with the cocktail of choice . Most importantly, thanks to all of you for coming back for another installment of #TakeOutTheater! Got any suggestions for film and drink pairings? Send ‘em our way through the Comments below, our Facebook/Twitter pages, or just email us. We’ll see you again tomorrow, when Tim and I come back with our Ultimate Halloween Double Feature! Who says passing out candy has to be boring?!