20 Lamest Movie Vampires

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)

The Vamp: Amilyn (Paul Reubens), the undead manslave to head vamp Lothos (Rutger Hauer).

The Lame: This guy just doesn’t know when to croak. Even when Buffy’s staked him, he hangs around like a crap punchline that can’t find a decent place to die. Lothos is not much better – a cape-wearing preener whose bark is worse than his bite.

How To Make Him Cool: Have David Boreanaz play him.

Let Me In (2010)

“You forgot the first rule of remakes; don’t fuck with the original!” That isn’t a line from Let Me In – it’s from remake-analysis-machine Scream 4. But it definitely applies to this somewhat unnecessary remake. Not because Let Me In fucks with the much-loved Swedish film it’s based on (Let The Right One In), but because it knows it shouldn’t, and it doesn’t.

Let Me In is smarter than that. Strike that, writer/director Matt Reeves is smarter than that. There’s no doubt he’s a fan of both Tomas Alfredson’s heartbreakingly melancholic Let The Right One In and the disturbing novel it’s based on, and with Let Me In he’s fashioned a loving, cynicism-free sibling for that delicate original. His film’s both love letter and companion – very almost a spliced negative.

It’s impossible to talk about Let Me In without referencing Alfredson’s film. Frequently taking its cue from its Swedish sister, Reeves’ remake is steeped in warm oranges and frosty blues, and it dutifully hits all the same story beats (sometimes even copying entire shots). This is no Psycho ’98, though. Ensuring we know he’s not sticking to a clinical blueprint, Reeves isn’t entirely enslaved to his source material – he stops Let Me In from becoming a stale retread by subtly shaking up the formula, rendering the events themselves anew with confident, polished precision.

If possible, Let Me In positions Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) even more at its centre, isolating him to a devastating degree. His mother’s face is never shown, his father’s just a voice on the telephone, and he’s brutally bullied by three bigger boys at school. When Abby (Chloe Moretz) appears, it’s a relief – a wary smile from her meaning more to Owen than a single word from his mother’s lips.

Meanwhile, Let Me In’s biggest departure comes in the form of Richard Jenkins’ ‘Father’, who hunts from the backseats of cars with a Jason Voorhees-style bag on his head. This shake-up leads to Let Me In’s finest accomplishment – a spectacular car crash shot from inside the vehicle that seems to be one death-defying, continuous take.

That’s the kind of innovative derring-do that makes you wish Reeves was directing original material. He’s clearly a talented filmmaker with things to say, but he’s almost invisible throughout Let Me In, time and again restrained by his reverence for Alfredson’s masterful original. To his credit, though, Reeves does pull off the trickiest aspect of his remake – he makes Let The Right One In American without ‘Americanising’ it one bit.

How? Well, he keeps the plot basically the same (young bullied boy meets neighbour girl who’s a vampire, they become friends). The snow’s still there (courtesy of New Mexico). So is the Rubik’s Cube. But Reeves is re-telling the same story with emphasis in different areas. He trains his focus even more directly on our scrawny, awkward duo – so much so that all peripheral characters become literally a blur to his lens.

That altered title is also a telling departure – it’s very almost a request from Reeves himself. He wants us to give Let Me In a chance. And we should, not least because it’s one of the year’s most beautifully shot films, with both Moretz and Smit-McPhee delivering complex performances well beyond their years.

Is this remake completely unnecessary? Absolutely. Is it completely redundant? Not quite. As remakes go, it’s respectful, if not quite daring enough – a kind of warm up for Reeves to move onto bigger and better things. And it certainly doesn’t fuck with the original. 3/5

 

My you’ve changed…

A couple of new images from the Fright Night reboot have just been released online, and what a sight they are. The first in particular (top right) shows a gothed-up David Tennant as Las Vegas stage magician Peter Vincent, who ends up helping Anton Yelchin’s teen battle Colin Farrell’s malicious neck-chewer.

It’s quite a wardrobe change from the Vincent we know and love from the original 1987 Fright Night. Whereas the ’87 version (top left) starred Roddy McDowall as a fuddy old vamp slaying horror icon, Tennant here sort of resembles Russell Brand meeting Sirius Black by way of The Crow.

Will it work? Tennant definitely has an ability to make larger than life characters sing (as any Dr Who fan will tell you), but this new Fright seems like such a massive departure from the ’80s film that you wonder why they even bothered using the same title. Apart from the fact that it’s a great title, of course.

The second new image shows off Toni Collette as Yelchin’s mum, with the Aussie native rounding out a seriously impressive cast (not forgetting Imogen Poots and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, of course). To be honest, the most this reboot seems to have going for it is the names involved, with that stellar cast reading from a script by Buffy screenwriter Marti Noxon. If anything, then, we should get some snappy lines read by a snappy cast – but who’d rather just watch the original film? I know I would.

Speaking of, here’s why I love Fright Night ’87

Lesbian Vampire Killers OST

Artist: Various
Distributor: Silva Screen

Soundtrack Rating: 3/5

Never judge a soundtrack by its cover. Hot pink punk artwork lends LVK a grunge edge, but composer Debbie Wiseman instead opts for dead straight. Ahem. Taking her cue from Buffy and Hammer, Wiseman plays up the orchestral epic – violins tremble, cellos bellow and choirs mourn “oohs” and “aahs”. Only the track titles bite at convention, with crackers ‘Run You Bellends!’, ‘My aXe Girlfriend’ and ‘Whores of F***ing Hades, Prepare For F***ing Death!’. Still, the sonorous riffs are fittingly Gothic in scope, if wretchedly repetitive, rendering this disappointingly toothless.