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THE MAKING OF

JAPAN'S

FRANKENSTEIN
vs GAMORA
SAVINI MEETS BUB!

DAYOFTHE DEAD
TITAN OFTERROR

KARLOFF
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH

CHRISTOPHER LEE
ONTHESETOF
HP LOVECRAFT'S

REANIMATOR

How can Roddy M cDowall. mild~mQ"n~rf!d


TV hO$1 and B-mo u;e actor. hope to cope
wht" All 0/ his I'lns grow fanss in the new
v.mp;" , rt.., Frigh. Nigh.?

REDUCED TO MONSTERS
"The danger is that material can be
falsely classified in order to achieve
what the studio may think Is a ready
audience," he explained. "It also leads
to gratuitous product, in a great many
cases. You see, you take a piece of
material like The Hunchback of Notre
Dame and you go to its source ...Victor
Hugo wasn 't writing a story of a monster, he was writing a story about
someone who was deformed, a story
about love and the Inhumanity of that
society. When it's reduced to being a
32 MONSTERLAND

monster movie-that isn't the thrust,


nor is It the content of any of the three
versions I've seen. The same goes for
The Phantom of the Opera, which is a
magnificent piece. The only way that
those themes are successfully played,
in my opinion, is with an enormous
amount of humanity, trying to
illuminate something that isn't merely
horror. Fairy tales contain a great deal
of horror, but we do not think of them
as primarily horror stories.
"Who was more monstrous, in a sense,
than Scarface?" he continued . "In
the original film , Scarface is absolutely

horrific. It was dangerous in its time. In


that role, Paul Muni had such an ambivalence to humanity, he infused the
role with It. As opposed to the second
Scarface , which is just a blood bath-no humanity in i t at all. If
someone tries to perform the hunchback as merely an ugly misbegotten
" monster", it wou ld miss the point,
which i s that the hunchback was
longing to be accepted and to be loved .
That was also the basis of the monster
in Frankenstein. The fact that he was
trapped in a horrible body was his particular problem, but he wanted , above

all, to be loved and accepted as a


human being."
BITE KNIGHT
" Would you say that the vampire in
Fright Night is given any particular
humanity?" I queried.
" Just imagine," replied Roddy, "if you
were sentenced, like the Wandering
Jew, to walk the earth for eternity. You
can't rest , and you have to keep
refueling . That 's what you 're condemned to-a helluva situation ."
"Wouldn't that be true of any vampire? " I probed. "What is it about the
vampire in this film that makes it
special? "
" It's told in modern terms, but the
condition is still the same, I suppose.
Once a vampire, always a vampire, " he
said , laughing . " The condition is a
constant until you 're put to rest.
" We had a very good writer in Tom
Holland," he went on. "I've known him
for a long time. I'm a great admirer of
his and I think he's a very good director. This is a very complex film. The
34 MONSTERLAND

audience will never know how complex


it was to make-nor should they. But,
knowing the special interests of your
readers of MONSTERLAND, they
should be aware that the makeups and
transformations were extremely complex. In order to make a film like this
dlrectorially and photographically, it
has to be very carefully designed ,
because a great deal of it depends on
mounting tension through the cuts involved , bu il ding tension and horror
with variations of the same theme-it 's
very hard to sustain. And I think all the
other actors in the film were wonderful."
" How did you feel about the character
you were playing?" I asked him.
HALFBAKED HAM
" My part is that of an old ham actor, I
mean a dreadful actor. He realizes it
but doesn 't admit it. He-had a moderate
success in an isolated film here and
there , but all very bad product.
Basically, he played one character for 8

or 10 films , for which he probably got


paid next to nothing. He was a vampire
killer in all those very bad films. Unlike
stars of horror films who are very good
actors, such as Peter Lorre and Vincent
Price or Boris Karloff-and who played
lots of different roles-this poor
sonofabitch just played the same character all the time, which was awful. And
then he disappeared from sight, 15
years beforehand. He's been peddling
these movies to late night tv, various
syndicated markets ... he'd go six months
In Iowa, six months In Podunk. He'd
introduce the movies. He's like the
Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz,
really. Full of rubbish.
" Then these kids come to him saying
they need him to kill a real live vampire.
Of course, he tells the kids he can't get
involved because he doesn 't know
anything about vampires. He has no
belief in his own abilities at all. But In
the view of the kids, he 's a hero. Their
expectations are completely unrealistic."
" Fright Night is more sexy than most

other vamp i re f i lms , wouldn't you


agree? " I inquired. " There's a real undercurrent of sexual ity .... "
SEX AND THE SINGLE VAMP

" Ah , but if you'd been around in 1930


when Dracula with Bela Lugosi came
out , that was cons idered highly
sexually disturbing," he repl ied. " The
same way as Mae West. I mean, we 've
all seen Mae West-but in her day, she
was banned. Charl ie Chapl in was banned, cons idered vulgar. It was one of
the reasons for his huge success.
Mothers thought he was a dreadful influence on their children, and that was
part of his great appeal. You see, we
forget all those things and so when we
see those films, they seem very tame to
us. Of course, our shock level has gone
up so much ...."
" That's an important point," I Interjected . " Do you th ink we've been so inundated with visual shock that it's hard to
shock us with anything any more?"
" Sure, to some extent, " he agreed .

Can you b,litVt that tlrt SWllt little lady in tht ptetur, at right
tunu in' o thlgrutSOmt girly pictured AbouD on Fright ightl lt's
all 111fr work of tht new vampirt in Iht neighborhood. Chris
Sarandon (opposi ttt pagt. upptr right), work tllat "Iuclemt vam pl,,.huntlr Roddy McDoWQII must put Q stop to ,

" The same is true of sound. If we went


back fifty years to hear opera voices ,
they would probably sound very tiny to
us. Because our decibel levels have
been shattered. You see, we 're spoiled,
in a sense. I don't mean that as a
negative. But if we see 2001: A Space
Odyssey now, it 's still wonderful , but it
doesn't have the same effect any more
as it did when it came out. For instance , Metropolis is absolutely
remarkable- It 's a soph ist icated and
brilliant film . But it's impossible for us
to Imagine its true Impact in its own

day. It was utterly un ique when it came


out-they invented the futurist ic concepts of the film. But tOday, we just accept all that sort of thing . It 's like, well ,
40 years from now, can you imagine
trying to explain to your grandchildren
what Barbara Streisand meant, or what
the Beatles meant? 30 years from now,
how can Judy Garland have the same
effect on the needs and neuroses of
that future soc iety as she did on her
own society?"
COMTINUED ON PAGE 38

FRIGHT NIGH-

Lell: Roddy's ready tos lakc our his claim 10 l'ampir~killi,tg taml'
ABove! But is Bloodsuckor Next Door Cltris Sarc",riotf going to gillr him enough
tim(' to gct the job donl'?

STALKING THE FRIGHT, AT NIGHT

THE FRIGHT OF THE NIGHT


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35

"It seems to me, " I said, "that there's


something in all of us that draws us to
seek out the bizarre, the uncanny, or
even the monstrous. There is almost a
universal curios ity and attraction.
Would you agree with that? "
" There always has been that kind of
fascination in mankind," replied Roddy. " Again , look at fairy tales. They
reveal the dark side of our nature. We
live in a JudeoChristian Society, which
for centuries has been dedicated to the
idea of appeasing God. Or going back
to ancient times, when they used to
bui Id bridges, they would sacrifice
babies and put their bodies into the
foundation. They would take the most

innocent to sacrif ice, because they felt


that otherwise it would anger the gods
to bridge a natural impediment. So
there's always been a relationship with,
an inquiry into the dark side, the superstitious, how to appease the elements
... the end of the world was thought to
have sea monsters near the edge,
where you could fall off. It's all deeply
ingrained in our psychology, our
heritage.
"There's usually a hidden feeling of
attraction to things that repulse, " he
continued. "When you ride a roller
coaster and say, 'Oh, no, I'd never get
on this again', there's nevertheless a
desire to do it again, anyway. There 's a
fascination with being terrified , with
putting our lives in jeopardy."

"Going back to Fright Night for a


moment," I said , " -you 've pOinted out
that you were attracted to Tom
Holland's script. How did it come
about that you got the role? "
" It was an unusual idea on Tom
Holland's part, because I had never
played anything like that , or that age
bracket. In the film, I perform as being
in my late 20s or early 30s in the film
clips of myoid movies-all the way up
to my 60s, when I'm the washed-up hasbeen. I'd never played anything that
old."
"Did you resist the idea?"
"Oh no. I'm very glad I got the part. It
was a pretty good part. And I hope it
proves successful. I've played a lot of
parts I liked , and then nobody saw
the films."
"Do you think there's a tendency for
the lead roles today to be more and
more anti-heroes? " I asked. "Heroes
used to be swashbucklers who had
their swords and muskets and never
failed, " I emphasized. "But so many
new heroes seem to have 'feet of clay'.
MONSTERLAND 3i

"wt ,

Somf.' !{'Im", lrom Roddy's Rowdy NiSI"


audi"nc('s qUIVt'ntlg u'Itl, Frls',t

40 MONSTER LAND

SIIft'

to

trat''"

Either they trip over their own feet, like


the Ghostbust~rs , or they 're hand icap
ped by their own coward ice or iack of
abilit ies li ke your character in Fright
Night. "
"I woul dn't call that a new trend ,
espec ially, if that 's what you mean,"
rep li ed Roddy. lilt seems to me that
every decade , someth i ng happens
where t here 's suddenly a new ex
press ion, or new form , of old themes .
It 's why Montgomery Clift suddenly
becam e a star, for instance, in Red
River. Suddenly the hero was totally
opposite to John Wayne, because it

was the end of the war, and the public


was t ired of heroes that were all
macho. Ten years before that, right
before World War II , there was another
sort of hero-Joon Garfield-a sort of
romant ic fellow from the streets. I
don 't th ink the bas ic themes have
changed , just tile mores, and the man
ner in wh ich the themes are told .
" In remakes," he went on, " It seems to
me we're trying to take a message or
theme that worked in another era and
put it in a new context. Heaven Can
Walt was a remake of Here Comes Mr.
Jordan . One couldn't remake Here
Comes Mr. Jordan exactly the way it
was .. . it was too much a spec i fic
product of the society of its time.
Heaven Can Walt was a wonderful
'reassessment ' of that theme and
story. Now, the opposite can occur,
too, of course. Take Invasion of the
Body Snatchers, The Cat People or
King Kong-the remakes were
nowhere as good as the originals."
PSYCHO AOTORS
" Wh ile you 're actually perform ing, do
you get into the role so deeply that you
the set and
lose the consciousness

0'

the machinery of the film production? "


I asked.
" Well , that's very dangerous to talk
about," he said. " I mean , there are
people who say 'I live the part ', but then
you 're getting into a scenario like a
.double life. Wh ich Is certainly valid , but
there 's something highly neurot ic
about people going around living their
role, because if they're living their role
they 're no longer living the i r l i fe .
They've abdicated for some neurotic or
psychotic reason . So one has to be very
careful-no, you Just do your work.
" In a theatre you can see the people In
the aud ience perfectly-especially if
it's theatre In the round. They 're right
next to you . They're as close as I am to
you . They know you 're acting and that
you 're that face there, buried under
makeup. That proximity is one of the
occupat ional hazards . One of the
mistakes people make when they come
from the theatre and go Into film Is that
they don't realize, in the movies, the
'room ' ends where the lens is. And Just
the oppos ite Is true with theatre. In a
play, the 'room ' ends at the back of the
house.
" The childlike belief that one has to
maintain Is all part of not overreaching

MONSTERLAND .;

Is this that nl'W Demonic Duo - Bat$, Mart [, Roddy

the lens , and not acting for the


camera," he went on. " The actor's job
Is to understand the author's Intent, to
fulfill moment to moment what the
author expects, given the 'truth ' he Is
conveying . The 'truth ' of Shaw Is very
different from
the
'truth' of
Tennessee Williams. Or the 'truth ' of
Shakespeare Is very different from the
'truth' of Noel Coward. So the actor has
to know how to Illuminate the author's
'truth '-not 'believe' It , but Illuminate
It. The actors who 'behave ' their roles
are hams like the character I play In
Fright Night, who goes around saying
'ha, ha', 'ho, ho' and posing. He's a
42 MONSTERLAND

behaviorist, not really an actor. There


are some wonderful behaviorists who
are quite effective, but they 're not good
actors. And they're at a loss ult imately,
because unless they have something
to behave, an attitude to play (such as 'I
am a hero'), they don't know what to
do."
" You 've certainly explained your point
of view In a fascinat ing way," I concluded , " -espec ially your character In
Fright Night."
" Thank you ," he replied . " Frankly, I'm
very hopeful for the success of the
film , for a number of reasons. Number
one, I love the people I worked with . I

th ink Tom Holland Is very talen ted. And


Guy McElwalne , the Pres ident of
Columbia Pictures, was certainly brave
and wonderful to allow a new director
to do It."
And on that note, having completed a
most satisfying breakfast, and having
been delightfully Illuminated by one of
the screen 's most prol ific and competent actors, I left the Polo Lounge to
get on with my day. Roddy was heading
to a studio meeting about yet another,
new, upcoming project.

Tom Holland on

el's say you're a 1 7-year~ld boywho

loves horror movies. (For many of

our readers, that probably isn'l much


of a stretch.) Your ideaof a near-perfect
evening is bying to get past first base with your
gi rl friend as the two of you watch some outrageous schlock opus on your local lY stalion's " Fright Night" presentation: Your family

and friends all know about your passions, so


w hen you start insisting that your charming

and devilishly handsome new next-door-

neighbor is really a murderous vampire"


everyl:xx:ly assumes the 01' cathode ray tube
has begun"to fry your brai~s . Everybody, that

The Screenwriter of Psycho 2


Prepares For His Directorial Debut
By Abbie Bernstein

is, except your neighbor, who knows you're


absolutely right and doesn 't appreciate your
interest in him one bit. You know that he
knows that you know, so you desperate!y tum
for help to :' Fright Night" host Peter Vi ncent,

a has-been ham actor who's played a lot of


Van Helsing types in his day. Unfortunately,
Mr. Vincent doesn't believe in vampires and,
worse, has nerves of wann cream cheese.
Meanwhile, Your nocturnal neighbor isdetermined toshut you up before you cancause
him any more'trouble.
So goes die premise of Fright Nigh!, a new
feature fi lm currently in production under the
auspices of Columbia Pictures. Fright Night
has the distinction of being the first majorstudio theatrical release to treat vampires in a
manner that is contemPorary (unlike Universal's remake of Dracula),_yet non-satirical (in
contrast to Love at First Bite) in its depiction of
traditional, shape-shifting, cross-learing, fanged undead (as o~ to the jaded nonbeasts of The Hunger). <"
Back in Fango #30, Tom Holland-screeowriter of Psycho 2, The Beast Within and Class
of 1984-said of.his craft, " ... unless you
have a director who knows what you're talking about, you're dead."Since Holland is ooth
writer and director of Fright Night, it may be
safe to assume that, this time, the writer and
the director each know exaa ly what the odier
is trying to say.
When I first spoke with Holland, it was at
l aird Studios, where most of the film 's interiors were to be shot. With the start of principal photography a few weeks away, Fright
Night's second-story production offices were
humming with activity. Across the hall, darkly
bearded director of phoiograp~y Jan Kiesser .
conferred with production designer John
DeCuir, Jr. on thedesign of a set planned loaecomoclate a major effects sequence (the senior
DeCuir was desi'gner for Choslbusters, and
serves as a production consultant on Fright
Night). Hanging out in Holland 's reception
area is amiable young actor William ("Call me
BiII '1 Ragsdale, who will play Charley
Brewster, the high school kid who knows too
much. Pam Madeiros, assistant to Holland, is
attempting to find the young star immed iate
and affordable housing.
Aft.....kla. ht. ...y
lato t h. b.h..d-t -ca.....
_d of th. _ ovl. bula ... wit
crtp.. for
.ad raVC. o 2,
for.....ctorTo. HolY.d .......
eI c. to direct oa F,.,..t N, t.

B._t W,th,,,

Holland passes through with Fright Night


casting director Jackie Burch. All the Fright
Night roles have been cast. with the exception
of Jerry Dandridge, Charley's vampire
neighbor. With the start dale looming before
them, they are understandably preoccupied
with their search. (One week later, they sign
Chris Sarandon, Best Supporting Oscar
nominee for Dog Day Afternoon and most
recently seen opposite Goldie Hawn in Protocol, to everyone's joy and relief.>
In regard to this casting problem, Holland
remarks that many adors "are afraid of playing vampires-they think either the movie
won't work and they'l l get laughed at, or the
movie does work and they get typed forever
and become Christopher lee."
Why does Holland like vampires? " I don't
know-why do you like them?" Pressed, he
elaborates: "I guess all of us would liketo be
like that-sleep all day, play all night, live
forever, be incredibly attradive to women.
They're a terrific archetype. I'm in love with
them more than I'm scared of them. I love
Jerry."
Holland is in his late 30s, with a deep voice,
craggy good looks and dark hair that's beginningtogosilver.lnterviewinghim can bea little tricky, not because he's evasive-indeed,
he couldn't be more candid-but because he

keeps soliciting his interviewer'sopinion. For


instance, he wants to know if I think Fright
Night has "crossover" potential-that is, will
it appeal to a broader audience than hardcore
horrorfans? I tell him I think it's all a question
of how the fi lm is made. This launches us into a discussion of the various approaches to
horrific themes--everything from critical
writeoffs like Friday the' 3th (what Holland
calls "the fuck-and-die movie") to pi llars of
Hollywood respectabi lity like The Exorcist
with its truckload of Oscar nominations, including one for Best Pidure.
"Well, I don't think we're going to get an'
Academy Award nomination for Best Picture," Holland says, "but if this is perceived
as a good time, 'an E-ride at Disneyland' as
[Columbia executive] John Byers would say,
then I think we have a chance at having it
taken seriously. If it's perceived as exploitation, no, but Fright Night's not an exploitation
film to me. J really love this genre. It infuriates
me when people look down on it."
Holland's initial interest in writing came
early. " I used to sit down and try to write
Westerns. J waseight or nine, real young. But
my parents are not terribly literary peoplethey were not very encouraging."
Consequently, Holland put down his pencil and paper and took up acting instead . " I

think I got into acting partially because it was


a way to get girls. It's not the most solid of
motivations, I guess, but it was heartfelt."
By the time he finished high school,
Holland had found other ways to meet girls,
but stuck with acting because " I made a living
at it. I think I might have gotten completely
discouraged if I hadn't done as well as I did as
immediately as I did. I went to college for a
year, came out to l os Angeles during the summerwitha girl who'd been a child actress. She
had an agent, the agent took me on and sent
me around to twoor three places, and the next
thing I knew J was under contract at Warner
Bros. When that happens to you, it carries you
along with it. "
It carried Hol land through a 1010ffilm and
television work during the '60s and early 70s,
in movies like Jacques Demy's The Model
Shop and soap operas like Love of Life. He
took timeout to graduate from U.Cl.A. and
get a law degree that he never used, continuing to act as he found the scope of his ambitions changing. "I loved production. I loved
being on a set. You know the old line, 'The
first minute on the set's the most exciting
minute in the world, the second minuteon the
set is the most bori ng'? I never felt that way. I
always loved it. What happened was, as an actor, I was saying in my head as thedirectorwas

FANGORIA #45 21

blocking out scenes, 'No, that's not right, it


should be blocked this way.' That happened
very early on, but it took me a long time to
recognize that all my instincts were to direct
and not to act. When I was acting, I got more
and more frustrated because I really wanted
to direct; it became more and more obvious
that I wanted control. Not only was I thinking
about what I was going to be doing as an actor, I was thinking about what the other actors
should bedoing.. wherethecamera should be,
what lenses should be on the camera, how it
should cut together. Ialways had the ability to
see things in shots and cuts-I could picture
the sequences in my head. "
He began aiming for a directorial career via
the route of screenwriting. "I started back in
'72 or '73. The hot thing around town then
was original screenplays. Guys like John
Milius wrote Judge Roy Bean, these scripts
were going for $250,000 and then on the next
script, these guys were gening the chance to
direct. I was naive enouRh to think that I'd sit
22 FANGORIA #45

caused him to transform into a bloodthirsty


swamp beast. Beast was notable mainly for
Tom Burman's special effects; Holland saves
us the trouble of being tactful about the film
as a whole. " It's trash," he smi les, without a '
trace of defensiveness. "Things like The Beast
Within were the kind of entry-level jobs J got
as a screenwriter. I was thrown out of dailies,
excluded from the set, excluded from location
and gotten .rid of as soon as possible. J got
thrown out of dailies because I told the producerthat they were in trouble. You could see
it in dailies, but he didn't believe me. [finally
got invited to a screening of the completed
film after umpteen cuts. I saw it, got up and
walked out past the producer without saying
a word, I walked past the director without saying a word and J haven't seen or talked to
either one of them to this day.
His next writer-far-hire credit, The Class of
19B4, was a happier experience. Directed by
Mark (Firestarter) lester, Class followed an urban high-school -teacher (played by Perry
King) through a baptism of fire and blood with
the sadistic students under his charge as he
goes from innocence ("c'mon, the kids-can't
be that bad'1 to gory vengeance after the
young punks rape his pregnant wife and cause
the nelVous breakdown and death of one of
his colleagues(Roddy McDowall, who had a
wonderful scene in which his character conducts class at gunpoint, threatening to shoot
pupilswhogivethewrooganswers). The hero
vented his wrath bydoing things like cutting
off one of his tormentor's arms with a tabletop
buzzsaw. Holland thinks this "was going over
the top. Mark lester is terrific, I really li~e him.
Except I think hedidn't need the buzzsaw, but
hedidn't trust the story enough. Icould never
answer the question of how to justify vigi lante
violence, I don't think I was ever comfortable
with it. The script had visual setpieces, but it
never had a really coherent storyline that dealt
with the vigilante theme. The theme got
submerged and became exploitation. And
that was my fault, because I could never deal
with it."
But we needn't fear that Holland, left to his
own directorial devices, plans to shy away
down and write one script, sell it for a quarter from violence in Fright Night-the script calls
of a million and direct the next one."
for throat-rtppings, blood-splatterings,
That wasn't quite how it worked out. numerous unpleasant transformations, a
"Screenwriting was the hardest thing I'd ever tribute to Evil Dead's infamous pencil scene
done. I became obsessed with learning the and, of course, lots of staking and biting. For
craft of it, it became a challenge in and of itself. Holland, the use of screen violence is dictated
It became so difficult, a mountain that I by context: " I love violence. But there's
wanted toclimb so badly, that Istopped wor- violence that is not reality for me, which is
rying about directing and I wound up learning what I think I do, and what I consider a lot of
how to write. In other words, I think I became horror movies do, as opposed to realitya serious writer afterthe fact. Istarted out want- psychological violence like Looking lor Mr.
ingtodirect, but when I found out how hard Goodbar, which can be really horrifying and
writing was-and that I couldn't do it-I took disturbing. When you're dealing with that,
it real seriously."
then I think restraint is catted for. But thiS kind
In Holland's view, he finally hit his stride as of stuff, horror movie violence, is meant as a
a screenwriter with hi s fifth effort, an as-yet- good time, I think." He grins. "I think."
unproduced film noir script entitled Border
Holland's next job after Class was the
Crossing, which was admired enough to start screenplay for Psycho 2, a film in which
getting him paying writing assignments.
violence plus clever plot twists gave its auThe first film Holland wrote for hire to see diences a good time that translated into box of
the light of a projector was an independently- flce success. Being one of the creative forces
made monster movie, The Beast Within, a tale behind a financially successful movie helps
of a hapless teenager afflicted with a curse that propel a lot of people toward their career

HOl1'Or Ho P.'.r Vlac (Roddy McDow. D) pan. .... old P.'.r C ....... ro.tta. o _ " p ....."0 (oppoeke
p e) goe. OD .o."ow .. Ican proadly.

goals. Holland did one more for-hire project.


Cloak and Dagger (which reteamed him with
Psycho /I director Richard Franklin), sold an
original screenplay, Scream for Help (a thriller
filmed by director Michael Winner, as yet
unreleased) and finally " knew that my position in the community was strong enough that
if Icould come upwith a commercial concept
and execute it well, ! could direct. I knew by
then !'dgained sufficient credibility. Sol had
to design a script that X number of studios
would want-which was the original dream
10 years ago." Thus was Fright Night born.
Holland took his new work to producer
Hero Jaffe, who agreed bo<h that!hew;ptwas
extremely commercial and that Holland was
ready to direct. Robert lawrence, who is Columbia's senior vice-president in charge of
worldwide production, and John Byers, Columbia'svicepresidentofcreativeaffairs(who
is
probably the only Hollywood executive
ever to screen Basket Case for his entire office
staffi, shepherded the project through the
studio in late August. It got a green light,
started filming Dec. 3 and is expected to open
in theatres nationwide this August.
"Columbia, the studio itself, has been terrific in terms of production. They've given me
wondelful People." What does he want and
expect from his cast and crew? " I'm more
comfortable
with knows.
people You
whoget
likea sense
me and
whom I like, God
of
that pretty quickly. And I like people who can
bring something to it, who can give me more
than I need, so I don't have to work quite as
hard. I've gotten creative contributions from
any number of people, who have taken my
original shot designs and made them much
better. I'm thankful for all of that input.
They've figured out ways to do things that I
would never have come up with."

As an example, he cites a sequence in


which vampiricjerry Dandridge spies through
the windowsofhis own house on Charley and
Peter, who are inside seeking their adversary.
"Those windows had to be designed in such
a way that you see the heroes from outside at
various points as they traverse through the
house." As Holland continues, he uses the
scale model of the house sitting on his desk as
a visual aide, also referring to an enormous
notebook filled with his shot lists.
"We're going to have stairs inside the
house. We start the camera in front of the
house and watch them go up the stairs from
outside, drift around to the side of the house,
pick them up through another window farther
up the stairs, then get a diagonaling crane up
the house through the second floor, looking

through another window as they come up to


the landing. When you're doing that with
three different floors, it gets very, very complicated. The sets had to be designed to make
that work."
Holland also waxes enthusiastic for the
scene in which "Charley comes into his
bedroom and the phone rings. He picks it up
and his back is to the window. He listens, and
the vampire says, 'He llo. Are you there,
Charley?' Charley doesn't say anything, figuring if he keeps his mouth shut, Dandridge
won't know for sure. And Dandridge says, 'I
know you're there, Charley. I can see you.'
Then Charley turns around and looks out the
window, and there across theyard standing in
the window of the Dandridge house is Jerry.
Now the usual way to do that shot is you'd do

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FANGORIA #45 23

a subjective shot and you'd zoom in on Jerry make it work for me without moving the
standing in the window." Holland makes a whole wall of the house," says Holland, givwhooshing "zoom" noise, accompanied by ingcreditwhere it's due. "There area number
a vampiric snarl. "Well, I wanted to do a shot of shots like that in this, that Idesigned without
where from Charley's subjective point of view figuring how they'd ~ made to work. The
in his terror, it feels to himasthoughJeny'sen- people around me have been able to come up
tire house is moving closer to him, swooping with ways to make them work; I'm eternally
towards him. In other words, as though Jerry grateful, and they're thrilled with me for givwasn't 30 feetaway in his house, but three feet ing them the challenge."
away in his house and was gonna lean right
Cinematographer Kiesser corroborates this:
out the wind()Vol and [Holland mimes a gesture " The opticals and specia l effects are
of fatal brutality1 do that to Charley. Five challenges-I've never flown bats before.
million times I've seen the camera moving; Mostly we're combining different stuff that's
let's seethe house move. There's a weirdness been done before in new ways. Fright Nighi
to it. There are two ways to accomplish what is more high style than the average film in this
I'm talking about. One is to build the Dan- genre. The script is attradive and so is the
dridge house on rollers, and literally movethe visual concept. It's wonderful to have
entire side of the Dandridge house across the something with this kind of visual concept. "
soundstage over to Charley'S window." Un"One of the joys of doing a horror movie is
fortunately, that would be extremely cumber- that you can bevisual ly stylish," Holland afsone and expensive. The alternative? 'We're finns. The style of Fright Night, he says, was
doing blue-screen, we're shooting a plate of not imposed on the finished script, but was
the Dandridge house and moving that. You'll rather an integral consideration from the
see that image move toward you, which wi ll story's inception. "Idon't think you can write
seem like the house is moving. " Theshotwill a story unless you're visualizing it as you go
be accompanied by shooting Charley'S win- along, can you? You see something in your
dow looking out on a blue-5creen, lit by head, you hear people talk in your head, you
flourescent lights. A separate shot will be .see people coming out of light, you see the
made of Dandridge looking out his window. darkness. I see all of that when [write. Oneof
The room shot of the Dandridge house wi ll the reasons I think that I've done as well as I
then be matted in to the shot of the stationary have as a~writer is that I do visual setpieces,
window in Charley'S house.
where the story moves forward with minimal
"Jan Kiesser and John DeCuir are going to amounts of dialogue."
24 FANGORIA #4.5

He does think it's possible to get carried


away with the visual aspects of filmmaking: ''If
the shots become such show-off shots that
they pull you out of the story, then it's to the
detriment of the film, and I'll cut'em out." He
believes the "show-off" shots usually occur
"when filmmakers are ashamed of the genre,
when they' re embarrassed by the genre.
That's when fonn overwhelms content. In the
script, there should be no scene that doesn't
move the story forward. In the movie, there
ideally should be no shot. that doesn't move
the story forward. If you're so in love with a
shot that doesn't do anything to move your
story forwa rd, then something's wrong. And
if you do too many of them, you're really in
trouble. Story always takes precedence."
Right now, pre-prOOUdion takes prece-.
dence-I have to clear out so that Holland can
meet with his cinematographer and production designer. As I leave, Kiesser is holding up
the scale model ofJeny's house, tuming it so
that Holland and Co. can enjoy a vampire'seye view of the interior as they visualize the
tiny, terrified people within.
In parting, Holland tells me I'm welcome on
the set whenever I'd like to come. Events to
subsequently unfold would surpass my
wildest dreams of journalistic access-sevenhour makeup sessions, Jive wolves, blood
splattering an entire mob of extras ... but
these are stories for another day (and another
issue of Fango).
0

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ By David Hutchison - - - -_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __

Edito r 's nole: Heretofore, Richard


Ed lund has been a film craftsman whose
body of experience in SF film has made
him a more suitable interview subject for

o ur illu st riou s sis t e r m agazine,


STA RlOG. Wit h Poltergeist and Ghost
busters, hO\.vever, Edlund has begu n to
wie ld con siderable in fl uence in the
realm of state-ofthe-art horror effects as

well. Early th is year, STAR lOG's David


Hut chi son visited Edlund 's Boss Film
Compa n y, chatting up seve ral of

Edl und 's key employees, as well as the


Boss boss himself.
ANCORI A: Did Columbia seek

you out for Fright Night, or did


you go to them?

Pyrotechnician Thaine Morris readies the gas jets for a


vampire meltdown.
20 FANGOR IA #48

Richard Edlund: They came to us.


It has to be that way, sincewe don't know
what's cooking in the back room of the
studios, you know? We happen to have a
very good relationship with Col umbia ,
because we did Ghostbusters for them.
And naturally they want to keep that going, as we do.
Fang: Fright Night isn't the sort of $20
million fantasy spectacular you're
known for ...
Edlund: I want us to be able to service
shows that don't necessarily have blockbuster-level effects. I want to be able to
do sma ller sha.vs; that helps us in terms

of keeping our talen ted staff em ployed.


A flow of smaller pictures helps us to
keep acomfortably large staff, which has
benefits for both small and large pictu res.
Fang: I notice that your st ud io makes a
real effort to give individual recogni tion
to it s effects art ists for their work, in con
trast to th e way things 'Nere done in the
old studi o system.
Edlund: W hat I' m tryi ng to d o is break
away from the attitude of keeping every
staff member invisible, hiding behind a
billboard that has a company name on it.
I get a lo t of press because I'm the guy
that signs the cont racts and makes the
deals and hires the people and all that;
bu t I couldn't do it without these particular people. I don't believe that people
are directly replaceable; wh en you get a
team together that is as fin ely tuned as
th is one is, when you lose one member it
can be like losing a vital organ. Than e
Morris, for instance,. is a master pyrotechnician, bu t he also kn()NS all about

machine processo rs, and he is excellent


at controlling the logi stics of a projecthe has an enormous hand of cards to
play with. Garry Wa ll er knows robot s,
knows chemistry, knows lasers; and besides thai , he is basica lly an artist, with
an artist's eye. To replace Waller. .. you
could find a la se r person, or a chemist,
but whoever yo u found would have a different ran ge of talen ts, and would fit it in
a differen t way, so every person affect s
everybod y else ... ce rtainly n ot lea st
among these are my talented associates
Mark Vargo, the optical su pervisor, Joh n
Bruno, the art director, ou r matte department supervisor Nei l Krepela, our matte
artist Man Yuricich and Terry Wendell,
the animation supervisor. The theory is
that this is a team like Blackhawks.
Steve Joh nson and Randy Cook are
also like that; they' re work ing out very
well in the rubber d epartm ent here.
Randy Cook is a great stop motion animator, and there's probably three or four
guys in the vvorld w ho are any good at it,

but he's also a great scul ptor; Steve Johnso n -a n o th er o utra geously talented
guy- is a very advanced sculptor, and he
has also has an organizational ability,
w hich you have to have in order to run a
department like that. I deal with depa rtment head s pretty mu ch, and get around
to talk to the guys occasionally- but I
have so many things on my agendafang: I saw the stack of phone messages wa iti ng for you ..
Ed lund: Right-t hi s is the deal-making
pa nth eon. Plus trying to gel the word out
so everybody knows where we are. Right
n{JI.v I' m alm ost to the point of saying that
I don 'I want an)Qn e else to know w here
we are, beca use we've got enough work.
But then, you want 10 keep the doors
o pen for fut u re project s and so on. You
knOVv', we've got script s, probably two
feet h igh, that 'Nere added in th e last six
to eig ht months; we're doin g the contract s. Plu s \NC have a couple of pet projects, and it's possible that , as a group,
we will produce a pi cture before long.

Roddy McDowe ll confronts Fright Night 's v ampire in its lupine f o rm!

FANGOR IA "'48 21

The chilling afte rmath of vampire meltdown!!!


Fang: I would have thought Poltergeist
had exhausted your bag of tricks, but
then you topped yourself with Chostbusters, and again w ith 2010. Now you
face topping yourself again with Poltergeist 2 ..
Edlund : Well, we did use everything tha t
we had in our bag of tricks at the tim e of
Poltergeist, as limited by budget and
time constraints. The attempt to top
yourself is inevitable in this business. For
some reason, in visual effects, it's a thing
where, when you start climbing the ladder, you don't know how far up it w ill
take you; there are always a few rungs
left, and sometimes you seem to see the
rungs going into the clouds.
I think that any id ea that can be
thought about or sketched can be converted intoa very interesti ng, visual mov22 FANGORIA " 48

ing image. That's what is driving all of us


along in th e group, because we love what
we're doing,and I don't see any end to it.
It's like saying to a writer, "You've written
so many books, and the library is already
full of really great, interesting book s:'
But we keep getting bett er at what we do,
and at the sa me time the audience gets
more sophi sticated visually, and it takes
more sleight-of-hand in order to trick
them into believing what you \'\Iant them
to beli eve. The respon sibility is therefo re
on u s to keep coming up with new im
ages.
Dan Ayckroyd, for instance, u sed Poltergeist as a sort of palel1e when he was
writing Chostbus ters; he saw Poltergeist
and said, " Hey, that's fantastic-I didn't
know they could do that kind of st uff! "
and he wrote Chostbusters wit h those

capabilities in mind. I think t hat Poltergeist \'\IaS the most interesting single projectl worked on at IlM, in that it had so
many various things involved in it. And I
was actually involved in concept ual izing
a lot of the st uff with Steven Spielberg,
because when we were shooting the
background material , when the movie
itself was being shot, we didn't know yet
what we \\/ere going to do. Once the
movie was rough-cut, then \'.e started figuring ho...... to balance the intensity of the
pict ure's various effects, and they were,
in every sequence, th e punch-line. The
effects reel for Poltergeist is a very intense reel, because it's all ofthe climaxes
and sub-cl imilxe s of th e movie; the
scares and so on. We got a lot of ideas
along the way that we didn't get to useso we'll use 'em thi s time.
~

,The v$jEaPIV Next ' Do~r


Chris Sarandon on his variation on an undead theme in
Fright Night.
By Ed Gross

PHOTOS: () 1965 OOLUMBIA PICTURES

n the past, cinematic vampires have

been portrayed as pal e-s kinned


ghouls wandering around cemete r-

ies, draped. in cu mbersome black


capes, and threatening to s uck the blood
out of any victims who happen' by.
Then in the late 1970's Frank l angella romantici zed Brarn Stoker's Dracula in the
play and film of the same name, proving

that vampires could be, above all else,


charm ing.
10 FANGORIA 1149

NCI'N, Chris Sarandon has contemporized this incarnation of evil to great effect in Tom Holland's Fright Night, a film
which has more in common with the
Universal horror classics of the 30's and
40's than the current crop of slice-anddice production s which have proliferated in the genre.
In thi s upd at ing of " The Boy Who
Cried Wolf;' Sarandon plays Jerry Dandridge, a vampire :-vpo will go to any

means to make sure that his sec ret remains safe, including killing Charley
Brewster, his teenaged next door neighbor, w ho has learned the truth.
"The thing that appeals to me about
Jerry;' expla ins Sarandon, "is that he's to- .
tally contemporary. That was something
we all strived for, and something I found
very interestin g about the character becau se he wasn't the Count of legend or
Bram Stoker, but a guy who everybody

knev.' and couldn 't believe.....-as being accused of being a vampire. He isn 't the
personification of pure evil that vampires are knONn to be."
What impressed the actor most about
the character, was his multi-dimensional
facets.
" Ju st think about thi s guy's problem s,"
he says sincerely. " On the o ne hand
you 've got somebod y who's got something which everybody would probably
love to have, which is eternal life. Also,
he's tremendously powerful, phys ically,
and attractive sex ually. What he does,
people are, for some reason, attracted to.
But at the same time, hONwould you like
to know that if people found out about
you, nobody would really want to hang
around you? ,That is, to spend etern itybut to spend eternity shunned by any
normal kind of society; not being able to
form any kind of normal human relationship. To be, in a way, damned to eternity.'
(There's a sen se o f thi s guy's Iragedy as
well as hi s attractiveness."
This obvious enthu siasm is surpri sing,
especially when one considers thai the
aClor nearly turned the role down .
" I was sent the sc ript by my agent and
immediately sort of got sucked in by the
plot because ii 'S wonderfully co nstructed and plotted:' explains Sarandon. " After I read it , I said 'Gee, this is
going to make a great movie. It's a shame
Ihat I'm not really interested in playing
this part: The reasons for that are that
over the past couple of years I've played a
few villain s and didn' t want to get locked
into playing anolher one. I thought the
character was an interesting one, though
I didn 't think it was quite fleshed oul.
Des pite my rese rvations, I had some
conversat ions with Tom, we came up
with some ideas, and I ended up doing
W'
" I made a promi se to Chris;' adds Hoiland, " that I would make Jerry sensual
and into a leading man; to show that side
of him. Hedidn't wan t todoanotherwild
and crazy character role:'
Sarandon felt that what was missing
\\la S the character's haunted quality, part
of which would come across in th e playing, and that there were a fev.' things
needed in the scri pt wh ich wou ld express thi s.
"The charaCler's not so much the personification of pu re evil, as he is a person
who became a vamp ire by circumstance s," h e says. " We did all that
groundwork for ou rselves in terms of
who this guy was and what happened;
how it happened. Tom.....-as very encouraging about thai . To come up with that
kind of life for the character so that he
ultimately ends up more interesting for
the audience:'
Coming up with identifiable characters has been an objective of theactor's
sj nce graduat ing from the University of
West Vi rginia, and , besid es numerous
stage roles, he's tried to achieve this goal

via his various screen personas, from AI


Pacino's gay lover in Dog Day Afternoon
(which won him an Oscar nom ination)
and the rapi st of Lipstick, to a tool of the
devil in The Sen tinel and, finall y, a leading role with Goldie Hawn in Protocol.
Bearing thi s in mind , one \r\IOnders if
he had any aversions"to the idea of play-

ing a vampire, certainly one of the most


bizarre roles he's been offered.
" It wasn 't so much that ;' he counters,
" but that the guy was such a bad guy. In a
way he was, but in away he wasn't. I th ink
that I carried in some of my prejudices
w hen I fir st read the sc ript. Rather than
read ing it in a very objective way, I read it

FANGORIA N49 11

in a much more 'what's it going to do fo~


me?' way. Having played a couple of villains in the past, I was a little worried
about it.
"I don't want to get locked into playing
anything;' he elaborates. "I don't want to
be known as a heavy, or as anything in
particular but just a good actor who can
handle anything that comes along. Wishful thinking, but that's the image I would
hope to have in the industry. That's
something)Ou cultivate over time by the
choice of roles you take. Also, t thin k I
underestimated the fact that in the
movie I did ju st before Fright Nigh/, Protocol, I was playing Mr. Total Straight Arrow. As nice a guy and as totally uncontroversial a character as you'll find
-anywhere. Consideri ng that that 's the
Sarandon in one of his in-between
lDoods_

one I d id j u st before this, I think I


needn't have worried so much . I came to
realize that after a while:'
One th ing which came close to being a
problem was the marathon makeup sessions which enabled Sarandon to go
from being the suave and good looking
Dandrid ge, to the sna rling bat -l ike
"spawn of Satan " during choice moments.
"We had certain stages of change;' he
says, "which had a lot todowith ju st how
pi ssed off Jerry is at any particular momenl...how provoked he is.
"I was stuck in makeup so goddam ned
much of the tim e;' he sighs . "I had two
weeks of eight-hour makeup ca ll s, everyday. I'd go in at four in the morning and
the m akeup people would have to be in
at threesomething . They'd start on me at
four and I'd go to work at noon or one.
Quite a remarkable experience. You ei
ther learn how to hypnotize yourself and
meditate, or }QU become stark-ravi ng
mad.
"I tried to do the fonner," the actor
laughs.
A big question on everybody's mi nd
throughout production was whether or
not Fright Night could find a niche for
itself in thi s age of the slasher or splatter
film.
"That's a good question;' he says. "The
feeling I had, and r have reasonabl ygood
instincts as an audience, is that it would

work. When I first read the script, I


cou ldn't put it down. I don't mean that as
a cliche, I mean that for real. When I read
that sc ript , I remember sitting in the very,
chair I'm sitti ng in as we speak, my wife
Sitting in bed knitting and I said, 'Sorry,
honey, I knCMI it's time to go in and start
dinner, but I can' t yet. I have to finish
th is.' I put it down like an hour and 10
minutes later and I figured "that it was
going to be a terrific movie. I'm hoping
that my original instincts were correc!."
The horror genre is one that has intrigued him o-,er th e years, though he
isn't really a fan of splatter films. Friends
of his really love those reall y shocking
horror movies, but he is much more of
an afficiand o of the older ones, such as
the original Dracula and Ft;ankenstein.
"And of practicioners like Hitchcock;"
he adds, "who rea lly understood an audience. People who are much more interested in c reating work which leaves a
lasting impression. I'm mu ch mo}e interested in the resonance or haunting qualit y of the rea lly good ones, and it'll be
in teresting to see if we've got one of
th ose.
" Th ere are a cou ple of things towards
the end of the film where there's your
req ui site sort of special effects, bodies
fl ying around and fallin g apart, and
things like that;' he cont inues . "But that
specifically comes about due to what's
goi ng on in the script .
"When I first read the script, there was,
interestingly, very little real physical violence in it. What's so startling about it is
you are in consta nt anticipation of a violent act, and that comes from good
scriptwriting. The film also ha s a lot of
humor, but it's intentional. It is a humor
of irony in situation. Any humor comes
out of the fact that the audience has invested a certain amount of emotional
baggage w i t h the characters, and if
somet h ing funny happens .they're going
to laugh at that. We're having fun with it,
but we're not making fun of it.
"Also, I think you'll find in th is movie
that in th e first 40 minutes or so there's
only one violent act, and that's SQmebody sticki ng a pencil th rough somebody's hand. The rest of that time is
spent leading up to something happening. You knOlN somet h ing's got to h"ppen, but nothing does. To me, that's
much m ore effective, a kind of Hitchcockian app roach to that sort o f material. What's mu ch more important is how ,
you lead up to tre act rather than the act
it self. It's not what you see, but what
you've dreaded seeing:' he explains .
Cou ld he see himself returning as
Jerry Dandridge?
" I might, but who knOlNs?/i concludes
Sarandon. " l et's see what happen s with
th is one fi rst. It's an int eresting character
for me. I could perceive bringing him
back, but it \-\Qu Id depend on the circumstances. It's a little prematu re to talk
about that now."

}l Vumptre's13rew of

TERROR
Randy and Steve Johnson on their Fright Night FX. From
demon bats and werewolves to melt-downs
and slobber tubes.
By David Hutchison

EDITOR'S NOTE : By now most of you


have had the chance to see Tom HoI-

land's Fright Night, which means that we


can feel safe in run n ing a creat u re-e ffec ts story without spoi ling the pict ure's
well-timed jolts.
As pa ri of Richard Edlu nd's crack Entertainmen t Effects Group, Randy Cook
and Steve Jo hnson have been credited
with the design an d creation of Fright
Night's ma ny creatures, a job that also
includes all the various transformations

and mel t-downs that these creatures are


subjected to. (Stories o n Cook and Johnson's cont ribution s to Ghoslbusters ca n
be found in Fangos #39 and #41 respec-

tively.)
As is the case wit h any large effects
assignment, t he monster creations for
Frighl Nighl req uired t he coordinated effort of a sizeable crew. Cook and Joh nson w ish to give due credit to their Creature FX Shop crew: Rob Cant rell, Dale
Brad y, Craig Cato n, Makio Ki da, D avid
Matherly, Richard Ru iz, Ste-..e Nei ll , Ken
Diaz and Jack Bricker. They also have
much p raise for Mar k Wilson, t h eir
shop's first technician; Bo b Cole and Bill
Sturgeo n, who vvorked on effects mechanisms; and Thaine M orris, t he f ilm's

St~phen Geoffreys (Evil Ed) is prepped by Johnson for hb impaling scene. Right: The effect on screen.
mechanical effects supervisor.
The following interview was conducted w hile Fright Night was st ill in production.
FANGORIA: One of the major effect s sequences in Fright Night is the tra nsformation of the ~rewo lf back to its original form, Evil Ed. How do you think this
transformation compares to, say, The
Howling?
Steve Johnson: It's real different because
it's asymmet rical. Everyt h ing since American Werewolf in London has just been
chango-pieces; they've been stretc hing
mechanical pieces on-set. So, I figured

Randy Cook worked on designing


bat features Into the "ticked-off"
makeup for Chris Saran don .

20 FANGORIA *49

we'd make it asymmetrica l; h e'd be


changi ng unevenly. He's more human on
one side/ but he's got a long sk in ny dog
neck. He's got a hunchback on one side,
and, at times, he's got one wolf-leg. And
he's got this long, spindly arm that's
worked with a rod, while h is real arm is
tied behind him.
Another thing-since ii's asymmetrical in its look, and if you're showing inse rt s of cha n gi ng extremities, w h y
should you use the same technique for
eac h change? So, if we see a foot changing and then we see a hand changing, we
use different techniques. Besides changing at different rates o n different parts of
the body at different times, ii's happening in di fferent ways too.
Randy Cook: The way this effect, and
ot her effects, are integrat ed in this film is
also different. The picture-makers who
made the origi nal st retcho-piece effects
were really in love w ith what these things
could do. As a consequence, one saw a
series of fairly cli nical shots of limbs
growing, faces stretching, and balloons
bulging under b rows. Thi s Fright Night
transformat ion so rt of takes that all for
granted, and doesn't stop the show
while this st uff is going on. This scene is
not meant to say, "Okay, we' re goi ng to
dispense with the plot for the next four
minutes while}Ou watch this really marvelous special effect :' The special effects
are going on w h ile the story is goi ng on,
and they're integrated pretty well into
the pi cture.
Johnson: Another different Ihing, too, is
that the director is really good to work
with. Tom Holland listens to us, he respects u s, and he's sma rt enough to
knqw that he hired experts to do a cer-

tain job. He's not so insecure that he'd


feel like we were stepping on his toes
when .....-e suggest someth ing. So, a 101 of
our ideas have really galien through.
Also the fact that Holland is an "actorish" director-he used to be an actormakes a lot of aUf stuff come off a lot
better. He was rea lly concerned from the
beginning that our c reatures "act". He
was on the set when we shot the secondunit effects stuff and he actually directed
it. And you need a director for a puppet.
People seem to think yo u don't, but you

do.
Cook: He realizes that these puppets are
characters.
Fang: Could you describe heM' the werewolf transformation was shot?
Johnson: We shot the stuff here in the
shop for the changi ng of the wolf. We
altered th e set so the actor can put his
legs through it, out of sig ht , and we
cou ld just deal with the effects legs that
look totally in human.
We made a control board and we attached about 15 bladders to it; bladders
not only in the head, but in the shoulders too. And the werev.Q1f had little
slobber tubes; we ran slime out .
Cook: We were spitting in a jar for days
and days to get those slobber tubes
ready and running! II demanded a lot of
intensity.
Fang: A usually laughable effect in just
about every vampire movie is that motheaten bat that they fty in on a fi shing
pole.
Cook: We tried to do something with the
bat that's a little more fantastically-oriented than just your standard flapping
mouse-you know, as you say, the Universal bat-on the-line. We decided to do

something a bit more horrifying and


non-bat-like, that ma intai ned t he impression of a bat but was different, and
also retained about the same amount of
mass as the guy {Chris 5arandon) had .
In stead of shrinking d(MIn to Chihuahua-size to take off, he's sti ll shi fting hi s
shape, while still retaining most of hi s
ma ss, so we've got somethi ng with about
an eight-foot wingspread. And a very,
very unpleasant disposition.
We've also donea makeupon the actor
when he sort of loses hi s composure and
begins to decompose; he looks sort of
like the bat-sculpture. It's a Nosferatutype approach on Chris 5arandon which
retains certain eleme nts of the bat's
look.
I originally wanted to do a car icat ure of
the actor in the bat, but the bat was the
first thing tha t was scu lpted here, even
before th e leading man wa s chosen. So,
unfortunately, we had to v.ork sort of
back-asswa rd s on that. It was not th e
ideal sit uation, but I think we did all right
with it. I've been making rubber appliances to put some of my puppet's features onto 5arandon. An}'\\lay, it's a little
different.
Johnson: Tell him how the bat rig .....-arks.
Cook: It's a marionette on a track. The
biggesl problem was one of speed. The
down-flap of th e creat ure's wing is too
fast. Plus, when it's free-falling it loses
co ntrol when you catch it and attempt to
pull it back up again. So, w hat we did was
go through the bal 'S motions very slO'Nly,
and then speeded it up. You can't gellhe
necessary speed in real time wit hout

the v.mpirehenchm.n BUly


Cole (don.th.n
St.rk) ..... the
one sequence In
the fU ... In ... hlch
dohn.on and
Cook ... ent an

Two stages of the spectacular


destruction of the vampire.

shaking it and making it go crazy.


Fang: A favorite effect from Hammer's
vampire films was the use of contact
lenses to givt! Ch ri s lee red eyes. What
sort of len ses did you use in Fright Night?
Johnson : The lenses were mad e by Doctor Greenspan. Th ere's around seven
pairs of them in the film. I've painted
them all myself. Th e fir st idea was that
the vampire's eyes should glow. It turned
out they didn't have the moneytodothis
~ffect optically with rOloscoping. So I d esigned these len ses so they'd kick back
as much light as possible. I painted them
with day-g lo colors, enamel paint s and

actually laminated iridescent powders


and glitter ont o them so they really do
kick back a lot of light.
Fang: To most aclors, wearing a contact
lens is like wearing a potato chip under
your eyelid.
Johnson: It is, but all these lenses are laminated in sid e, so it's really smooth. And
they' re buffed on the outside; we sent
th em back to the doctor to buff them.
Fang: The most gruesome effect in the
movie would seem to be the disi ntegration of the vampire's henchman.
Johnson: Yeah, it has a real putrefyin g
look. We swabbed it with chemicals and

did internal things wilh cables, pulling


parts of the face away and d",..,n in different places.
The head has a real sku ll in there. The
parts of the head are operated by hand ,
the moulh movement and tongue movement and so on . And besides just having
the skin slide off of it, we made it as
though it's melting from within.
Swelling up with the chemicals, we
found, 'NOrks really nice. It's similar to
Dick Smith's method u se d for that
snake-bit head in Spasms, except we did
other things besides just s~ lIing it; we
pulled it around and screwed around
with il in other ways. We colored the
c hemicals, for instan ce. If you put
enough coloring in, it looks reall y nice
pumping it from behind, because you
start getting lillie blotchy areas breaking
ou t allover the face before it starts to
swell. It 's real nice.
That is the one scene in Ihe film where
H olland wanted the audience to be
grossed out. All the way through, he's
been really against the idea of us making
anything disgusting, except for thi s one
melt-dO\..,n sequence, and that's probably because you're supposed to really
hale thi s guy.
Fang: How 'MJuld you characterize the
effects of Fright Night overall?
Johnson: They're amazing, and they' re
something )Qu \'\IOuld not want to look
awayfrom, except maybe, once again, for
th e Billy Bones melt-d(MIn thing. Even
the transformation at the end where the
vampire, Chris Sarandon, is burning is
kind of fantastic becau se it's one face
changing into another.
Cook: Yeah, it is more fantastic than reo
pellent, on the whole. Which is a nice
change.

On the Set:

Lenaea. dentures. finger extender. and. ".ubtle" appliance help


Saran dOD'. portrayal of Oandrldge'a nlildly ticked- off .tage.

ast summer, Columbi a Pictures


gave the go-ahead to Fright Nig ht,
a present-day vampire movie concerning average teenager Charley BreY.'ste rwho discovers that hi s suave
next.cJoor-neighbor Jerry Dandrige is reo
ally one of the Undead. H erb Jaffe is the
producer; Ric hard Ed lu nd 's Boss Film
Company facility is handling the effects,
and screenw riter Tom Holland (Psycho
II) is making his directorial debut with
the project, sched uled to open August 2.
W hen I initially interviewed Ho lland
during Fright Night's preprodu ction (see
Fango #45), Holland generous ly invited
me to come visit the set as frequently as I
w ished. This resulted in th e article
you're about to read.
Wednesday, Dec. 19, 1984
My first trip to the set. It 's the monsoon season in los Angeles, and a fierce
rainstorm ba tter s th e dQ\.-\lnt ow n lot
w here the Fright Night company vehicles are parked. The lot is convenien tly
right behind today's locat ion , a former
hardware store converted fo r use as a
sou ndstage. A seq uence for Body Double was shot here, and the nightclub set
has been left sem i-intact. The ground
floor is filled with tabl es and chairs;
more tables and chai rs dot t he upstairs
balcony that runs along the upper floor.
At least a hundred extras are on hand
today, dressed in studded leather and
Day-Glo NeY.' Wave chic to lend colo rfu l
background as th e va mpire kill s a pair of
disco bouncers who get in the way o f hi s
pursuit of Charley and A my, Charley's
gi rlfriend, played by Wi lliam Ragsdale
and Amanda Bearse.
First assista nt director Jerr y Sobul
megaphones instructions to the mob of
extras: "Everybody take a position on the
32 FANGOR IA" 47

Macdowall and mon.ter bat in a face-to-fang confrontation.

runway, except the blood people' Thi s


refers to the lu cky soul s soon to be
splashed w ith a mixture of Karo syrup
and food coloring.
Chris Sarandon enters the set, in costume as Jerry Oandrige. Ea rlier, Sarandan had ad mitted to me hi s hesitance in
taking th is part; after his Oscar-nominated performance as a nervou s trans
sexual in Dog Day Afternoon was folIQ\.-\Ied by a turn as a vicious rapist in
Lipstick, he found it hard to persuade
the fi lm community he could play c ha racters other than od d-ba ll s and villains.
After shak in g the mold. he wasn't anxious to risk more typecasting, but says he
was won over by Holland 's vision of the
vampire as " a very attractive, sexy guy.

The thing Tom wanted most from this


character was not the evil awfulness of
h im, but the fact that he was tremendously charming. Tom wanted him to
have a senseof hu mor and also a sense of
the price he has to pay for being w ho he
isand w hat he is. Eternal life is not necessa rily a great gift; the re's a kind of
myt h ic. tragic proportion to that :'
Right nQ\.-\l, Sa randon looks like ju st another hand some leadi ng man-until you
not ice th e two-i nch fingernail extensions secured to hi s right hand by latex
false fin gertips. Someone yell s for the
makeup artists to get the " baby fangs"slightly exaggerated canines our vam
pire sports when mildly annoyed. (When
Jerry's really upset, he grCl"NS Doberman

Pinscher-sized chompers.)
In another area of the set, Ri ck Stratton , John Goodwin and Ken Diaz (the
head of the on-set makeup unit) are applying baldcaps to the bouncers' stun t
doubles: strips of Kleenex are affixed to
the edges of the caps then sprayed do...m
with the surgical sealant Aeroplast.
Stratton spends a lot of time in the lab,
where he and frequent partner Steve
Neill sculpted some of the appliances
used in thi s shoot. H()INeVer, he also enjoys work ing on the set: " In th e lab,
you're an unsung hero; on the set, you' re
representing yourself. Also, J like working with actors:'
Special effects worker Darrell Pritchett
walks through the set, fann ing smoke
around ou t of a film can contai ning a
burning compound of non-toxic oi ls.
:rhe smoke's purpose is to give visual definition to the shafts of light streaming
down from the ceiling.
Michaellantieri, the supervisor of onset special effects (as opposed to the
erealures and makeup prepared at Boss
Film s), readies a fire-extingui sher-type
con traption that will spray " movie
blood " onto the extras, just before stu ntman Strong's body is IhrCMIn off the stairway landing and into thecrO\rVd belO'N by
the vampire (actually, Strong propels
himself off the landing, but on film it will
look like the vampire does it). The body
crashes down on a table full of partyers,
knocking a stuntwoman backward into
the breakaway table behind her. At thi s
point, the whole disco c r(MId freaks out
and stampedes. Dangerous though il appears, the st unt comes off without a
hitch.
The next shot calls for Charley and
Amy to pu sh past the ot her bouncer,
played by Ernie H olm es . Before the
bouncer ca n get to the kids, Jerry gets to
him, squeezing the life out of the poor
guy's throat, then toss ing the body off
the landing onto the dance floor.
Within an hour, carpenters erect a platform that extends out from the landing.
To create the illu sion that Holmes is really being lifted up and held high over
the dance floor, the actor stands on a
wheel-mou nted box, man ipulated below camera range by lantieri and Pritchett . When he's supposed 10 be standing on hi s own, Holmes crol,lches on th e
box so that he's eye-Ievel w ith Sarandon.
As Sarandon uses his long-nailed hand
to " Iih" the bouncer, Holmes (whowind s
up doing hi s (MIn stunt) stra ighten s his
knees. The added height of the box put s
his head h igh above Sarandon, so that he
really seems to be held in mid-air. Then
lantieri and Pritchett wheel the box from
t he landing onto the platform onscreen. it will look as though Holmes
is being dangled over the landing's edge.
As Holmes flail s at hi s attacker, Holland
reminds him , "Hi s claws are two in ches
into you r neck! You ' re slCMIly dying!"
Holmesdives sideways off the box onto a

Sarandon. in. more elaborate vampire stage, prepares to do some


major damage.

mass ive airbag, concluding h is "death


scene:'
At 9:10 p.m., they're done forth e night.
Sa randon, "blood" on his hand s, breaks
off his fal se fingert ips and flings them
one by one al the makeup people: " Take
that! And that!"
Friday, Jan. 4,1985
On Soundstage 8 at laird Studios in
Culver City, a large sheet of fake grass
separates sets for both Charley's and Jerry's hou ses. A Champman ca mera crane

sit s on the grass, waiting to peer in the


second-story windO\lV of Charley'S room,
mounted o n wooden scaffolding.
Ragsdal e, w ho plays Charley, says " I always liked horror as a kid- I lived in sort
of a small to\lVn , EI Dorado, Arkan sas, so I
guess believing in witches and vampires
and th ings like that sort of zested it up a
little.
HO\IVwould he feel, faced w ith his character's predicament? " If I found out
there was a real vampire living next door
to me, I think my response to that \.YOu ld
FANGORIA "'47 33

just be shock. It's like the stages of death:


denial resignation , anger-those are
stages Cha rley goes through . It's interesting to try and touch on those in performance, never having been that close
to death:'
H e's been close to minor di sast er,
though; a few ..veeks back, during a shot
in which Charley runs dCMIn a stairway,
Ragsdale b roke hi s foot. Thanks to some
in ventive rescheduling and reb lock ing,
the show and Ragsdale are bo th goi ng
on, but the actor's foot is still in a cast,
whic h sometimes poses problems even
when he's sitting down .
like nO\rV, for instance: the upco ming
shot has Ragsdale scrambling around on
his back, having been thrO\rVn into Charley's closet by the vampire, and his feet
are going to sh()\r\l. No shoes big eno ugh
to fit over his cast can be found, but costumers Bettylee Balsam and Mort Schwartz hit upon a solution : they slit Ragsdale's shoe in several places, slip it on,
then cover the portions of cast gleaming
whitely through t h e slits with black
cloth.
Charley's mood in thi s scene is, according to director Holland , "stark ballsout terror" as the vampire reaches dOVv'n ,
seizing hi s intended victim by the neck
and belt. The first take seems alright, but
Sa randon grabs Ragsdale's shirt instead
of his neck. On the second take, Ragsdale reacts with proper fear, but when
"cut " is called, Sarandon is the one looking startled and pained: Ragsdale accid entally stepped on his foot. On the
third take, Sarandon grabs his prey so
violently that he slams his own shoulder
into the ca mera lens.
When they get a good take, they move
on to the next shot. The ca mera takes
over Ragsda le's position in the closet. assuming Charley's point of view. The lack
of a body where he's reaching fo r Charley throws Sarandon off a little, so HoIland obligingly sits in the closet next to
the camera. He asks if Sarandon would
like h im to offer resistance to bei ng
'pulled up. " Yes, please;' the actor says.
"Scare me ta death:' Holland instru cts.
Sarandon duly gets scary; Holland is
pleased. "Really good, Chri s:'
Monday, ,an. 7, 1985
U's 6:15 a.m. Diaz and Stratto n, along
with Jeff Kennemore, have already been
worki ng on Sarandon for cr..er and ho ur
in the makeup trailer. Today sees the actor in the third stage vampire makeup,
whic h is the most ext reme; Jerry is at the
height of fury, and thu s at h is most inhuman, because Charley's just stabbed him
thrpugh the hand with a pencil.
A ba ldcap with a long fringe o f hair
attached is on Sarandon 's head; Stratton
has applied latex thumb tips to Sarandon 's hands. N()\r\I Stratton painstakingly
starts gluing dONn all the latex fingertips
on Sarandon's left hand, keeping the Hngers separated with little foam wedges;
Kennemore begins work on the hand.
34 FANGORIA "'47

Diaz puts ad hesive on the actor's nose,


then stretc hes a o ne-piece foam latex appliance over Sarandon's entire face and
begins applying adhesive under the unattached portions of the piece.
Kennemore ho lds up a \o\eird-looking
appliance, like a latex glove with the fin gers c ut off, and asks w hat it's for. Th is is
the " penci l-s tab " piece (sculpted by
Steve Neill); Kennemore powders Sarandon 's right hand , then with Stratton's
help stretches th e appliance onto it.
" What a stupid way to make a living;'
Sarandon says. " Well, not stupid-silly:'
Stratton: 'Who, you or u s?"
Sarandon: " Me. You guys are having all
the fun ."
Darrell Pritchett co mes in with the
plate that goes und er the hand appl iance, consisting of the pointed half of a
pencil attached to a nickel-sized base.
Kennemore makes an incision in the appliance's palm with scissors, then fits the
base into the slit, along with a plastic
tube that goes between Sarandon's forefinger and thumb, disappears into the
hole, and emerges again at the actor's
wrist. The tube will pump smoke out of
the hand as Jerry is stabbed.
Diaz uses hisONn left hand as a palette
on which he mixes colors of makeup,
alternating between a paintbrush and a
sponge as he adds hues to the facial appliance. Talon-like fingernail s have been
attached to the latex fingertips; Stratton
applies liquid latex around the back of
the nail s to build up simulated cuticles.
Randy Cook, who with Steve Johnson
designed and sculpted mostoftheFrigh l
Night appliances and strange creatu res,
pitches in to help by attachi ng eyebr()\r\l
pieces-real hair woven into very fine
mesh-to the applian ce b row. The fake
eyebrows tangle in Sarandon 's real eyelashes; Cook di sen tangles them and
cautions Sarandon to c lose his eyes.
Sarandon, who's being a very good sport
about all this, seems just a bit uneasy at
all the strange th ings poki ng and prodding near hi s closed eyes. Cook reassures him , "This is ju st my finger, not
some implement of d eath."
Diaz and Cook ad here a hairpiece to
the top of Sarandon's baldcap; the lace
on one side buckles. They peel it back
with infinite care, but a ti ny patch of
makeup comes up with the lace. They
readjust and reglue th e hairpiece, then
repaint the patch of makeup.
Hairdresser Marina Pedraza joins the
group, trimming and shaping the hairpiece so that the contours of Sarandon's
head won't be obscu red, taking special
care around th e pointed ear appliances.
Diaz steps back for a look at the whole
ensemble: face, hair, ea rs, ha nd s. "it
looks great."
Stratton quips: " l et's go home. Chris,
the contact lenses are over there, the
teeth are ~r there, if anything comes
loose, they can fix it in the cutti ng."
At 12:55 p.m. , almost eigh t hours after

they started , the makeup crew is done.


Steve John so n puts in t he fin is h ing
tOUChes-fangs and cont act lensesw hen they arrive on the set. A crew member w ho hasn't been near the makeup
trail er thi s morning walks up, takes a
good look at Sarandon , mutters " Jeez;'
and walks awdy again .
Thursday, Jan. 24, 1985
I arrive on Soundstage 9 at 3:30 p.m .
Ho lland promptly grabs me by the arm
and d rags meover to today's set, the bedroom of C harley's mother, whe re
Stephen Geoffreys is in fu ll makeup as
"Evil Ed" Thompson, who starts out as a
weird high-school kid and wi nds up as
an even wei rder vampire. He looks really
ghastly: Ed has just had a cross burnt into
his forehead and some of his flesh is
melting off (thanks to a full-face latex appliance), his eyes are vacant pools of
darkness (via opaque contact lenses), hi s
fang s are huge and, due to Ed's sense of
humor, he's wearing a Raggedy Ann wig.
Geoffreys wishes he had more scenes
in the heavy makeup: " It 's great, great
fun. At fir st, I was worried ho.v to make it
look real , ' Should I be a human monster,
should I be real sympathetic?' But I figured you've got to ju st go all the way for
it, open your mouth as wide as you can
and be as terrifyi ng as possibl e. And Evil
Ed loves putting on a sho.v like that, this
is his big chance. And he does a good
job, I think :'
Tuesday, Feb. 18,1985
"On a scale of one to len, isn't that a
terrific baH" Holland is proudly showing
me the lalest 'NOnder from Boss Films, a
spec ial effects 001 with a body the size o f
a greyhound , an eight-foot wingspan
and a rema rkably mobile ca bl e-controll ed face.
We're on Sound st age 15, which
houses the ornate set for the main entrance to Jerry's house, complete with a
staircase from the o riginal Gone With
the Wind set, leading up to a balcony
to pped by a breakaway-stained-glass
window.
The bat and its handlers-Cook, John
son, Joh n Axford, Kevin Brennan, Craig
Caton, Scream ing Mad George and the
bat's personal makeup person, Theresa
Burkett- occupy one corner of the floor
at the foot of the stairs. In the other corner, Cinematographer Jan Kiesser's camera crew set up a shot of the bat attacking
Roddy M cDowall as Peter Vincent, an aging ham horror actorwhoreluclantly becomes Charley's ally. " He's such a terrible ac t or," M c Dowall says of hi s
character. " He's got such a sad life, he's
sort o f cowardly and then he find s his
strength as a human being:'
Right now, he's figh t ing for his life as
the bat s......aops in for Ihe kill, knocking
McDowa ll backwards (a stunt man lies
below camera range to catch the actor as
he falls). Brennan and Wilson use poles
to manipulate the bat's right and left

wings, respectively; Cook crouches under its body, holding it aloft as he runs
from tall box to small box to floor, sothat
the bat appears to swoop swiftly dCPtNn at
McDowall in a graceful, smooth arc.
" I' m seeing Randy;" camera operator
Craig Denault reports as he peers
through his camera's viewfinder.
"Do )<lu have any more material the
bat's made of to put on Randy's shirt? "
assistant director Sobul asks, hoping to
camouflage Cooke. Unfortunately, no
one does, but the scene is reblocked so
that Cook no longer shows up beneath
his creation.
For the next shot, the last few steps of
the stairway are replaced with a wooden
platform on which McDowall lies for the
continuation of the bat attack. Denault
yells: " Effects! ~'re gonna need some
bones on the stairs!" lantieri and Pritchett inspect the "h uman bones "
they've concocted in the special effects
truck, selecting the most photogenic
ones to scatter above McDowall's head.
During rehearsa l, McDowall grapples
with the bat, defending himself by grabbing a bone from the stairs and thrusting
it between the creature's jerws. At least,
that's what's supposed to happen . First
the bone slides under the bat's chin,
then bops itonthe nose, but keeps missing its mouth . Holland tells McDowall to
let the bat come to the bone instead of
trying to put the bone in the bat 's mouth .
This works much better.
On the last take, there is a mishap: McDowall pull s too hard on the bone while
it's in the bat's mouth, causing a separation in the beastie's sk ull. The shape of
the bat's head changes weirdly as its
right eye sinks down into its throat.
Holland is understandably dismayed.
" 1 love that bat. I want the fucker to
work:'
The bat crew strives frantically to salvage thei r creature. Cook says the smile
control is broken, but the bat ca n be
made to work well enough for some
shots over its shoulder while it's on McDowall's chest. The bat's closeups will
have to wait for two days, when Cook and
company will have had sufficient time to
do more thorough repairs.
Finally, they're as ready as th ey' ll ever
be tonight. Ragsdale kneels at the edge
of the platform to lean into the shot more
easily with hi s stake and crucifix as the
bat exposes McDowall's neck. Su nlight
hits the bat and it "sc reams" (that is, it
lifts its head into the air and shakes-the
sound of the scream will be added in
post-production), then drops back outof
the frame.
" Is the bat in sunlight yet?" Cook asks.
"No:' says Holland , "can't you tell?"
From h is position under the bat, Cooke
ca n barely see anything. so Holl and talks
him throu gh the action: "Okay, go in ...
sunlight.. .bat out! Bat out!"
Shooting o n Fright Night is officially
completed at 3 a.m. Saturday morning,

"Evil Ed" does his Raggedy Aaa haUaUoa_

Feb. 23. Of course, there will be pick-up


shots-retakes of bits and pi eces that
didn 't turn out right the first time-and
work wilt continue at Boss Films for
....-eeks on the opticals and effects, but for
most cast and crew, this is it.
Two weeks later, there is a wrap party,

giving everyone a chance to say goodbye


(or, in some cases, "see you later"), in a
relaxed, congenial atmosphere. It's fun
and pleasant, but it lacks the itltense
ca maraderie of the set. In o ther words,
it's a good party, but it's not the same as
making a mcwie. Then again, what is?

FANGO RIA '47 35

There are new people In the old Hopkins


place next door. They moved In by nlght and with good reason.

ig t"

SPECIAL PREVIEW

1d your next

ROddy
McDowall
occupation:
Fearless
vampire
Killer
By EDWARD GROSS

From beyond the "Planet of the Apes"


to beneath the full moon of "Fright Night,"
this veteran ~ctor loves playing characters without any labels.
e hunts vampires, but only in the
movies. He introduces those. fear
flicks as host of TV's Fright Night
Theatre. And then, one dark and stormy
evening, the horror cinema's famed "vampire killer" is swept into battle between local
teenager and neighborhood bloodsucker.
And Fright Night becomes something more
than movies. It becomes terrifying reality for
Peter Vincent.
"He's an absolutely marvelous character," declares the man who portrays him,

52 STARLOG/ December 1985

"I never saw that film," he begins emphatically, "but I absolutely apall the idea of
comparing one thing to something else. Nothing is worth anything unless it's taken on its
own terms. It's one of the great pathetic sins
that people go around in the world trying to
compare this to that or something to something else. Why doesn't everybody just accept
a thing on its own terms?
"All you can do is make a piece of product,
sell it on its own terms, stand behind it and
hope that people will go see it. If you try to be
like something else or appeal to any given
group, then you can very easily end up being
gratuitous and imitative. There's not much to
be gained by that, and I think too much time
is spent going around trying to be like someone else."
Additionally, he doesn't appreciate Fright
Night being labeled a "horror" fIlm.
"Some people think Snow White and the
Biting satire
Seven Dwarfs is a horror movie, so I never
When writer/director Tom Holland ap- quite know how to deal with that kind of
proached him with the Fright Night script, labeling," McDowall says. "When I did the
McDowall's reaction was immediate enthusi- pilot for Night Gallery, I never looked at it as
asm. "I thought it was fascinating," he notes, horror. It was a wonderful script, and my
"very imaginative and very good. Tom is a character was just a lousy son of a bitch who
good director and writer, and all those turned people over to get what he wanted. I
elements were very conscientious. A great don't look at Legend ofHell House as horror
deal of hard work went into it."
either. It was just a story of people trying to
The-mixture of horror and humor in Fright exorcise a spirit from a haunted house.
Nightmay recall the similar structure of John
"The so-called 'slice-and-dice' fIlms are
Landis' An American Werewolf in London, just gratuitous rubbish. I thought The Omen
was a very good fIlm. To me, horror is
but the comparison agitates McDowall.
something gothic, strange and peculiar ,like a
As lucky Pierre, McDowall took part in TV's fairy tale. Approaching the premise of Fright
Tales of the Gold Monkey.
Night realistically, it's very scary. The script

Roddy McDowall, a veteran of more than 80


fIlms. "I've never done anything like it, so it
was extremely rewarding to me.
"The appeal to me is that Vincent is such a
terrible actor. The poor dear is awful. He's
just a very sweet man with no talent in a difficult situation, though he's able to rise to the
occasion-like the Cowardly Lion."
While he feels that any explanation of his
approach to the character would sound extremely "dumb" on the printed page,
McDowall does mention that he drew Peter
Vincent-named in tribute to Cushing and
Price-partly from childhood memories.
"There were a couple of very bad actors,"
he says, "whom I absolutely adored as a
child, and whose names today's audience
wouldn't know. They were very bad actors
from another time, and Peter VinCent is like
them. He's full of sounds, but no content."

made sense, dealing with a vampire living


next door, just like a ghost-but I'm probably overstating my case because I think that
too many things are labeled incorrectly. "
Nevertheless, he feels that his character
probably holds a great appeal for the audience. "I suppose every territory at various
times has a horror host who introduces late
night shows with rubbishy dialogue," he explains. "If the audience cringes watching
them, they'll identify with the characters in
Fright Night. Also, the kids in the cast
[William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, Stephen
Geoffreys] are excellent. What sticks out in
my mind is the group camaraderie and closeness of everybody working on'this film, really
caring about Fright Night being good. And I
think that comes across on the screen. "
Could he see himself returning as Peter
Vincent for some future foray into fear?
"He's a ~onderful character and great
fun," McDowall observes. "It's a: little early
to say, but it's like after I did the first Apes
film. Nobody figured there would be five of
them and a TV series. But there were, and
they were all interesting to do, so you never
can tell."

VldeOAp.
McDowall previously captured the hearts
of SF fans as Cornelius, the talking chimpanzee, in Planet of the Apes and Escape
From the Planet of the Apes, and as Cornelius' son Caesar in Conquest of. . . and Battle
for the Planet oftheApes (all of which he extensively discussed in ST ARLOG #6) . .
Mcpowall makes no secret of the fact that he
w6uld return to the series if somebody
As Galen In the Apes TV series, McDowall
IHtfrlended two human astronauts (Ron
Harper, left, and James Naughton). "The
shows were much beUer than they were
giveR credit for," says the actor.

In spite of the presence of werewolves and vampires come Fright Night, McDowall
shuns the "horror movie" label.
PHOTO: CBS/20TH CENTURY FOX

seriously wanted to produce a new chapter.


"You seldom get to play something
unique like that," the once and future ape
comments, " but doing it again would depend
on the content. I think it would work today,
just as Star Trek has worked. It took nine
years to convince people, but Star Trek worked. I think the Apes films have aged very well,
particularly the first, third and fourth ones.
They deal with constant human problems."
From the Apes films, the actor segued in
1974 to the small screen in CBS' short-lived
Planet of the Apes series. McDowall portrayed the primetirne primate Galen, a dilettante chimpanzee who befriended two
fugitive astronauts from Earth's past. The
series aired on Friday nights at 8 p.m. against
NBC's then-super hits, Sanford and Son and
Chico and the Man, and failed to garner the
ratings hoped for by CBS. Thirteen episodes
later, it was cancelled.
"Anyone who remembers all that has a
(continued on page 71)

ED WARD GROSS, New York-based


writer, profiled screenwriter Don Jakoby in
STARLOG #99.
STARLOG I December 1985

53

McDowall
(continued from page 53)
good memory," says McDowall, "but the
TV shows were much better than they were
given credit for being. Apes went off the air
not because it wasn't good, but because it was
on in the wrong place at an entirely wrong
time slot.
"Everybody has a reason for why something is taken off the air, though Apes
shouldn't have gone off. The merchandising
alone could have carried it, and there were
plenty of directions to go storywise, but the
show wasn't on long enough."
Between his many film assignments,
McDowall also appeared in two other genre
TV series, Fantastic Journey ("which didn't
last long enough to make an impression, n he
says) and Tales of the Gold Monkey.
"Gold Monkey is another series that I absolutely loved. Like Apes, Gold Monkey
shouldn't have gone off the air. I loved
everything about it. StepheI.1 Collins was a
wonderful person to work With, and I truly
liked my role.the show itself, though, was
rather badly treated by the network, because
half the time you never knew where it was on
the schedule. Same old story," he sighs.
Despite his TV disappointments,
McDowall has two more forthcoming video
excursions planned. The actor will portray
the March Hare in Irwin Allen's mini-series
production of Alice in Wonderland (scheduled for airing in December). He has a recurring role in Suzanne Pleshette's new CBS
series, Bridges to Cross, an hour-long,
newspaper drama/ adventure intended for a
mid-season premiere.
McDowall admits that he's hesitant to talk
in detail about these projects.
"The thing is," he explains, "when you
listen to a record and then r~d the blurb on
the back of the album cover which says what
it was all about, you say, 'Oh, is that what it
was about? I thought it was something entirely different.' Everything means something
different to everyone. It's all in the eye of the
beholder, and I'm fascinated when 10 different people in a room have 10 different
reactions as to what a film was about.
"I played my role," concludes Roddy
McDowall. "I loved playing it. There it is,
and I hope people like it.
"It is what it is."

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71

WIN

A FREE TRIP TO

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Details '"sIde

THE DIRECTOR'S STORY

FRIGHT NIGHT
GEORGE ROMERO UNEARTHS THE

DAYOFTHE DEAD
THE TRAGIC LIFE OF

LUGOSI
HORRORWOOD'S NEW
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JOHN CARL BUECHLER


PLUS: A FANTASTIC FO:.;;
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TO FILMFESTS IN
MADRID AND
BERLIN!

BY MICHAEL MAYO
Yes, friends & fiends , I bet you didn 't
know it, but vamp ire pictures have
been pretty anemic lately, at least ac
cording to Tom Holland , and he's up
set! The guy loves vampire pictures,
but not the wlshywashy stuff like The
Hunger. The Good Stuff: AlP vampire
films , and Hammer . . . especially
Hammer. Tall , goodlooking vampires
that can paralyze you with one pinky,
and girls wandering around barely
sheathed In filmy clothing. That 's what
Holland thinks a good vampire film
should be and that's exactly what
Holland has been holed up the last few
months making.
HOLLAND'S DUTCH TREAT
If fi rstime director Holland can capture
on film what he's got on his storyboards,
theatergoers this Augu st are goi ng
to see a very weird film when Columbia
Pictures releases Fright Night,
Holland's own contribution to the vam
plre genre. He's tried to make the film
with the slick & glossy Hammer look,
and certainly has the technical talent
backing him. But Holland is also the
screenwriter, and as befits the author
of Psycho II and Cicek and Dagger, the
material has just a slight " bent " to it.
The stuff may be a little hokey and tat
tered, Holland seems to be saying, but
we love It anyway.
The title of the film comes from the
name of the Fright Night horror movie
televised weekly by a local station and
hosted by a fading ham horror actor,
34 MONSTERLANO

TOM HOLLAN D PUTS


SOME NEW TEETH IN THE
OLD VAMPIRE LEGEND

Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowell made


up to look like Peter Cushing). Vincent
frequently embellishes his show with
talks about how he's fought all these
undead creatures and won . It's good
for the show, you know?
NOT A REEL VAM PIRE

The only problem Is that a real vampire


does show up and he looks even better
th an Christopher Lee. He's a swinging,
sexy dude named Jerry Dandridge who
36 MONSTERLAND

says he restores old homes. Jerry 's


ne ighbors Include Charl ey Brewster
(newcomer Bill Ragsdale), an everyday
ki d who discovers that Dandridge is a
vamp ire when he acci den tally sees
Dandridge put the bite on his girl friend.
Charley st ili can 't believe It until a nearfatal encounter with Dandridge sends
Charley sc urry ing f or some bod y,
anybody who wil l believe him. Well,
since Vincent has always been blowing
about hi s battl es, what the hark? (as in
Jonathan Harker). Charley goes to Vin-

cent and tells him his story. Vincent


thi nks the kid Is bats but humors him
by going to see Dandridge anyway.
Vincen t Is charmed by the guy
(everyone Is) and can 't see anything
wrong with him until a peek at a pocket
mirror shows there Isn't anything to
see of Dandridge. Vincent now knows
Charley Is right but doesn 't feel any
better lor It . After 30 years spent
fighting foam rubber and special effects,
he's now up against the Real Thing ,
a supernaturally powerfu l creature

lft; Roddy MrDow.tll plQylng

If" nhorTo.

moVlII' sfur. Aoout

to J./lU1' If howl of If lim" wllh Q TN/I,/II' 1Df!'f'lDolf i" Fright Night.


Top: Til" V<lmpirt' nut door
Abom': Bill R"s5tlall' IU ChQ,lry Brnmti" says- ~Wfll. IhnP

80ft thl' I1l'ishborhood

who's very smart and very deadly . . .


" I decided to resuscitate the genre
because I have so many fond childhood
memories of them. I want to see them,
and nobody's been able to do a decent
vampire film in 10 years. The last Drac
flick that was any good was a parody,
Lov. at Firat Bit., and a parody is
always the last gasp of a dying genre.
So I wanted to bring them back and be
faithful to the legend. These are vam
pires that do everything we've been
brought up to expect vampires to do:

they turn Into bats and wolves and bite


pretty girls .. . all that good stuff. "
I'D LIKE TO BE
AN OSCAR WIENER
And they do it, alright. Fright Night
features some truly effective spec ial
makeup and optical effects done by
Oscarwin ner Richard Edlund 's BFC
outfit. They haven 't built Holland just a
tiny little bat that flaps rig idly against a
wall but a huge, fleshyplnk, redeyed
MONsrERLANO 31

A kiD U slilll! ki5lll . f'Xcept whl'lI if, fro m thi5 too thsome Mi55

Nosferat lc nasty that Is the ugl iest


thing you 've seen In ages. Th is oogle is
so ugly It's beautifu l; just the sort of
thing I wish I had sitting on my mailbox
to snap at bil l collectors and junk mail
carriers. And that's just one of the
things McDowell and Ragsdale have to
31 MONSTER LAND

cope with. Dandridge also manages to


turn Heaven Help Us star Steven Geoffreys Into a werewolf and Ragsdale's
girlfriend (Amanda Bearse) into a
vo l uptuous siren who grows more
teeth than Rln Tin Tin.

"THE HUNGER" GAVE HOLLAND


A GREYSTROKE

" I was so angry at The Hunger," says


Holland. " I thought It was the biggest
abortion I'd ever seen. Sheesh, it was
so pretentious . .. right up there with

Graystoke. I mean, In Graystoke they


were ashamed to mention the name
Tarzan and they didn't say It once In the
fil m, while In Tha Hungar they didn 't
say the word vampire once. I think
those guys should go out and make
other kinds of movies If they're going
to be ashamed of the genre."
Holland 's affection for fantasy &
horror began as a youngster when he
was growing up in a small, mldstate
New York town gobbling down
HPLovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Robert
Bloch and others. He wanted to be a
writer but became an actor when he
came to Hollywood. Holland stili pur
sued writing though, and finally sold a
screenplay which almost sank his
career before It got started .
A BEASTLY BUSINESS

" It was the first script I'd done that got


made and It was done so badly It put
me out of the business for a year. That
was Tha Ba..t Within. I got thrown off
the set and out of the dailies because I
told them exactly what I thought they
were doing to the story. The next one I
did was Cia.. of 1984, then Psycho II ,
then one called Scraam for Halp that
was made so badly It was never
released, then Cloak and Dagger."
Fright Night Is Holland's first film as a
director . Like many writers who
become directors, part of Holland's

drive to direct was to present his


stories as he thought they should be
made.
PSYCHO II: BOO HOO
" I think you really have to know what
you 're doing with the stories to make a
good film . Some people have done
badly with my stories and some have
done okay, but even when It was done
well , It's never been done the way I In
tended. Psycho II , on which I had a
good relationsh ip with director Richard
Franklin by the way, was supposed to
'be a very emotional and romantic film
In Its own way. I designed It for you to
feel a great deal of empathy for Nor
man. He and Meg Tilly really come to
love each other but It's tragic because
It 's never allowed to consummate Itself
and then she 's killed . I th ink t his
element of the story got subjugated to
the murder mystery elements, which I
don't think were as powerful as the
emotional elements. So, with Fright
Night I wrote It specifically to direct. I
wanted to write something that was so
completely commercial that nobody
could afford to turn It down, they'd
have to let me direct It, which Is exactly
what happened. Every major studio In
town wanted It ... It's that simple."
Well , not exactly, and Holland knows
It too. He wants to make a scary fil m
that 's also funny; and a violent, sexy

vampire film that 's lo-cal on the gore.


Might Holland be In danger of making a
film with too much humor and not
enough blood for today's genre
aud iences?
GOREABORE
" This is meant to be a crossover film .
It 's going to be an R, but because of the
sex, not the gore. If you want that, go
see the italians because I'm not Into
gore. I think It's a cheap trick to squirt
blood Into people's faces . It's the last
refuge of the untalented who go to It
because they can't think of any other
way to do it. I make fun of It In the
movie.
CRYING FOUL
" For the humor, I think It depends on
If your laughs stem from kidding the
genre or come from the situation. I
think It 's a big, big mistake to spoof the
genre and I don 't do that. If your humor
evolves from the situation, though ,
that 's OK. I personally think Fright
Night Is a very funny movie. You 've got
this guy who's been fighting vamp ires
for 30 years In all these bad movies,
and he tries It on the vampire, waves a
cross at him and says 'Back, you foul
creat ure of the night! ' And the vampire
just cracks up. "

MONSTER LAND 39

Tom Holland's Photos

German Lobby Cards

German Lobby Cards

American Lobby Cards

Amiga PC Arcade" Game

FRIGHT
l~IGHT
AM,a-Al

THIS';" ."I~it'D"~
~~ ll\P}I

DOUBLE
IFEATURE

SATURDAYS AT MIDNIGHT ONLY ON

'S}{OI\GtJJ:

WX[]Z..

TVt;O

The Maki

Compiled by
ANTHONY
TIMPONE

The FANGORIA Fright File oj up-to-the-minute newsbreaks


and other horrible happenings!

The Fearle Vampire KWer Brigade (Trac:i Lin.


WiJ.J..i.aDl Ragsdale and Roddy McDoweU) prepare for
batUe.

. ........, "1IT-..AItT 2", bent on doing a number on


Bloodletting is better the second time around, on ideo
whose time has finally come
in the long anticipated sequel
to Fright Night .
Fright Night- Port 2,
directed by Tommy (Hollo ween III) lee Wallace, once
again teams those two unlike,
Iy vampire fighters, confused
student Charley Brewster
(William Ragsdale) and TV
horror show host Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall). The
story picks up three yeors
after Fright Night ended.
Brewster, now in college, lives
a relatively normal life until
up pops the devil in the guise
of Regine (Julie Carmen), the
undead sister of the first film's
Jerry Dandridge . She is hell

10 FANGO RIA #74

horror is even more


believable because of the
modern setting."
Integral to the success of a
Fright Night sequel was
convincing McDowall and
Ragsdale to come bock for
more. McDowall sees na reol
mystery in his agreeing to
reprise his Vincent role. "I
liked the story," says the
British genre veteran.
Ragsdale agrees with those
points. "It's not like t was going to be playing a clone of
the part 1 played in the first
film ," reosons the younger
actor. "They've made Charley
more mature. There's a lot of
running around, but mentally
and emotionally they've given
Chorley a whole lot to do."
Director Wallace predicts
the inherent problems of a se
quel and the inevitable camporisons to the original, but
he is quick to defend his film
as a legitimate piece of work.

"The story is the thing,"


argues Wallace. "There was a
definite framework I knew 1
would have to work within
when I agreed to do this film;
I knew Chorley and Peter
would be bock, and I knew
we would be deoling with
vampires again. But 1 also
knew if there was a very real,
very scary and very sexy story
to tell that the movie would
stand on its own."
A Fright Night follow-up has
been on ongoing rumor since
the success of the original in
1985. Unfortunately, a
shokeup at Columbia Pictures
resulted in a number of pro
jects, including the proposed
sequel, getting shelved. Producer Herb Joffe, who helmed
the first film , bought bock the
sequel rights lost yeor and
found a willing company in
Vista. Fright Night- Part 2
opens in August.
- Marc Shapiro

Chorley for offing her big


brother. With the aid of Vincent, Brewster goes into
nightmarish bottle against the
sexy Regine and a whole new
supporting cost of ghouls and
nosties.
Fright Night- Port 2, shot in
4S days in and around los
Angeles, is on FX. heavy film ,
courtesy of such latex and
optical stalwarts as Gene
Warren Jr. , Rick Josephson ,
Bart Mixon , Brion Wade, Greg
Cannom and others.
"This is definitely a 'now'
kind of movie," enthuses vampiress Carmen. "There's a reol
new wove, '80s feel to both
my character and the produclion values. This is definitely a Now it'. the py.' t1lnl to oCle as Fright Night-Part 2
presenu the sexy .amplre Regine IJalie Cannen).
horror film , and I feel the

... RIGHTNIG
PARI.2
Bares Its Fangs

:=---.

The .t.... of Frlght.lffght- Part 2 40 their 4arD.e4Ht to


oatdo The Lo.t Boy.' l_bioDable attire. (Left to rilbt:
Jonathall Onea, Brian ThOm.PMtD. Julle ClU'IIlea and
. . . MUClark.)

ollywood Rule *1: Never kill

a goose laying golden eggs.


Take, for example. Friday
the 13th. Part VII (soon to be Part

VIII) , or A Nightma.re on Elm Street


3 (soon to be Part 4). or ALIENS
(soon to be .. . well, you get the pic-

ture).
So when a rather small but FX
crazed little exercise in vampire
tomfoolery called Fright Night proved not only a critical success (I. e.
somebody other than FANGORlA
liked it) but a box office bonanza (an

snakes around an open bathroom


door while the shower beats a
estimated $50 million worldwide to background ra.ta.t.a.ta.t. Wallace is
date) . it s eemed a safe bet that there satisfied and yells, "Cut."
The studio where the lion's share
would be further adventures for
Peter Vincent and Charley Brewster. of Fright Night-Part 2 is being filmed is a little-used relic from the
1940s, The sucker's also pretty
The Set Visit: Day ODe
Tommy Lee Wallace plays footsies drafty, which explains why. after
with shower steam. First take: U' s exiting a mock-up of Charley
too thick . Second take: It's too thin. Brewster's apartment, Wallace puts
Are you ready. baby bear? Third on a heavy jacket to snuggle up for a
take: Wallace motions the cramped quick script read. Jeffrey Sudzin,
camera crew slowly back. The steam the film's line producer, could do
without the chill wreaking havoc on
his ongoing head cold. But, between
sniffles and sneezes, Sudzin
chronicles the history of Fright
By MARC SHAPIRO

Night-Part 2.

"There was never any question


that a sequel to Fright Night would
be made," swears Sudzin. "But
when a new regime took over at Col
umbia, a number of projects were
dumped, including the Fright Night
sequel. When that happened, Herb
~ Jaffe, who produced the first
t'Fright Night, got the rights back
from Columbia and took the project
u to Vista."
~ Of course, Fright Night-Part 2,
:g budgeted at $7.5 million for a
~ 45-day shoot, would have been
.i! nothing without Roddy McDowall as
i fearless vampire killer Peter Vincent
j and William Ragsdale as perpetual
victim Charley Brewster. "Getting
Roddy and Bill back was no pro~ blem," claims Sudzin. "They were
i happy to do it once they saw the
':: script."
! The second chapter in Fright
f Night's stylish bloodsucking saga

:s
i

begins three years after the original


ended. Charley Brewster, now in college. celebrates the conclusion of
three years of intense headshrinking that has convinced him
everything that happened in the
first film was all a dream. Brewster
and his latest main squeeze Alex
(Traci Lin) pay a visit to TV horror
host Peter Vincent (McDowall),
whose continued on-air tirades to
beware of the unknown have once
again gotten him fired.
Charley begins to get that old
uneasy feeling again. a feeling thats
justified with the appearance of
female excitress Regine (Julie
Carmen) and an equally eerie group
of cohorts. Regine, as the tale unColds, turns out to be the sister of
the dear departed Jerry Dandridge,
come to take revenge on Charley by
seducing him into the vampire life.
After a series of near-misses, which
include girlfriend Alex's fending off
the amorous advances of some of
Regine's ghouls, Charley, once again
aided by horror host Vincent, sets
about doing battle with the vampiress and her horror horde.
Fright Night-Part 2's .cowriters-director Wallace (who plotted the course of Halloween Ill:
Season oj the Witch) and the duo of
Miguel Tejada-Flores and Tim Metcalfe {of Revenge oj the Nerds infamyl-have invested the sequel
with so much '80s hi-tech and glitzy
hipness that one is sorely tempted
to compare Part 2 to an episode of
Miami Vice. Sudzin is quick to laugh
that comparison off. but Carmen,
putting on makeup in preparation
for a heavy seduction number. feels
Fright Night-Part 2's attitude is
definitely now.
.
"Intellectually, it's clever in a very
new wave sort of way," judges
Cannen, whose exotic appearance
makes her the ideal candidate to
suck Charley's blood.. "This film sits
on the cutting edge all the way down
the line. Regine is definitely a
freaked-out personality, kind of like
a cross between Tina Turner and
Catherine Deneuve."
Carmen, whose talents are on display in The Penitent and The Milagro Bea.nfield. War, hasn't always
waxed so enthusiastic about the
film, In fact. she remembers an early
draft of the script that sent her looking for a stomach distress ~ag . "I
was afraid of the part because
Regine's character was nothing
more than an Elvira imitation," the
actress winces. "The revisions made
her a more multidimensional being
who happens to like sucking blood.."
Subsequent rewrites so impressed
Cannen that she began turning
things down right and left in order
to thoroughly prep herself for her

Loale tran.rorm., . . McDo_all' tant double bang. on ror dear ute.


Fright Night-Part 2 romp. Carmen

read everything concerning vampires and watched every vampire


movie she could lay her hands on.
Naturally, she watched the original
Fright Night until she was blue in
the face.
"I picked up some mannerisms
from the Jerry Dandridge character,
such as his wink and the Bela Lugosi
way he held ~is hand. that 1 use in
this film," Carmen reveals. "But I
stopped looking at the first movie
when I realized I could very easily
fall into the trap of being a female
clone of the Jerry Dandridge
character. "
The actress jokingly claims she
will have a clause in future contracts against any latex being

poured on her body, thanks to the


ordeal by fire required in the creation of a glamorized vampire mask
by FX supervisor Bart Mixon and
key sculptor Brian Wade. "The six
hours required to get the neck and,
face piece on was hard enough, but
the actual molding of the mask was
a killer." groans Carmen. "I had
never had prosthetics applied
before, so you can imagine what
happened when Brian and Bart
poured alginate and plaster over my
head. When the plaster began to
harden, I got totally claustrophobic
and started to panic. The only thing
that saved me was that I meditated
and gave myself up to the weight of
the plaster. But I was so freaked that
I went home that night and cried.
FANGO RIA 1176 45

during a break in his action. "I'll tell


you. I meet a lot of people who say, 'I
don't go to those kind of movies. but
I hear you were very good.' ..
Ragsdale. attired in a bathrobe (he
spends a good part of this movie in
the vicinity of a bed), remembers he
took the persistent rumors of a
Fright Night sequel in stride, but
was more than willing to repeat the
Tole of Charley when the rumors got
serious, and he's happy to report

"The effects are a


variation of things
that have aD been
done before."
-visual FX

coordinator Gene
Warren Jr.

"A few minutes after I stopped


crying. the phone rang." she sighs .
"There was a problem with the
mold. and they wanted to know if I
could come in early the next morning to do it again."

Day Two:
Charley ...d Gene Speak
Sudzin still coughs. Wallace and
his camera crew are back in
46 FANGORIA #76

Charley's apartment. where Charley


is about to get a rude awakening.
There's a knock on the door.
Brewster mumbles as good buddy
Richie (Merritt Butrick) enters in
search of a power tie, the better to
impress the babes. Charley freaks
when he realizes he's slept through
half his classload. He rushes into the
bathroom while Richie goes through
Charley's drawers, looking for the
proper cloth strip. Wallace halts the
action and. true to his growing rep
as a stickler for detail, confers with
Bubick on the proper way to cross
to the dresser from the door.
Wallace collars Ragsdale and
Butrick when the scene ends, and
they retire to a darkened corner of
the soundstage where, amid
animated gestures and verbal rimshots. they rough out the tone of an
upcoming scene.
"What has being in Fright Night
done for my career?" howls
Ragsdale outside the soundstage

that his second turn at Charley is


not a carbon copy of the first.
"Charley gets involved in more of
an emotional battle," he assesses.
"The first fUm was more of a
physical thing. He's been in therapy
and is trying to cope and decide
whether or not to believe in all this
strange stuff that's happened to
him. What he has to deal with is
much more troublesome, emotionally. and so the role has a lot more
substance.
"Charley is a character that is
very close to home for me at this
point," continues Ragsdale. "but I
don't think it's gotten to the point
where I'm sleepwalking through the
role." Following Fright Night-Part
2, Ragsdale hits the road in the national touring company of Neil
Simon's play Broadway Bound, a
sign that Ragsdale is avoiding the
stereotype of "horror film actor,"
Gene Warren Jr" Part 2's visual
FX coordinator, is one slow-talking
dude. You could empty a bottle of
ketchup in the time it takes him to
complete a sentence. But slow does
not equate with evasive; Warren
bluntly points out that the most ambitious bit of wizardry in Fright
Night-Part 2 never got off the drawing board.
"In an early version of the script,
Evil Ed was still in the film," explains Warren. "There was this sequence where he falls off the top of a
building, makes a number of
transformations while falling and,
just before he hits the ground,
changes into a bat and flys away.
But once we lost Evil Ed, doing the
same stunt for another character

just didn't seem to fit."


Warren, whose Fantasy II shop did
an estimated 300 bits on Nighiflyers
before hitting the Fright Night trail,
still has the majority of his stop motion, rear projection and other visual
FX work in front of him in what will
be an estimated three months of
postproduction work. But he proves
a good source of information on the
FX highlights other people on the
film have dished out thus far.
"Greg Cannom does a real solid
transformation on a monster
character named Louie," praises
Warren. "U's a limited, two or three
cut transformation done in reverse.
The character changes from a wolf
back to a person. And that mask for
Regine, which switches from normal
to monstrous and back again at certain points in the movie, is
something just that little bit different.
"But I'm not going to sit here and
jazz you that, effects-wise, any of us
are doing anything totally off the
wall," he admits . "What the effects
on this film are is a variation of
things that have all been done
before. We may run into some unexpected things in postproduction that
may necessitate our stretching a little bit. but effects people have been
literally turning people inside out
for years. What you're going to see
are some very good special effects,
yet nothing you haven't seen
before ...

the actor expresses appropriate


fear, then gives way to his stunt
double for the long shots of Peter
Vincent hanging in space.
But while McDowall seems hardly
the worse for his experience, the
veteran actor is obviously in a snit
about something. The vast majority
of his responses to questions about
character-or about differences between Fright Night and its sequel, or
about on and off set anecdotes-are
"I don't think that's a question you
can ask me," "Asking something
like that is asinine," and "This line
of questioning upsets me."
McDowall, however, does find a
few questions to his liking. "J liked
the script," he notes. "That's why I
decided to play Peter Vincent again.
Play the character differently? Why
would J do that? Peter Vincent is
Peter Vincent. To change his
character in any way would not be
wise."
McDowall goes for your reporter's
throat when asked. if Part 2 will be a
picture to stand on its own merits
rather than just as a sequel. This
correspondent takes the hint and
turns his attention back to the
werewolf who, having climbed to the
window and positioned. himself upside down on the ledge, awaits
Wallace's signal to take the flop.
We' re talking one-take territory,
folks, so the director looks through
the camera's eyepiece, makes like
Rembrandt checking the angles and
finally, with just about all the blood
Day Three: Wel'ewolf Drops, having rushed. to the stuntman's
Roddy Bites Fango
head, calls for action. There is a moSubtitle this day "Just Hanging ment's hesitation before the
Around." To wit: Easily 50 cast,
crew and assorted visitors, crowded
into the corner of a soundstage adjacent to the one housing Charley's
digs, share small talk-who's doing
what to whom, who's going where
over the weekend, why the He-Man
movie didn't wow them at the box
office.
The buzz carries on beneath the
false front of an upper-story window, complete with cornices, genuine imitation brickwork and all
those things that make a place oldlooking. A rather substantial air
bag/mattress is hustled in and placed directly under the facade's open
window, Off to one side, glancing
from mattress to window and back
again, is a stuntman in werewolf
chic who will shortly take a jump
out the window.
But before the swan dive, Wallace
maps out a shot in which Roddy
McDowall, with stunt double, will
hang precariously off the window's
ledge as Charley and his girlfriend
try to pull him in. McDowall mounts
a ladder and positions his hands on
the ledge. For a series of close-ups,

werewolf slowly pushes himself


away from the window, executes an
Olympic-caliber dive and lands dead
center on his back.
Applause rings out. The werewolf
leaps off the bag and raises his arms
in triumph. The only thing missing
is the overture from Rocky.
Wallace disappears shortly after
the werewolf plunge, according to
Sudzin, into a meeting where he cannot be disturbed. But splatter
scribes are known for persistence,
and Wallace is tracked down. The
director is attempting, in reality,
some sack/snack time in his trailer.
Wallace does not pull a McDowall at
being discovered. and offers some
quickie insights on the care and
(continued on page 68)

....e up FX UDlimited's aecoll4


-tac'e dummy head for the DMb
1DIt1tiDC scene, Tbe Fright Night
aeqael WOD't skimp OD the FlL

HELLBOUND- FRIGHT 2 - COI'ITRIBUTORS'


___
_ _ _ CRYPT

alT,. aarak,. 'reports on

C.H.U.D. n and Waxwork in


future issues ........~ contributed to Famous Monsters in its hey
day. Ales 00rd0D produces Gene
Autry's Melody Ranch. Theater
(Nashville Network). Peter JUocIa..
. . . . . . covers The Kiss in our next

issue. Da'ri4 ........ wants to know


~bat we have against Cleveland.
Da... ~. . . . . D ..... SweetaaD.'s
A Cotton candy Autopsy is due
soon from Piranha Press. stew.
Kewtoa hails from British Columbia. GreJ"'71'1iooU keeps poundlDg

away at his first horror novel. Look


for PbII JIhd::aaD's short story debut
in Sldpp a: Spector's upcoming Book
of the Dead. IIarc _

..... visited

the sets of They Li,ve and Elulra"

Mistress of the Doric. BID WarreD


reviews movies for an LA newspaper. To. . . . .et'S first book. Interviews wUlt "B" Science Fiction and
Horror Movie Makers. is due sooo
from McFarland.

THINGS
TO COJlllE _ _ _ __

ou.ve got to get the most out


of summer while it lasts.
Summer means much more than
working on your tan and. listening
to the Beach Boys. Summer means
reading Fango.
Or elsc. how would you know the
news about our dear friend Freddy? Yes. A N~taaate 08 Kia

"t

8treet
The Dream. ler is
00 its way. and this is the place to
get the full story! Hear the words
of director
(Prison) BarUa
and Kob.rt B .....Dd.
But you don' t want to mJS8 the
rest of the issue, either, because
you'd pass up definitive coverage
of .1.........ar of lbe Dark.
When one of the genre's loveliest
ladies ever decided to make her
motion picture debut, it's big news.
Did we mention that this will be
our annual special makeup FX
issue? That explaJns why we've
got an in-depth interview with Mr.
Splatter himself. Tom SariD.i, plus
a look at the FX of The Blob and
PrlCJat I'IJCbt-Part 2 .
Only one way to squeeze every
drop of fun out of the season-by

K._.,.

reading I'AII001llA '771

01'1 SALE: AUGUST 11


68 FANGORIA #76

(continuedfrom page 38)

promotional tour of Japan. takes


great pleasure in showing your
correspondent a rough cut of
Julia ' s resurrection scene.
Officially c redited as executive
producer on HeUbound, Barker is
delighted by the reaction the
footage generates. The material
breaks taboos in its compelling
combination of sexuality and selfmutilation; more than that, it is
in credi bly
gory,
despite
Christopher Figgs' great pains
earlier on to stress that the sequel
would not attempt to outdo the
original in terms of splatter. Even
in rough form, the footage is damn
uncomfortable to watch, with
Oliver Smith screaming nonstop
throughout the proceedings as he
repeatedly slashes his body with a
straight razor. The mattress and
room steadily becomes awash with
blood that sprays the watching
Channard. Then, from inside the
fabric. the skinless Julia appears,
caressing the still screaming
Browning character before forcing
her fingers into his neck and
gorging herself on his life force.
Strong meat, for sure .
"I think Tony Randel has been
getting a little carried away. don't
you? " Barker chuckles as he
calmly puffs away on his Cigar.
This impression is confirmed o n
my return to the soundstage.
where 1 find the director, goresplashed and happy, assisting the
makeup guys in blOOdying up
several lunatics for a scene in
which the Cenobites s laughter a
ward full of inmates. The attitude
seems to say, "If you want blood,
you got itl"
As the day comes to a close , we
are left with one of those bizarre
images that you only get t o see
during the making of a horror
movie. Their day's work over, the
actors playing the now dead
inmates stagger off to their
dressing rooms. One older woman.
who looks like a splattered bag
lady, turns to the Butterball
Cenobite (Simon Bamford) and
inquires, "Where's the tea trolly,
love?"
"On the other side of the stage;
replies the hellspawn in a soft,
carefully enunciated English
accent.
"Thank you, love," chirps the
dead woman as she changes
direction, trying not to drip blood
on the floor.
Sadomasochism. gore, cups of
tea and cream cakes . Only on a
Clive Barker movie.
iI

(continued from page 47)

feeding of Fright Night-Part 2.


"My biggest surprise on this film
has been how long rubber takes,"
chuckles the native Kentuckian between bites. "Prosthetics are unpredictable and hard to deal with,
but given the time and the circumstances, 1 can see that we're getting some real quality."
Wallace, returning to the theater
of the fantastic after a radical departure directing Aloha Summer. does
not see any obstacles in creating a
sequel to something with a definite
pedigree. "I don't think shooting a
sequel is substantially different
from s hooting anything else," he
reasons. "There are no particular
advantages to making a sequel.
There's some history and conventions you have to follow: in that
sense, this is a classic example of a
sequel. But Fright Night 2 owes its
story to itself. We knew going in that
the characters from the first film
would be back and that they would
once again be involved with vampires. Beyond that. however, this
story stands on its own."
Since signing on, Wallace bas
reacquainted himself with the inevitable script rewrites (which succeeded, among other things, in
weeding out the characters Amy and
Evil Ed) and the expected rumors of
sour grapes from people associated
with the first Fright Night.
"Yeah," frowns Wallace, " I've
heard all about how Tom Holland
was supposedly running around
town telling anybody who would
listen that our film was a rip-off.
Well, I had lunch with Tom last
week, and I can tell you that he's
been real enthus iastic and s upportive about this project."
Wallace explains that directing
Fright Night h as given him the opportunity to relearn some tricks of
the trade. " Like patience, and ways
to get what I want out of a sequence.
The art of compromise is always
there," he lists. "And a sense of
humor sure helps."
Wallace rattles on, alternating
bits of cinem a narrative with kicks
at the open trailer door, until he
eventually hints that he could sure
use 40 winks. OK, we'll let him
snooze,
Over at the dinner break. Jeff Sudzin sneezes into his hanky. Around
the comer at a pay phone, Julie
Carmen tells her child she's going to
get home a little late. Back at the
trailer, Tommy Lee Wallace's eyes
begin to close. To sleep, and on the
Fright Night-Part 2 set, perchance
to dream.
D

By MARC SHAPIRO

alk about feeling like a kid in a

candy store. Bart Mixon had a

mouthful of Milky Ways the


day he opened the script for Fright
Night-Part 2. "I turned to a page

and it said, 'Regine suddenly turns

into a monster from hell: " recalls


Mixon. "I thought to myself. 'A
monster from hell? This is going to
be fun.' .,

Mixon remembers t h at introduction to the FX-Jaden F r ight Night sequel from the comfortably clu ttered
office of Make-up FX Unlimited. The

fledgling company. whose F r ight


Night-Parl 2 chores were its first

Bart Mixon assembles a


virtual Murderers' Row of
FX talent to take on the
stylish sequel.

gig as the creature/prosthetics right


arm of Fantasy II , is putting the
finiShing touch es on t h e film, The
odd insert and miniature is being
shot or fine-tuned, but Mixon, studying an FX breakdown for an upcomin g production, is already primed for n ew proj ects,
Mixon, a contributor to Terminalor and RoboCop, had worked
with Fantasy II 's Gene Warren Jr .
on many occasions. Talk between
the two had gotten serious about a
makeup adjunct to Fantasy II's
visual magiC. His first official effort
under the Make-up FX Unlimited
banner was a dumm y head for
Drac ula's W ido w . Wh en Wa r ren offered Mixon 's shOp as a bonus in
bidding for the Fright Nighl- Part 2
job, Mixon suddenly found himself
keying one monster of a monster
movie.
""There's definitely more monstertype things in this film than in the
first Fright Night. .. compares Mix
on. ""The stuff in the original was
nice. but we've definitely got much
more of it. ..
So much. in fact. that Mixon ran
into difficulty assembling a crew for
what would ultimately be two
groups of makeup people working
on the movie ... At one point, a lot of
people were available,"" relates Mixon, " But by the time I found out we
would be doing prosth etics, too,
many of the people I wanted were
working elsewhere. I started with a
core group and was able to get other
people for short periods of tim e."
Anchoring the core group was key
sculptor Brian (Jason Lives) Wade.
key painter Aaron Sims, key
moldmaker Jim McLou ghlin and a
moonlighting (from Rick Baker'S
studio) Norman Cabrera. Also on
board for various periods of time
were Gabe (Brain Damage) Bartalos,
Barney Burman, Brent Baker, Matt
Rose, Bill Sturgeon, Joey Orosco,

T h e F X gang'. all b e r e: (top left) Jim McLou.gb1in. Bre nt Bake r , Bart


Mi.Ko n. Grelor Punc hats, Aaron Sims, (bottom) Barne y Burman. G abe
Bartalos and Brian Wade.

EDITOR'S NOTE: At presstime, New


Ce ntury / Vista bumped Fright
Night-Part 2 to aJaU release.

A HARD DAY'S

... RIGHT
NIGH

28 FANGORIA

77

provided some major design


challenges, to which everybody on
the crew arose. Aaron Sims contributed some early sketches. Mixon
threw in some ideas centered
around his penchant for long skinny
fingers. Bartalos and Cabrera began
mental preparation for monstrous
legs and detailing. McLoughlin had a
nifty tongue in mind.
"Our initial r eaction was to go
with something wild with yard-long
ears and spines coming out of the
arms," claims Wade, who's now
assisting Steve Johnson on
Nightmare 4. "The teeth were going
The Regine Monster bands sported
mechanical finger
eztensions
by
BID

the other side-where Regine,


r eturned to the original form and
(Note: skip the next six preparing to destroy Charley, is sud'
paragraphs if you don'l want the d e nly hit by sunlight reflected off a
mirror by Peter Vincent. Original
movie's ending revealed.)
As the sequence unfolds, Regine makeup suggestions for the death
completes her transformation into makeup were rejected by Wallace on
the big bat, crash es through the the grounds that they were too
elevator floor and swoops down to gross, a problem that was ultimately
the bottom of the shaft. Two bat overcome with a r e latively
puppets, a stop-motion miniature standard-issue gelatin bum makeup
sculpted by Brian Wade over a Mike applied by McLoughlin and Mixon.
" We made a series of dummy
Joyce armature and a full-size puppet molded by McLoughlin and heads," McLoughlin explains. "The
Baker and sculpted by Rose, Wade first dummy head had mechanics,
and Sims were used in the scene. jaw move ment. fangs growing and
"O riginally, the sequence was brow movement. which I built into
designed with only the stop-motion it. A series of tubes were also attach puppet in mind," Mixon remembers. ed, which allowed us to pump
"Little by little, it evolved into a trichloroethane to swell the head'S
giant wing tip and then a fuli-sized latex skin . Gelatin bum makeup
bat seen craShing through the was applied to a double's hands to
h elp bring the scene to life."
floor."
With these elements in place, the
The stop-motion shots, animated
by Fantasy l1's Justin Kohn, com- boys lit the dummy head on fire to
bined rear-projection live action and simulate the sequence's beginning
in-camera split screens for insertion in which Regine's flesh begins to
of the miniature bat. The huge pup- bum away. The fiery scene was
pet was placed on a rod and pushed completed as the skins we re stripthrough the elevator floor and out ped off the first dummy head, a new
corpse mask slipped over the exDinah Cancer doubled actress isting mechanics and a gelatin bum
Julie Cannen (or her DamJ.ng appliance attached over the mask.
death scene. The entire The head was once again set on fire,
makeup took three hours expos ing the Regine corpse puppet
rumored final edit, mayor may not
be seen).

to apply.

to be really monstrous. But


director's input, and the fact that
the creature had to bear some
resemblance to the finished giant
bat puppet. resulted in reduction of
the ears and teeth. What we came up
with is good, but we could have
come up with something totally
wild."
Bartalos reveals that the monster
claw hands were sculpted in clay
and epoxy with a spandex support
and finger caps attached. " I also
painted the nails and punched in the
hair," he says. "It was an easygoing
situation. Everybody worked on different things and had a lot of fun ."
Bill Sturgeon sculpted the creature's
neck-to-crotch body suit. Cabrera
contributed booty-style monster
feet. a cross between a lady and a
monster with exaggerated muscles
and veins (which, depending on the
28 FANGORJA #77

The finished first stage Richie


makeup. appUed by NOrn)an
Cabrera. Fangs. contacts. and a good
coating of K-Y JeUy and pus were
added prior to filming. Stage two
consisted of a throat piece and a
lip/chin piece by Bart Mb:on.

head underneath.
For the fiery finale, a Regine body
suit.
sculpted
by
MiXon.
McLoughlin. Sims and Punchatz and
worked on at various stages by the
rest of the c rew. is torched in
various places to simulate the effect
of fire damage. A beam of sunlight
and flames over the body were add
ed in postproduction by Fantasy II.
"We tried for a droopy. melty look
when we were sculpting the corpse
body." interjects Sims. a former Eui!
Dead II assistant. "At one point we
even s howed a nipple melting away.
but for whatever reason. that shot
did not make the final edit. "
The death-by-holy-water of
Charley's roommate-turned-vampire
Richie offered the FX crew an opportunity to get away from the nowfamiliar acid burn look . "We decided
to go for a more puffy swollen look.
kind of like what Dick Smith did in
Spasms." asserts Summer School
vet Cabrera. who applied the firststage Richie makeup. ., Facial appliances were created to reflect what
the head would look like after tubes
were attached, and trichloroethane
was pumped through the foam latex
appliances. which resulted in that
swollen bloated look. " The effect,
which incorporated a dummy head
and facial mechanics, was shot in
postproduction by Fantasy II,

Next up on the FX parade was the


infamous Newberry. the bowling
emporium proprietor who is
decapitated and whose head winds
up in an alley's ball return,
McLoughlin sculpted and added the
gore FX from a standard life cast.
Bartalos painted it and punched in
the hair.
For the scene in which Belle accidentally slices open the chest of
Bozworth, plastic hands and
sculpted nails were created. "To
give the puncture effect that extra
push, we fit real X-acto blades into
the nails, " grins Mixon. "We knew
they were going to work when Tommy Wallace cut himself one day
while inspecting the hands."
The glowing, melting death of
Belle in the holy cloth was accomplished through the use of two
skulls. "We used two gelatin heads
on that effect." informs Mixon.
"One had a fiberglass skull, which
we ba c klighted to begin the
meltdown process. Then we cut to a
gelatin head with a wax skull to
complete the process. The entire efBrian Wade's rough sculpture of the
fect was done through time-lapse Regine Monster incorporated Bart
melting in an oven,"
Mixon's elrtended teeth deSign,
Mixon reports that a number of elements or an Aaron Sims sketch,
vampire teeth sets were constructed and many or Wade's own ideas, such
by Snell for the various actors. The as the oversized ears. Is that teamshop created an additional large wOf"k Of" what?
hollow canine, which was raked
across an actor's neck in the scene film. and he probably felt h e had to
where Charley is bitten by Regine. keep an extra eye on me. Tommy
" There were also a lot of Charley- also didn't want this to be all all-out
related molds and sculptures, effects movie. which was p&rt of the
primarily neck and hand wounds, reason why he constantly suggested
that were indicated at an early point changes. None of that bothered me.
in the filming but ultimately not us- It was his movie, and I was more
ed," he sighs.
than willing to give him what h e
wanted to make him happy."
But making Wallace happy did not
get in the way of making Mixon h appy with what he and his crew accomplished, "We've done a couple of
things on this film that havent been
done berore. especially with o ur approach to the Richie effects. ,. he
in
beams. "To a large extent. however.
what we've done is traditional. It's
Fright Night." primarily a lot or dummy heads and
appliances, stuff thats been done
before. We knew going in what
would work, given the time and
money we had , and we went with
those things."
Bart
To a man. the Make-up FX
Unlimited c rew views the Fright
Night-Parl 2 experience as an enjoyable one. For supervisor Bart
Mixon is candid about director Mixon, it was a chance to show his
Wallace's presence at his shop dur- prowess at the head of a major film;
ing production. The director asked for Aaron Sims, who concedes he
for num erous changes and was the raw rookie in this all-s tar FX
displayed much more interest in his lineup, it was a chance to learn from
creature makers than u s ual.
some established craftsmen, And
"To a certain extent, it wasn't sur- for everyone in between?
"Man. it was fun," Bartalos -grins.
prising." Mixon judges. "This was
m y first time keying a m ajor effect " Just a whole lot or run."
0

"There's definitely
more monster-type
things than
the
first
-makeupFX
supervisor
Mixon

FANGORIA

77 29

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MGHT

PART 2

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Regine's Final Transformation

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