EarthsMightiest.com Start A Fansite!

Fright Night at 25: Chris Sarandon

In Fright Night, now celebrating its 25th anniversary, actor Chris Sarandon played Jerry Dandridge, the vampire who has moved in next door to Charlie Brewster. In this interview conducted at the time of the film's release, he reflects on portraying a member of the undead.
Interview conducted by and copyright Edward Gross




In the past, cinematic vampires have been portrayed as pale-skinned ghouls wandering around cemeteries, draped in cumbersome black capes, and threatening to suck the blood out of any victims who happen by. Then, in the late 1970s, Frank Langells romanticized Bram Stoker's Dracula in the play and film of the same name, proving that vampires could be, above all else, charming.

Chris Sarandon contemporized this incarnation of evil to great effect in 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-and-dice productions which have proliferated in the genre.

In this updating of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," Sarandon plays Jerry Dandridge, a vampire who will go to any means to make sure that his secret remains safe, including killing Charley Brewster, his teenaged next door neighor, who has learned the truth.

"The thing that appeals to me about Jerry," explains Sarandon, who, since the time of this interview has starred in THE PRINCESS BRIDE and Tom Holland's CHILD'S PLAY, "is that he's totally contemporary. That was something we all strived for, and something I found very interesting about the character, because he wasn't the Count of legend or Bram Stoker, but a guy who everybody knew and couldn't believe was being accused of being a vampire. He isn't the personification of pure evil that vampires are known to be."



What impressed the actor most about the character, was his multi-dimensional facets.

"Just think about this guy's problems," he says. "On the one hand you've got somebody who's got something everybody would probably love to have, which is eternal life. Also, he's tremendously powerful physically, and attractive sexually. What he does, people are, for some reason, attracted to. But at the same time, how would you like to know that if people found out about you, nobody would really want to hang around you? That is, to spend eternity--but 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 sense of this guy's tragedy as well as his attractiveness."

This obvious enthusiasm is surprising, especially when one considers that the actor nearly turned the role down.

"I was sent the script by my agent and immediately sort of got sucked in by the plot, because it's wonderfully constructed and plotted," explains Sarandon. "After I read it, I said, 'Gee, this is going to make a great movie. It's a shame that I'm not really interested in playing this part.' The reasons for that are that over the last couple of years I've played a few villains and didn't want to get locked into playing another one. I thought the character was an interesting one, though I didn't think it was quite fleshed out. Despite my reservations, I had some conversations with Tom, we came up with some ideas and I ended up doing it."

"I made a promise to Chris," adds Holland, "that I would make Jerry sensual and into a leading man; to show that side of him. He didn't want to do another wild and crazy character role."

Sarandon felt that what was missing was the character's haunted quality, part of which would come across in the playing, and that there were a few things needed in the script which would express this.

"The character's not so much the personification of pure evil, as he is a person who became a vampire by circumstances," he says. "We did all the groundwork for ourselves in terms of who this guy was and what happened; how it happened. Tom was very encouraging about that; 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 the actor's since graduating from the University of West Virginia, and, besides numerous stage roles, he's tried to achieve this goal via his various screen personas, from Al Pacino's gay lover in DOG DAY AFTERNOON (which won him an Oscar nomination) and the rapist of LIPSTICK, to a tool of the devil in THE SENTINEL, a leading role with Goldie Hawn in PROTOCAL, a comically evil prince in the aforementioned PRINCESS BRIDE and a homicide detective in CHILD'S PLAY.
Bearing this in mind, one wonders if he had any aversion to the idea of playing 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 a way he wasn't. I think that I carried in some of my prejudices when I first read the script. Rather than read it in a very objective way, I read it in a much more 'what's it going to do for 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 you cultivate over time by the choice of roles you take. Also, I think I underestimated the fact that in the movie I did just before FRIGHT NIGHT, PROTOCAL, I was playing Mr. Total Straight Arrow. As nice guy and as totally uncontroversial a character as you'll find anywhere. Considering that that's the one I did just before this, I think I needn't have worried so much. I came to realize that after a while."

One thing which came close to being a problem was the marathon make-up sessions which enabled Sarandon to go from being the suave and good looking Dandridge, to the snarling bat-like "spawn of Satan" during choice moments.



"We had certain stages of change," he reveals, "which had a lot to do with just how pissed off Jerry is at any particular moment...how provoked he is.

"I was stuck in make-up so goddamned much of the time," he sighs. "I had two weks of eight-hour make-up calls, everyday. I'd go in at four in the morning and the make-up people would have to be in at three something. They'd start on me at four and I'd go to work at noon or one. Quite a remarkable experience. You either learn how to hypnotize yourself and meditate, or you become stark-raving mad.

"I tried to do the former," he laughs.

The big question was whether or not FRIGHT NIGHT could find a niche for itself in this age of the slasher or splatter film.

"That's a good question," he says. "The feeling I had, and I have reasonably good instincts as an audience, is that it would work. When I first read the script, I couldn't put it down. I don't mean that as a cliche, I mean that for real. When I read that script, I remember sitting in the very chair I'm sitting in as we speak, my wife sitting in bed knitting and I said, 'Sorry, honey. I know it's time to go in and start dinner, but I can't yet. I have to finish this.' I put it down like an hour and 10 minutes later, and I figured that it was going to be a terrific movie."

Obviously he was right.

The horror genre is one that has intrigued Sarandon over the years, although he isn't really a fan of splatter films. Friends of his love those "really shocking" horror movies, but he is much more of an afficiando of the older ones, such as the original Dracula and Frankenstein.

"And of practicioners like Hitchcock," he adds, "who really understood an audience. People who are much more interested in creating work which leaves a lasting impression. I'm much more interested in the resonance or haunting quality of the really good ones, and it'll be interesting to see if we've got one of those.

"There are a couple of things towards the end of the film where there's your requisite sort of special effects, bodies flying around and falling apart, and things like that. But that specifically comes about due to what's going 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 constant anticipation of a violent act, and that comes from good scriptwriting. The film also has a lot of humor, but it's intentional. It is a humor or irony in situation. Any humor comes out of the fact that the audience has invested a certain amount of emotional baggage with the characters, and if something 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 this movie that in the first 40 minutes or so there's only one violent act, and that's somebody sticking a pencil through somebody's hand. The rest of that time is spent leading up to something happening. You know something's got to happen, but nothing does. To me, that's much more effective, a kind of Hitchcockian approach to that sort of material. What's much more important is how you lead up to the act rather than the act itself. It's not what you see, but what you've dreaded seeing," he explains.
2 Yes
0 No
EdGross
5/31/2010

DISCLAIMER: This posting was submitted by a user of the site not from Earth's Mightiest editorial staff. All users have acknowledged and agreed that the submission of their content is in compliance with our Terms of Use. For removal of copyrighted material, please contact us HERE.

26 Comments

acer laptops have much brighter lcd screens compared to other brands,. bonus code

Edwardfoxx123 - 12/1/2019, 12:31 AM
After examine a couple of of the weblog posts in your website now, and I truly like your manner of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and might be checking back soon. Pls take a look at my website as effectively and let me know what you think. slot games

Edwardfoxx123 - 12/1/2019, 7:18 AM
Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to assert that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you access consistently quickly. cherry casino

robinjack - 12/5/2019, 12:23 AM
Regards for this tremendous post, I am glad I noticed this site on yahoo. casinoextra

Edwardfoxx123 - 12/7/2019, 8:00 AM
very good put up, i actually love this web site, keep on it dublinbet

robinjack - 12/8/2019, 11:17 AM
Hiya, I am really glad I’ve found this info. Today bloggers publish only about gossips and web and this is really frustrating. A good web site with interesting content, that is what I need. Thanks for keeping this web-site, I’ll be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can not find it. comeon casino

Edwardfoxx123 - 12/9/2019, 7:32 AM
It is very rare these days to find sites that provide info someone is looking for. I am glad to see that your blog share valued information that can help to many scaners. thank and keep writing! https://cam.prosoftstore.com/

peterseo - 12/9/2019, 11:32 PM
After study many of the content in your web site now, and i also truly much like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and are checking back soon. Pls take a look at my web page also and inform me how you feel. comeon

robinjack - 12/10/2019, 7:29 AM
It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or advice. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read even more things about it! comeon

robinjack - 12/11/2019, 6:22 AM
I got what you intend,bookmarked , very decent site. Lucky 31

robinjack - 12/12/2019, 4:18 AM
Yay google is my world beater assisted me to find this great web site ! . casino extra

robinjack - 12/14/2019, 11:08 PM
After study many of the content in your web site now, and i also truly much like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and are checking back soon. Pls take a look at my web page also and inform me how you feel. matka

Edwardfoxx123 - 12/17/2019, 10:44 PM
A powerful share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing somewhat evaluation on this. And he in actual fact purchased me breakfast as a result of I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! However yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I really feel strongly about it and love studying more on this topic. If possible, as you become experience, would you thoughts updating your blog with more details? It’s highly helpful for me. Huge thumb up for this blog put up! get backlinks

Edwardfoxx123 - 12/25/2019, 3:36 AM
Outstanding post, I conceive blog owners should acquire a lot from this blog its very user pleasant. verajohn

Edwardfoxx123 - 1/4/2020, 11:21 AM
I must test with you here. Which is not one thing I normally do! I enjoy studying a submit that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment! https://travelbudgetonline.com

robinjack - 1/15/2020, 5:45 AM
Great website you got here! Please keep updating, I will def read more. It’ll be in my bookmarks so better update! credit card thief

robinjack - 1/18/2020, 11:48 PM
Great website you got here! Please keep updating, I will def read more. It’ll be in my bookmarks so better update! password thief

Edwardfoxx123 - 1/19/2020, 11:16 PM
Great website you got here! Please keep updating, I will def read more. It’ll be in my bookmarks so better update! 먹튀검증

Edwardfoxx123 - 4/15/2020, 3:15 AM
you’re in point of fact a good webmaster. The website loading velocity is amazing. It seems that you’re doing any distinctive trick. In addition, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve done a great activity on this subject! Agen Asikqq

Edwardfoxx123 - 5/2/2020, 12:16 AM
you’re in point of fact a good webmaster. The website loading velocity is amazing. It seems that you’re doing any distinctive trick. In addition, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve done a great activity on this subject! 먹튀

Edwardfoxx123 - 5/14/2020, 2:29 AM
An fascinating discussion will be worth comment. I’m sure that you need to write much more about this topic, may possibly not certainly be a taboo subject but usually people are not enough to communicate in on such topics. To another location. Cheers Logopress3 2016 SP0.7 for SolidWorks 2014-2017 price

Edwardfoxx123 - 5/27/2020, 4:18 AM
Where have you ever found the resource meant for this article? Brilliant reading through I’ve subscribed for your site feed. link building services

Edwardfoxx123 - 6/4/2020, 12:44 AM
Normally I do not learn post on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to check out and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great post. 토토사이트

Edwardfoxx123 - 6/24/2020, 7:18 AM
An impressive share, I just now given this onto a colleague who had previously been doing little analysis about this. Anf the husband the fact is bought me breakfast simply because I stumbled upon it for him.. smile. So permit me to reword that: Thnx for your treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending some time to debate this, I find myself strongly over it and enjoy reading more about this topic. If possible, as you become expertise, might you mind updating your site with more details? It truly is highly of great help for me. Huge thumb up because of this text! 먹튀검증

Edwardfoxx123 - 6/27/2020, 11:19 PM
Normally I do not learn post on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to check out and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great post. online software buy

Edwardfoxx123 - 7/22/2020, 1:35 AM
you’re in point of fact a good webmaster. The website loading velocity is amazing. It seems that you’re doing any distinctive trick. In addition, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve done a great activity on this subject! youtube marketing

Edwardfoxx123 - 8/7/2020, 11:21 PM

Please log in to post comments.

Don't have an account?
Please Register.