It’s inevitable there’s a remake of this 1980s horror favourite (made in 2011 with Colin Farrell) – inevitable in that every horror film gets remade eventually. Fans of the original, a surprise hit in 1985 and written and directed by Tom Holland, will no doubt stand loyally by the version they very probably rented on VHS over 25 years ago, and here’s their chance to see it again. A simple enough set-up: high-school horror fan Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) becomes convinced the family’s new next-door neighbour (a charismatically evil Chris Sarandon) is a vampire. Nobody believes him: his mom, his girlfriend, the police… so he calls in a white-haired vampire hunter (Roddy McDowall – tremendous value). Much of it will seem tame now, the pre-CGI special effects slightly jerry-built, and the “cool” soundtrack a bit naff. However, the suspense and shocks are ageless, and when Sarandon creepily hypnotises Ragsdale’s girlfriend, Amanda Bearse, in front of a roaring fire, it’s like Twilight but decades ahead of its time.
Panned by critics at the time, this ambitious epic about the American War of Independence from the director of Chariots of Fire is still worth a look. OK, Al Pacino’s dodgily accented dad out to save his boy might raise a smile, but never mind the Method, check out those battle scenes. Sid Owen (three years before becoming Ricky from EastEnders) plays the son.
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