Friday, May 22, 2009

Know your lgbt history - Fright Night

What the heck just happened today. It's supposed to be the start of a quiet holiday weekend and suddenly news items are coming in like gangbusters:

California Supreme Court to rule on Proposition 8 Tuesday

Let's keep our fingers crossed that whatever the outcome may be, it will work out for our community in the long run.

But onto the post:

For my money, the best vampire movies are the ones which embrace the homoerotic aspect of the vampire legend.

There have been several which have done this (The Hunger, Dracula's Daughter) but my favorite was the 1985 flick Fright Night.

In Fright Night, high school student Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) discovers that his next door neighbor, Jerry Dandridge, (Chris Sarandon) is a vampire. Brewster enlists the help of a B-list actor, Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) to stop Dandridge before he and his friends (Amanda Bearse and Stephen Geoffreys) become the vampire's next victims.

It wasn't a bad movie, but one particular scene  led to one of my biggest childhood crushes.

Dandridge corners one of Charley's friends in a dark alley but rather than attack him Christopher Lee style, Dandridge practically seduces the boy into allowing him to bite his neck.

I wonder how Sigmund Freud would decipher the scene:

Many of Fright Night's cast members have places in lgbt cinema history.

Chris Sarandon (the vampire) received an Oscar nomination for his motion picture debut as Al Pacino's pre-op transgender boyfriend in Dog Day Afternoon.

Amanda Bearse (Charley's girlfriend and the damsel in distress) became an lgbt icon when she came out while starring in the long running television show Married With Children.

Jonathan Stark (who played the vampire's attendant) later became a television writer and shared an Emmy award for co-writing the landmark episode of Ellen in which Ellen DeGeneres's character came out.

Roddy McDowall (Peter Vincent) - had been dogged for years about rumors of his sexual orientation.

And even the object of my crush, Stephen Geoffreys (you really didn't think I liked the vampire, did you) cemented a dubious place in lgbt film history by starring in several pornographic movies.

He has since made a comeback to horror movies. I saw a recent interview with him and he can still get my motor running. As a matter of fact, if he ever popped up at my front door, I'm conking him over the head and dragging him to Massachusetts, Iowa, or Vermont; whichever state is closer.

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