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Face-Off: Fright Night Vs. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

02.18.2015by: Mike Catalano
The decision seemed to be split down the middle on the results of our last Face-Off. While there was no doubt that Terminator 1 and 2 were both the best in the series, peeps were pretty opinionated as to which one was the champ. Many cheered the first one's grittier look and storyline while others stated how incredible the second one looked and improved upon the first. Regardless, it is quite clear that both flicks are going to be very tough for Terminator: Genisys to top.

Today's Face-Off's inspiration stems from the awesomely well-received new vampire comedy What We Do In Shadows, which just opened in limited release this past weekend. We are pitting two classic, yet different, vampire comedies up against each other and letting the blood fly! So, sharpen your stakes, throw on a garlic necklace, and bite into Fright Night Vs. Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

Young Vampire Slayer
Charlie Brewster definitely has the build of an unlikely vampire slayer. He's a tad scrawny, a tad quiet, but he does have a cute little girlfriend. And said girlfriend is what truly forces him to take action and start kicking vampire butt! With a little help, he is able to find the courage to take down Jerry, the head vampire, and save his lady.
Buffy has vampire slaying in her blood, even though at first she doesn't know it. However, once her watcher throws some training and a little knowledge at her, she becomes a vampire destroying machine. Every punch, kick, and stake is executed at such perfection and it is a joy to behold. Proof that girls can kick monster butt!
Old Vampire Slayer
Roddy McDowall's Peter Vincent has become an icon in the horror community. The whole "former movie vampire hunter turned late night horror movie host" persona is just fantastic. He's also super knowledgeable and handy with a crucifix and wooden stake. And when a desperate kid comes to him with a vampire-related problem, he has the good sense to trust him and help out.
Donald Sutherland is wonderful as Merrick, adding a nice touch of class to the film. He's an excellent leader and sticks to his guns when Buffy has trouble believing she is who he says she is. He's also very adept at lending a stake whenever he and the Buffster are overrun with bloodsuckers. He even bravely lays down his life in defense of her.
Laughs
Fright Night offers nice injections of humor between all the vamping out. Evil Ed definitely scores plenty of laughs from his geeky voice and persona. Roddy McDowal's goofy tv host/vampire hunter is so gloriously out there, you can't help but chuckle nearly every time he's onscreen. All the interaction that stems from Charley accusing Jerry of being a vampire has plenty of hilarious moments as well.
Thanks to writer Joss Whedon, Buffy comes loaded with fun, witty laughs. With a title like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there had damn well better be some good comedy. Kristy Swanson does a nice job of mining her valley girl character for lots of good chuckles. Luke Perry also brought his comedy A-game as her would-be love interest. Lastly, Paul Reubens, yes Pee Wee Herman himself, is a hoot as the head vamp's first minion in command!
Scares
There are definitely plenty of frights in store here as the title suggests. Creepy/suave Chris Sarandon and some nifty special effects will certainly send them chills down your spine. There's also some great shocks the first time Jerry appears in Charley's bedroom and when Evil Ed visits Peter Vincent's place. The grand finale inside Jerry's home also amps up some great intensity!
Buffy lends itself more to the comedic angle which lightens up any potential scares. None of the vampires are overly creepy either and kind of just pop up without much intensity. With that said, there are a few nighttime attacks that could elicit some slight jumps here and there. And Rutger Hauer certainly knows how to strike fear in one's heart.
Head Vampire
Jerry Dandrige, played perfectly by Chris Sarandon, is a vampire for the ages. Suave, sophisticated, cool, intense, and deadly. He's capable of handling anything and fears nothing. And, of course, he is one frightening son of a bitch. He's also scary as hell when in full vampire mode. And when he picks up that bouncer at the club and just tosses him like a rag doll, it is completely bad ass.
Rutger Hauer was an inspired choice to play head vampire, Lothos. He's a smooth character, but also packs quite a bite. Even though he remains pretty composed throughout the flick, you just get this feeling that there's no way in hell you'd ever cross him. Even when he's playing the freakin violin during a fight scene! However, he does seem to get killed rather easily.
Fright Night
There you have it! The Fright takes down the Buffy! The battle was a tad tighter than I actually thought it would be. I know Fright Night is heralded as an all-time classic, but sometimes I feel that poor Buffy gets a little underrated. That's probably because the television show that came forth five years later was so incredible. What do you think? Which vamp comedy is your fave? Bite the bullet below! And feel free to send any future Face-Off ideas to me at mikecatalano@joblo.com

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