Though we only ever see the finished products, the process of getting a movie made is a whole lot more complicated than it may seem, and it’s not uncommon for studios to field pitches from a multitude of different filmmakers, before selecting the right man – or woman – for the job.
In 2011, for example, the entertaining remake of Fright Night hit theaters, though the journey to the big screen began a couple years prior – when several different writers/directors vied to be the one to bring vampire Jerry Dandridge back to life.
The most interesting unused pitch for the remake came courtesy of the filmmaking duo of Todd Farmer and Patrick Lussier, the men behind such films as Drive Angry and My Bloody Valentine 3D. The idea they pitched, laid out back in 2011 on Farmer’s personal blog, was to take a meta approach to the remake, their film set in a world where Fright Night was a Hammer film, rather than a show hosted by Peter Vincent.
“In our version Roddy McDowell WAS Peter Vincent,” reflected Farmer. “But Vincent had died of old age after a long distinguished career as the star of over a hundred Hammer Films. A handful of Peter Vincent’s movies had been remade by Jamie Lee Curtis and Tom Atkins. Her seductress Vampire Hunter and his no-nonsense detective sidekick. But even they were flirting with the end of their careers as their last remake, Fright Night 4D: Smell the Blood, didn’t do so well at the box office. Like many horror icons, they end up working the convention circuit.”
As outlined in their pitch, Charlie Brewster was to track down Jamie Lee Curtis and Tom Atkins (playing themselves) on the convention circuit, and team up with them in an effort to deliver the true death to Dandridge – and, as in the original film, save Amy from his evil grasp.
Originally pitched in early 2009, not everyone was on board with the smart meta approach, and though Farmer and Lussier were later that year given the chance to make the pitch once more, Dreamworks ended up going with Marti Noxon’s screenplay, making the film we all saw back in 2011.
If you love the idea of Jamie Lee Curtis and Tom Atkins kicking vampire ass as much as I do, you can read their full 10-page pitch over on Farmer’s blog. At one point, Atkins was to even become a vampire, which seals the deal on this being one of the coolest movies NEVER made!