Taking a Bigger Vampire Bite in New Fright Night
Fright Night is not only tailor made for 3-D, but is also ripe for the remake picking. Yes, even though Tom Holland's Fright Night from 1985 is a revered classic of camp and horror, Craig Gillespie (United States of Tara) has re-imagined it in a fun new post-modern way with the help of a witty script by Marni Noxon (Mad Men and Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
The film was shot using the 3-D rig by Paradise that incorporates two Red cameras. In fact, the longest shot (11 minutes), a highway attack, relied more on motion control than CG, though Pixel Magic and Shade replaced parts of the car with CG and added lots of compositing and color correction.
The trick was looking photographed until the wild climax, where the CG really kicks in. Luma Pictures did the bulk of the 400 or so shots, with lots of help from Pixel Magic, Digital Domain, Shade VFX, Eden FX, Entity VFX and Hammerhead.
Although Howard Berger's famed KNB FX group constructed an effective prosthetic vampire mouth, Luma augmented it with CG and even full CG work. "Craig had a very clear idea not only about how he wanted to use the teeth in their final position, but also how he wanted them to roll out," explains Joe Bauer, the production VFX supervisor. "He wanted it to be as disturbing to look at as possible and make you recoil. It ended up being quite an accomplished mouth rig for Amy [Imogen Poots], and we wound up using a variation of it for Jerry [Colin Farrell] when he transforms during the highway chase sequence. Otherwise, it's a pretty simple two-layer composite.
"But Luma created the stage four look for Jerry. It goes just fangs to the most bat-like extreme. Aside from the mouth and de-vamping shot, they had to move bones around under the skin and make it appear that he was fundamentally changing his form, which was pretty heavy CG lifting."
Speaking of 3-D, Steven Spielberg added a more dramatic shot when Jerry takes a bite out of an annoying teenager in the pool and he releases a cross. "We have a shot looking up in the cross part of the metal that is tumbling down through the water and toward camera," Bauer explains. That's an effective 3-D moment by Shade."