So, this is what Stephen Geoffreys did instead of reprising the beloved Evil Ed role for "Fright Night 2." Even though I really love this movie, I'm still not sure it was the right career decision. Some of you may or may not know that Geoffreys later went on to star in a number of gay pornographic films, and I've also heard numerous stories regarding drug problems which probably helped propel his downward spiral. I'm no authority on the guy's life, but part of me believes that the Ed character had become iconic enough even at that point to have sustained a legitimate career through a potential franchise. I also think that a lot of people really WANTED to see Ed come back for the sequel, and the majority of fans were put off by his lack of involvement. I can't for certain say what would have been, but I can't help but think that both the "Fright Night" sequel AND Stephen Geoffreys would have been better off together. Nevertheless, I really appreciate Geoffreys' desire to work with Robert Englund, who directed this film. Geoffreys has stated that this was his primary motivation for wanting to do this film. I often get the impression that very few actors who work within this genre are actually excited about it, so this is a refreshing piece of trivia that makes me love Geoffreys even more.
The film follows a bullied nerd Hoax (Geoffreys) who develops a Faustian relationship with a voice on the other end of a 976 number. Hoax's frustration builds as he's rejected by his cousin and idol Spike, embarrassed in front of his crush by the creeps who routinely shove his head in the toilet, and berated by his fundamentalist nut of a mother. Vulnerable and isolated, Hoax grows more dependent upon a 976 "horrorscope" number, which helps him enact his revenge against his abusers. But vengeance has a price, and soon Hoax finds himself a host to a higher power. The plot is similar in nature to the 1986 film "Trick Or Treat," except here our protagonist winds up too far down the rabbit hole to turn back.
Geoffreys is a genuinely unique actor and the real treat here. Not only is he legitimately funny at times, but he manages to seem both sympathetic and lovable while maintaining this weird brown bag pervert aura. He's creepy and yet completely lovable at the same time, and I honestly don't think any actor has ever been able to accomplish something like that. Even once he's made his transformation you still feel a certain sadness for the character. You want him to be okay even though he's made some horrible decisions and been totally corrupted by power. He still manages to let a little bit of the Hoax you love shine through the hideous cracks. Geoffreys is a one-of-a-kind who deserves praise for and recognition for his main stream work. It's a shame things didn't turn out differently.
Beyond several great performances, the overall mood, production design, and photography are distinctly strong for a film of this scale. This was an admirable directorial debut, and leaves me to wonder why Englund didn't do more, as he proved to be far more capable than many of the other directors he's worked with over the years.
Douchebag Cousin Spike returns for a bullshit sequel that's hardly worth seeing. A lot of people who peruse my collection are often surprised to see this title and request to watch it out of an affinity toward the original. While I do possess this tape, I will never in good conscience allow it to be screened. Seriously, it would take a keg to impair my judgement on the matter.