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'Fright Night' slays 'Barbarian'

By Matty Jacobson
On August 23, 2011

"Conan the Barbarian"

I honestly thought nothing could be worse than the original film starring The Governator. I was wrong.

I think whomever made this film was trying to trick me into seeing a torture porn film on the level of "Saw." It worked. I went into this film expecting an adventure epic that was full of cheese and sure to please.

It delivered on the cheesy part, but it hardly pleased.

Jason Momoa, of "Baywatch: Hawaii" fame, plays the title role. He's a chiseled piece of art, for sure. But even his good looks and ridiculous physique don't make up for his bad acting and the film's horrible script.

The movie opens on Conan being born via C-section when his mother's womb is cut open in the middle of a bloody battle. And no, that's not the most disgusting thing in the movie. It only sets the tone for the needless gore that's to follow.

As he grows up, Conan becomes a warrior wannabe in the shadow of his father, Hellboy. Wait, I meant Ron Pearlman. But his battle training and sword-making lessons fall short when an evil warlord played by Stephen Lang comes to town and kills Hellboy.

So Conan's quest is to avenge the death of his father and stop the invading warlord Khalar Zym from becoming a world-dominating wizard. Because, lo and behold, invader Zym is searching for pieces of an ancient mask that will make him all-powerful, and it just so happened that the last piece was in Conan's village.

Did I mention invader Zym has a daughter, and she's a witch?

Rose McGowan as witch daughter Marique was the only element of this movie I liked. And that's saying something for the film because even her acting was below par. Maybe it's because I loved her in "Jawbreaker" and subsequently everything else she's done has been gold to me.

Don't see "Conan." It was a waste of my money, and it'll most likely be a waste of yours. And that's coming from a person who tries to see every movie for what it is and enjoy it anyway. That just didn't happen here.

Sorry, "Conan." Your friendship request is not only denied, but I'm also reporting you. You must be stopped.

"Fright Night"

Thank heaven I saw this film because it washed the horrible taste of "Conan" out of my mouth.

Jerry Dandridge the vampire returns in this excellent remake of the 1985 forgotten classic of the same name.

Anton Yelchin plays Charlie, an ex-nerd turned popular kid who is having troubles with his old best friend and his brand-new neighbor. His old buddy Ed, played by the incredibly underrated Christopher Mintz-Plasse, is convinced Charlie's new neighbor Jerry, played by Colin Ferrell, is a vampire.

Of course Charlie doesn't believe him. What's worse is Charlie's mom, played by one of my favorite actresses of all time, Toni Collette, is starting to flirt with said vampire/neighbor.

Unlike the 1985 version, this one doesn't take half the film to get to the point. Charlie, his mom and his girlfriend (Imogen Poots) are all convinced of Jerry's vampire status within the first 20 minutes.

Charlie seeks help wherever he can find it, and eventually goes to local Criss Angel-type magician, Peter Vincent (a very funny Peter Tennant). I was enamored by Tennant's portrayal of the Vincent character. I was leery at first because I didn't think anyone could successfully take the place of Roddy McDowall. But Tennant pulled it off.

"Fright Night" takes no time cutting to the chase. Literally. In no time at all the audience is witnessing Charlie, his girlfriend and Mom being chased down by Jerry. There's even a cameo by Chris Sarandon (the original Jerry) during a minivan chase scene in the desert outside Las Vegas.

I loved this movie. I'm accepting "Fright Night's" friend request, and I'm going to suggest it to all my other Facebook friends. Bravo!

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