I’m using today’s Fangs God It’s Friday to pay tribute to actor Anton Yelchin. The young actor who achieved his greatest acclaim for playing the part of Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot died this past Sunday in a car crash. He was only 27-years-old.
He performed in dozens of films, including the 2011 remake of Fright Night, in which he played the lead role of Charley Brewster.
The film faced an uphill battle with many fans of the original unconvinced a remake was needed. The updated version with Yelchin brought a modern spin to the original story. Among the most notable changes was altering the part of Peter Vincent from a late night TV horror movie host into a Las Vegas magician which was played brilliantly by David Tennant (and featured in a previous Fangs God It’s Friday).
For the part played by Yelchin, perhaps the biggest change that caught my attention in the trailer was that this Charley Brewster answered the threat of the vampires by getting armed for war. He goes shopping and buys several weapons, including a crossbow and some protective clothing. He also breaks into the vampire’s house after searching online how to pick a lock. The level of resourcefulness and intelligence demonstrated by Charley worried me a lot at the time. I feared the remake might tread too far into the territory I planned to claim in my vampire hunter novel, Gidion’s Hunt. I’d finished writing my book before the film was released and was shopping it around with publishers and agents during the time of Fright Night‘s release. After seeing the film, I was relieved to find that my modern interpretation of a teenage vampire hunter took a much different route.
I enjoyed the remake of Fright Night a lot, and Yelchin’s take on Charley definitely helped with that. He brought an enthusiasm to every part he played, and the joy for his work made it near impossible for the audience not to enjoy watching him at work. The news of his death came just a month before the release of his third film as Ensign Chekov in Star Trek: Beyond which arrives in theaters on July 22nd.