Chris Sarandon as Jerry Dandrige
|Created by||Tom Holland|
|Portrayed by||Chris Sarandon (1985) |
Colin Farrell (2011)
|Relatives||Regine Dandridge (sister)|
Jerry Dandrige is a fictional character from the Fright Night, a vampire who first appears in the 1985 film Fright Night portrayed by Chris Sarandon, which was later spun-off into a comic book series that used Sarandon's likeness. Dandrige, portrayed by Colin Farrell, also appears in the 2011 remake, in both of which he is the main antagonist. The original screenplay and film credits spell his last name "Dandrige", but some secondary sources, including the makers of the tie-in comics, use the spelling, "Dandridge" (with a third "d").
Fright Night (1985)
Jerry Dandrige, along with his undead servant Billy Cole, moves in next door to teenager Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) and his divorced mother. Charley begins to suspect Dandrige is a killer after seeing a news report about a murdered woman whom Charley had seen in Dandrige's house, and the boy later makes the horrifying discovery that Dandrige is a vampire while spying on him through a window. Danridge soon learns about Charley's investigation of him and threatens his life, which leads Charley to seek out a TV host named Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) to help him find a way to kill Dandrige. Jerry notices that Charley’s girlfriend Amy resembles his deceased lover, and falls in love with her. Jerry kidnaps Amy and turns Charley’s friend Evil Ed into a vampire, telling Charley that the only way to rescue her is for him and Vincent to enter Jerry’s home. Unbeknownst to them, he has already transformed Amy into a vampire. Peter and Charley kill Billy and Evil Ed, before confronting Jerry. The two vampire hunters manage to stall Jerry until dawn, and then smash the walls of his cellar to allow sunlight to enter, which burns Jerry into ash. With Jerry dead, Amy is cured of her vampirism.
Fright Night (comics)
Aside from using the alternate spelling of his name, the comics remain consistent with the original film. After his death, Dandridge's ashes are collected by the Legion of the Endless Night, a powerful vampire organization. With the aid of a witch and using the body of an all-star NBA player named Moves Wilson, the Legion is able to resurrect Dandridge, who is now blessed with the ability to withstand the rays of the sun. As the Legion falls apart, Dandridge flees to France and begins to amass his own legion of vampires, beginning with a Parisian prostitute named Lili.
Fright Night (2011)
The character also appears in the 2011 remake of the film, also called Fright Night. Neighbor Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) comes to suspect that Dandrige is a vampire and responsible for the disappearances of several neighborhood residents.
In other media
Jerry Dandrige is portrayed as classic-type vampire who drifts from town to town to feed on the blood of living human victims. In both 1985 and 2011 film versions, he has all the ordinary powers that vampires in both contemporary literature and screen have, which includes superhuman strength and speed, sleeping in a coffin by day, not being able to enter a person's private house without an invitation, turning into a vampire bat, being repelled by crosses and holy water, and can be killed by either sunlight or a wooden stake through his heart. In the 1985 version, Dandrige is said to be over 1,000 years old and comes from a long-extinct vampire clan based in Europe. In the 2011 version, Dandrige is said to be at least 400 years old and belongs to a similar extinct vampire clan based on an island in the Mediterranean Sea. In both versions, he has a vampire form of gray, scaly skin, red-colored eyes, and rows of sharp teeth and sharpened fingernails that he hides with handsome human features. In the 1985 version, he has a part-human, part-ghoul companion and daytime protector named Billy Cole who travels with him. In both versions, Dandrige appears reluctant to kill and feed on human blood. He clearly does not take any pleasure or satisfaction in killing people to drink their blood, but he seems to accept it as his means of personal survival. On top of that, Dandrige will do anything, including committing murder without feeding on blood, to protect his secret. In one scene of the 1985 film, when Dandrige confronts and threatens to kill Charley Brewster for spying on and investigating him, Dandrige offers to spare Charley's life by giving him a one-time-only chance to keep silent about him being a vampire and of his recent kills, a lifestyle that Dandrige claims not to have a choice in the matter himself. The 2011 version portrays Dandrige in a more sinister and less sympathetic light than in the 1985 version, as the Dandrige in the 2011 film keeps his victims (mostly female) alive in a secret section of his house, where he feeds on their blood on a nightly basis, even after they slowly evolve into vampires themselves. In the 1985 version, Dandrige decapitates (off-camera) his victims as mercy killings so they will not turn into vampires themselves after he feeds on their blood to spare his victims from living an undead life of being a murderous vampire as him.
In the original film, Jerry Dandrige has been variously interpreted as gay, bisexual, and "metrosexual". Literary critic John Kenneth Muir noted instances in the original film in which Dandrige and his human-slave protector are posed in potentially sexual positions. These include a scene in which Dandrige's male companion and daytime protector, Billy Cole, kneels before Dandrige. Cole is dressing a wound Dandrige has received on his right hand, but Muir found the position reminiscent of fellatio. Dandrige's speech to "Evil" Ed Thompson, in which Dandrige convinces Ed to become a vampire, is also cast in the language of homosexual seduction. Ed is placed in a physically submissive stance, and Dandrige speaks of Ed's outsider status in language that echoes the outsider status of homosexuals in the 1980s.
Anthropologist Paul Clough and cultural critic Jon P. Mitchell characterized Dandrige as "beautiful but strange" and a man interested in seeking out relationships with young boys and young girls. Dandrige introduces Charley to homosexuality, bisexuality, and through his victims, prostitution. They called Dandrige's actions a metaphor for sexually transmitted diseases in general and HIV in particular.
According to Fright Night editor Kent Beyda, writer-director Tom Holland deliberately set out to insert homosexual imagery and themes into the film. He confirmed that the scene in which Cole goes to his knees in front of Dandrige was intended to evoke homosexuality as part of Holland's intent to explore every sexual aspect of the vampire myth.
- Scribd - Fright Night (1985) Script
- Moby Games: Fright Night
- Muir, John Kenneth (2013). Horror Films of the 1980s. Mcfarland. ISBN 0786455012. , p. 445
- Clough, Paul and Jon P. Mitchell (2001). Powers of Good and Evil: Moralities, Commodities, and Popular Belief. Berghahn Books. ISBN 1571813136., p. 198
- Muir, John Kenneth (2013). Horror Films of the 1980s. Mcfarland. ISBN 0786455012. , pp. 445–46