In an exclusive interview with Villain Media, artist Riley Schmitz talks about the horror and nostalgia behind Fright Night: The Peter Vincent Chronicles #0. Tom Holland’s Terror Time continues the popular cult classic with an all-new terrifying adventure featuring our favorite crucifix-wielding hero!
As we previously mentioned, Fright Night: The Peter Vincent Chronicles is a 24-page original comic book, based on a story by Tom Holland. The zero issue will focus on the adventures of Peter Vincent (originally played by Roddy McDowall). The story takes place immediately after the events of the first film, and serves as a bridge into future Fright Night comic books.
With Fright Night: The Peter Vincent Chronicles #0 available now, artist Riley Schmitz talks about bringing the popular vampire hunter to life in his illustrations. We’ll be talking about our love for the original film, balancing the horror and comedy, and that particular Easter Egg I spotted in the comic!
Villain Media: Because Fright Night captures the ‘80s, and there’s even a Bollywood remake, was it tricky to find a specific style in the artwork?
Riley Schmitz: It was incredibly tricky! And terrifying! With the Hellraiser Anthology, 1) I could hide behind far superior artists, and 2) Every story was different so I could do basically whatever was asked of me or do what I felt the story should look like. With Fright Night, I knew I needed to make it feel like the movie…but how do you achieve that? Well, by watching this movie over 50 times during the making of the book. That way, I could get a real handle on the style. I studied and over-studied this movie, and only broke the surface of it.
VM: I love how the opening starts with Peter Vincent on the television screen. It has that VHS grainy look. Tell me about recreating that nostalgic vibe.
RS: First off, thank you! It might be my favorite page because of that! I’m a huge sucker for grainy style VHS and for a long time have been trying to faithfully recreate it in photoshop. It seemed like another perfect opportunity to try my hand at it again.
VM: I spotted the easter egg of Child’s Play. Tell me which version of Chucky, whose had like 6 sequels already, you wanted to recreate.
RS: Getting to throw that easter egg in was amazing! But, I wouldn’t say he’s Chucky. He’s really more of a nod that character. But it is especially fun since I got to draw Tom Holland handling the doll in the comic!
VM: I noticed how Peter Vincent wallows around the set like a tired old man. But when the vampires attack, Vincent springs out like an action hero, like he feels younger again. Tell me about portraying these two sides of Peter Vincent.
RS: I wanted to be as faithful to the character in the movie as possible, so studying the way Roddy acted the part really helped in that. I studied his facial muscles, the way he moved, and his personality, and tried working with that as much as I could.
VM: Because the vampires have a specific look in the movie, was it tricky to put your own spin on the reference?
RS: Yes, absolutely! I didn’t want to outright copy the look of the vampires but I didn’t want to stray so far away that it no longer felt like Fright Night vamps. So I toyed around with a few of versions before settling on these designs.
VM: I love the vampire attack on the television set. There are moments where Peter Vincent is in utter danger and there are times where he hilariously has the upper-hand. Tell me about balancing the horror and comedy.
RS: Balancing horror and comedy feels sorta natural to me. I’m by no means perfect at it, but I genuinely love adding comedic elements to disturbing images. I find the juxtaposition hilarious. So that was my sensibilities and personality coming out full force.
VM: How did this project change you as an artist?
RS: Made me more stressed!!! Kidding of course. It really helped me understand colors more and of course advanced my abilities as a whole. I’ve already picked the issues apart, so next issue should be better!
VM: What are you working on now?
RS: Ah man, way too many things. Some coloring gigs, posters, personal projects, full time job and maybe the new Fright Night issues soon…just to name a few things.
Fright Night: The Peter Vincent Chronicles #0 is available for order exclusively from www.terrortime.shop.
[Writer’s Note: This interview has been edited for clarity. Links highlighted in bold.]