Fright Night (1985)
Directed By: Tom Holland
Starring: Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, Stephen Geoffreys, Roddy McDowall, Jonathan Stark
Synopsis: Charley Brewster has all the normal troubles of a teenager, school, girls and his single Mom. Things get much more complicated when new neighbors move in and one of them turns out to be a vampire.
Thoughts: Has there been a better decade for vampire flicks than the 80s? Fright Night is one of many great flicks to come out of that decade and from what I can tell the first to be remade. Do yourself a favor and check out the original before going to see the remake. It’s a great blend of horror and comedy.
The characters and acting in Fright Night is top notch. William Ragsdale is near perfect as Charley Brewster, and while his character was unconventional, most horror fans know Stephen Geoffreys as Evil Ed. His easily recognized laugh, ridiculous haircut and signature phrase, “You’re sooooo cool, Brewster!” should be trademarked! Roddy McDowell is great as Peter Vincent, horror host and would be vampire slayer. He exuded Peter Cushing, so much so that I was just waiting for Christopher Lee to show up as Dracula. Speaking of vampires, Chris Sarandon gives us one of the best ever seen on screen. He doesn’t get the attention of Bela or Lee, but it was a great portrayal of a vampire. About the only role that I didn’t love was that of Amy, portrayed by Amanda Bearse. For some reason, she just came across as a little too annoying and I had a difficult time seeing her as an object of desire, for both Charley and Jerry. No offense, I just don’t find her all that attractive. Overall though, this was a great cast for a horror movie.
Tom Holland’s direction is great as well. Holland is a guy that should get more credit within the genre, both as a writer and as a director. It’s been awhile since he brought us anything, but I sure would like to see him direct something new. The fact that he brought us Fright Night and Chucky is impressive, and he also gave us to good, although lesser known, Stephen King adaptations (Langoliers and Thinner).
The special effects are great, utilizing practical applications with great success. There are some shots that require quick cuts, but honestly, I love the practical FX of the 80s. It just seems more “real” than the CGI of today. I really like how the vampires here have different “levels” of turning. They can simply bare fangs or go to a full-fledged monster.
Fright Night is a must see for horror fans. It is a perfect blend of horror and comedy, with a large dose of sex appeal to top it off. There are portions that may not have aged all that well (clothes, etc), but immerse yourself in the 80s and enjoy Fright Night, for real.