Welcome...to...Fright....Night. Fer real.
I remember when I first saw this film...oh, how it scared the Jesus Christ out of me. I was all of 13 years old and my mother instilled a fear of vampires in me if I ever attempted to stay up past midnight. Well...one night I watched this little gem about a teenage boy named Charlie Brewster who finds out that a vampire named Jerry Dandridge, played wickedly by Chris Sarandon, has moved in next door to him and tries to tell everyone only to find that no one believes him. Let's just say that I didn't see the other side of midnight until much later in life.
The film screams 1980's and is filled with relics from the decade including acid washed jeans, big hair and the cheesy dance club scene. It's a vampire film from a time when original ideas were still very much a part of film making. After no one believes poor Brewster, he enlists the help from a horror movie TV show host played by the legendary Roddy McDowall. There's all kinds of fun stuff like the scene where Peter Vincent (McDowall) goes over to Dandridge's house to test him with a "holy water" drink. It's a really fun scene and plays off some tension with good solid acting.
Fright Night is a really cool film and a personal favorite of mine. Compare it to any Twilight film and you'll see the quality vs. crap factor emerge easily. It's a shame that films aren't really made like this any more. And although the remake had many good things going for it, ultimately it fell short in the quality factor due to stupid CGI and poor character choices. Colin Farrell was pretty damn awesome, tho.
There's a scene when Brewster's friend, Evil Ed, played by renowned gay porno star Stephen Geoffreys, confronts Peter Vincent and it's a really scary scene. He plays Evil Ed in such a "spit in your face" manner that when the lines are delivered with fangs in his mouth...it's really a bit disturbing. It's been said that both Geoffreys and Roddy McDowall couldn't stand one another during filming and it sort of shows in this particular scene.
I will always love Fright Night and even with the remake in existence, it has remained a classic entry into the vampire lore that sprinkles a bit of originality into the old monster fable. It has great elements of humor and an unrelenting 80's vibe that will surely ease the fright of a vampire moving in next door to you. And most of all...the film has heart. Director Tom Holland, who also helmed Child's Play and wrote Psycho II, does a fine job of giving the film the soul that it needed to become a great genre fixture.
Be sure to catch it this Halloween season as a return visit into the golden decade of horror.
4 out of 5
Thanks for reading,
Rest In Peace fearless vampire killer...