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Fright Night (1985 film)

A horror-comedy about a teenager who discovers his new neighbor is a vampire.

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Perhaps the Greatest Vampire Movie of all Time

  • Jun 11, 2007
Fright Night is a horror movie in its most simplistic form. A teenage boy named Charlie Brewster (William Ragsdale, "Herman's Head") believes that his next door neighbor Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon, "The Princess Bride") is a vampire. Of course no one believes him, especially his girlfriend Amy (Amanda Bearse, "Married with Children") and his buddy "Evil" Ed (Stephen Geoffreys, "Heaven Help Us"). Oh by the way, Evil Ed's classic line in this movie is, "Oh you're so cool Brewster."

Amy and Ed are concerned about Charlie's well being and figure humor his claims that his neighbor is a vampire. So Amy and Ed go to speak to Peter "The Great Vampire Killer" Vincent (Roddy McDowall, "Planet of the Apes"), a burnt out horror movie star turned late night T.V. show host for campy horror films (mainly his own). Charlie is a huge fan of Peter Vincent's work and conceders him a hero. This is why Charlie's friends seek Peter out. On the flip side, Amy and Ed are thinking Charlie's imagination is running amuck about Jerry because of all of his Peter Vincent viewing. Anyway I digress; Amy and Ed talk to Peter about their friend Charlie and the obsession that Jerry is a vampire. Now how two teenage kids are able to convince a movie star (burnt out or not) to speak with their "potential" insane friend, still befuddles me. Anyway, after some pretty definitive proof, it is discovered that Jerry REALLY IS A VAMPIRE! Charlie's confirmation is now fact and the other characters are quite shocked at this finding.

I will not give away any details or spoil this flick for anyone who hasn't seen it yet. Fright Night is really a fun movie and yes it does have some creepy and scary parts to it. I will also add that the movie has some pretty good special effects, they really aren't that cheesy. This movie was also made in 1985, which is the zenith of the 1980s, however this movie really doesn't seem dated. As a matter of fact, it is quite possible this movie is as relative today as it was back in 1985. The one part of the movie that could be abased for having a 1980s flare is the night club scene. There is the peachy music, "colorful" outfits and the hair sprayed hair. Then again, 1980s fashion is somewhat neo in these contemporary times, so it might not seem so dastardly. Ultimately, this movie isn't overshadowed by the fact that it was made in the 1980s.

Now when I say that this is the best vampire movie ever made, that is exactly what I mean. This movie has nothing to do with Dracula it is a basic vampire movie, so any comparisons with a Dracula is dubious. Hence Fright Night it is a marvelous vampire movie, not a marvelous Dracula Movie.

The acting in this movie is also really good; Chris Sarandon is smooth and suave as a vampire. He makes being a creature of the undead look like a lot of fun. Roddy McDowall is awesome as Peter Vincent (I love the throwback to Peter Cushing and Vincent Price in the character's name); he is dichotomy in his grapples with believing in vampires and faith. I think this was a bold performance by McDowall. William Ragsdale did a good job as Charlie. He looked a bit older than a 17 year old teenager, but then again this type of realism isn't why I am watching Fright Night. If that was the logic, then Elizabeth Shue was way too hot to be a hooker in Leaving Las Vegas. Consequently, these are the little persnickety thoughts I place into the box labeled "it is only a movie". Amanda Bearse was also fine as Amy, being both reserved and sexy. Stephen Geoffreys was also quite vexing in a jovial sort of way in his performance as Evil Ed. I also like how Jerry's "roommate" looks like a Xerox of Bill Paxton. Did anyone else notice that or was it just me?

As for the DVD itself, it is presented in letterbox/widescreen. There are several subtitles that can be utilized, so it is foreign speaking friendly. The original preview/trailer is included, which is somewhat a disappointment. It seems rather a mundane promotion for such a great movie. Nevertheless, it is cool that the trailer itself is included on the DVD.

Fright Night is great horror movie period. It also spawned a pretty good sequel in Fright Night 2. However, Fright Night stands fine by itself and I wish future vampire movies would use this movie as a paradigm. Mainly by having a basic story, good characters/acting performance and special effects that don't totally rely on computer graphics. Overall, a timeless piece of horror cinema which I am sure will still be enjoyed for many years to come.

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October 22, 2011
I liked this, great review.
October 12, 2011
This had its charm and cleverness for its time, I liked it before as a teen. For some reason Ididn't care for it after I saw it again.
October 12, 2011
It is funny how this happens sometimes with movies; upon the first viewing you enjoy it. Then watching it a second time the film just doesn't sit well. This is how I felt about "Good Will Hunting". First time I saw it, I really liked it. The second time I really didn't care for it. Not that GWH has anything to do with "Fright Night". The Straw Man
More Fright Night (1985 film) reviews
review by . October 19, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
***1/2 out of ****     "Fright Night" is what 80's horror cinema was all about; having fun without being overly dumb. To impress an intelligent audience, one had to actually WRITE a film and THINK about what made films such as this one work. I believe that "Fright Night" works because its writers were well-researched, and its director, Tom Holland (of "Child's Play" fame) knew - at the time - how to craft a well-made work of seemingly effortless entertainment. This is now one …
Quick Tip by . December 10, 2011
Welcome to fright night for real....super corney but funny and entertainingbat the same time. Riddled with crappy acting and 80's movie themes it made a good addition to my vampire movie collection.
review by . June 07, 2010
Flicking through the channels last night I stumbled upon Fright Night, a movie I have seen dozens of times, but not recently, and I was thrilled to stay up late to see it yet again.        I love vampire movies but so many can be way too gross (I like gross, but scary is better) and ridiculous, and of course a little sense of humor along with it makes it even better for me.  This was one movie that has thrilled me no matter how many times I've seen it.   …
review by . May 17, 2009
Fright Night is a horror film based upon the ever popular vampire genre that was making a come back during the 80's.   A nosy "kid" cast an wandering eye on the new neighbors. The suave handsome man and his weaselly looking buddy strike an eerie nerve within him, making his skin crawl. He's knows something is not right with the new people next door. Foolishly, he begins to snoop around the old house and discovers things that he shouldn't have. Charlie Brewster is his name, his best friend …
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Joshua E Hoppock ()
Ranked #101
It is rather brisk in this field. The leaves are descending like a tapestry of aloof dreams. The wind entices these leaves into a plume of whimsical billowing ontological paradox. Then I recall that I … more
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About this movie



Director: Tom Holland
Genre: Horror
Release Date: August 2, 1985
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Tom Holland
DVD Release Date: September 7, 1999
Runtime: 106 minutes
Studio: Columbia Pictures
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