Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday Treasures: Fright Night

I love horror movies.

Especially vampire movies. If they're well-done, I can't get enough of 'em.

There are many very good ones that I enjoy, but always at the top of my list is Fright Night.

Released in 1985 (good heavens, was I really only fourteen when I saw this?), Fright Night tells the story of Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale), a typical American high school student who discovers that his new neighbor, handsome, sophisticated Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon--Prince Humperdinck and Jack Skellington himself) is a centuries-old vampire.

He attempts to convince his best friend, fellow horror movie buff "Evil" Ed (Stephen Geoffries) and girlfriend Amy (Amanda Bearse, who went on to become Marcy on Married...With Children) that his neighbor is a blood-sucking fiend. Of course, they think he's insane.

To help cure his "delusions", Ed and Amy enlist the help of Charley's idol, Peter Vincent (the always wonderful Roddy McDowell), the aging star of sixties-era, Hammer Horror-like vampire movies. Vincent, who has just been fired from his job as host of a late-night horror-movie tv show called--appropriately enough--Fright Night, readily agrees to be paid to help.

Of course, they eventually become believers, and Dandridge attempts to keep his secret, seeking to make Ed a minion, Amy his bride, and Charley and Peter dead.

Fright Night is a fond tribute to my beloved Hammer Studio horror films of the sixties and the subsequent late-night television shows that kept them alive (both of which I love dearly, and will certainly be future installments of T.T.).

It was followed in 1988 by Fright Night Part 2, which wasn't as good as the first, but still very fun in its own right. The first film is easily found on dvd, but part 2 has been out of print for years, and is very difficult to come by.

In Hollywood's efforts to mine its past successes for inspiration, the inevitable re-make has been announced for an October, 2011 release. While I remain cautiously optimistic about it, it can never replace the original.

After all, they'll never be able to replicate Sarandon's Dandridge, standing at the top of his ornate staircase, mocking the frightened would-be vampire killers:

"Welcome to Fright Night...for real."

Thanks for reading my ranting,



  1. I absolutely LOVED this movie. I remember watching it when I was about...eight (even though it came out a year before I was born). Sad that this movie didn't scare me, but Labyrinth did. Lol.

  2. I don't think Fright Night was supposed to be scary; it's more campy and cool than anything else.
    Labyrinth had some freaky stuff in it and was scary in a childhood-fairy-tale kinda way. To me at least.
    But nothing gets me like the Skeksis from Dark Crystal. They still freak me out.

  3. Even more than the Sleestak from Land of the Lost, Brad? Yeah, now that I think about it the Skeksis are much worse.