With cult classic horror movies, a lot of time they are either a hit or a miss. Fright Night (1985) was a hit. I went in thinking that it may be just another corny, poorly written 80’s horror. All I knew before watching was it was about vampires, and there was one specific camera shot, that was cheaply made and done last minute that became the iconic image for the movie.
I turned the movie on, ready for whatever may come, and wound up not being able to pee my eyes away from the screen. Our main character, Charley (played by William Ragsdale), is a teenage boy living with his single mother. He’s an avid watcher of the show “Fright Night” which stars vampire killer, Peter Vincent (played by Roddy McDowall). So already, Charley has a little knowledge of the macabre, and warning signs of when someone may or may not be, a vampire.
Charley’s new next door neighbors, Jerry (played by Chris Sarandon) and Billy (played by Jonathan Stark), are nothing short of strange. Charley’s first glimpse he gets off his neighbor, is them hauling a coffin into the cellar. This sparks a very life threatening curiosity. When he informs his mother and girlfriend, neither of them really take him seriously, because it wouldn’t be a horror movie without everyone doubting the main protagonist.
Chris Sarandon did an amazing job on the main antagonist, Jerry. Giving him a calm and very suave demeanor. He’s almost a little cocky, which fits his character. I think his performance stood out the most in the movie, next to Roddy McDowall’s acting for the character of Peter Vincent, who played an actor inside of a movie, what a conundrum.
My favorite character throughout this movie though, was Evil Ed (played by Stephen Geoffreys). He provides the majority of the comedic relief, and his delivevery of the character was so unique, I don’t think that energy can every be matched again. He had a very dry but loud humor, and every word he said had me cracking up.
Fright Night stuck with the traditional meaning of a vampire, instead of contorting the rules in order for the vampire to bend and break them as he pleases. They stuck with garlic, holy water and crosses. That to me is what made this movie a perfect film, is sticking to a traditional recipe for a monster, but giving it enough of a spin to keep it interesting.
The acting on all fronts really brought Fright Night to life. Making it a perfect blend of spooky and funny, making this the perfect light-hearted Halloween season film. The sets and the makeup really drove this movie up into the high rankings of 80’s horror movies in my opinion, there was nothing that really fell short, and giving it that cheap feeling.
I had only one issue throughout the entire movie, there is one scene where Jerry attacks Charley, and pretty much destroys Charley’s house. When Charley’s mother awakes, she doesn’t really seem all that phased by the destruction in the house. Once Jerry goes home again, Charley sits down, turns on the TV and although freaked out, doesn’t really seem to be making a big enough deal out of the fact that he was just attacked, and his conspiracy of his neighbor being a vampire was just proven to him, right before his eyes. However, the remainder of the movie being as good as it was, it made that one issue not really a big enough issue to dock the movie any points.
If you’re looking for a good time, to be a little freaked out (but not too much) and get yourself a few good chuckles in, find yourself a copy of Fright Night (1985). 10/10, perfect score, a great horror film from the 80’s, and a movie I look forward to watching time and time again.