Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fright Night (1985)

Fright Night
Released: 1985
Director: Tom Holland
Starring: Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, Roddy McDowall

Plot (taken from IMDB):  For young Charlie Brewster, nothing could be better than an old horror movie late at night. Two men move in next door, and for Charlie with his horror movie experience, there can be no doubt that their strange behavior is explained by the fact that they are a vampire and his undead day guardian. The only one who can help him hunt them down is a washed-up actor, Peter Vincent, who hosts Charlie's favorite TV show, Fright Night. Vincent doesn't really believe that vampires exist, but does it for the money... 

Story wise, Fright Night is damn near perfect. It came out at a time when, as the Peter Vincent character put it, people "prefer a movie where a masked loony kills virgins". At the time this was true, with movies like "Friday the 13th" and "Nightmare on Elm Street" dominating the box office. This story knew what it had to be, and it capitalized on its strengths. It has a good story flow as well, there were no dull points, and there was always something happening on screen. 

The cast of the film is as great as its plot. An actor like Chris Sarandon playing a vampire was perfect. He could be charming one minute, and intimidating the next. William Ragsdale did a great job as teenager Charley Brewster and Roddy McDowall brought an old school Hollywood feel to the Peter Vincent character, which made it feel authentic and added quite a bit to the film. My one complaint with the cast was Amanda Bearse, at times her performance felt forced and it hurt a few scenes in my opinion.

For its time, Fright Night also had some great effects. They didn't look too cheesy and were well done. Also it's interesting to note that the prosthetics used for Amy's vampire form were originally going to be used for the library ghost in Ghostbusters, but was decided against as it wouldn't fit the tone of the film. 

Fright Night is my favorite vampire film of all time. I would go so far as to say that it's the best vampire film of the 80's, with  "The Lost Boys" coming in at a close second. It's the best kind of horror film, because it's fun even when its scary. If you haven't seen it, check it out. 

Final Verdict: king of 80's vampire films


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