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Is it the 80's cheesiness (fashion, clichÃ©s, music)? It's impressive
F/X? The story? Who knows. Time made justice to "Fright Night", one of
the best vampire movies ever and probably the best of the 80's. When it
came out in 1985 the Slasher genre was on it's highest peak and as
Peter Vincent said to Charlie, "his generation prefers movies where a
masked looney kills virgin innocents" (or something like that). When
nobody cared about Vampires "Fright Night" came out with a tremendous
potential on it's story, actors, and make up; the basic elements that a
Slasher movie needs. The result is an entertaining, chilling, and very
well done horror movie better than expected.
*SPOILERS* Charlie Brewster an average boy finds out that his neighbor is a vampire. He has doubts until Jerry Dandridge his vampire neighbor appears on his bedroom and threatens him to death. Nobody believes Charlie and after a series of events not only his life is in danger but also his girlfriend's. Charlie finds in Peter Vincent, t.v.'s popular "Vampire Killer" character his only hope to save his girlfriend. In order to accomplish what he wants, Charlie and Peter Vincent will face the deadly Jerry Dandridge, his guardian Billy Cole, and their attacks.
ACTING. You can't go wrong when a great actor like Mr. Chris Sarandon carries the entire movie on his back with his performance. His character, Jerry Dandridge completely steals the show. Sarandon made the character. Roddy McDowall as Peter Vincent is a pleasure to watch. His character has an admirable quick evolution in the movie. First he's the vampire killer t.v. character that after meeting a REAL vampire knows what fear is like. Then after dealing with fear, he recovers faith and that makes him stronger in every aspect. William Ragsdale is good as Charlie Brewster, the teen main character in the movie. The boy that discovers that his neighbor is a real vampire but nobody believes him. Good character. Special mention to Stephen Geoffreys as Evil Ed for being one of the weirdest but likable characters ever to appear in a horror movie. His performance is truly evil and humorist. A nice touch. Amanda Bearse (from Married with Children fame) is also a good addition to the cast, she delivers an o.k. performance. Jonathan Stark as Billie Cole, Jerry's guardian, delivers a solid performance. This is one of the best casts that you can get from an 80's horror movie.
DIRECTION. The 80's craziness was never this creepy. Tom Holland makes a terrific job this time. This man is behind key horror movies from the 80's like "Child's Play" and the surprisingly good "Psycho II" among others. His camera work in "Fright Night" is great. He knew how to combine perfectly the 80's feeling (something that nobody has ever described for it's madness) with the Vampire movies basic rules.
The idea of watching a Vampire movie from the 80's could make you think the worst but luckily it's a great idea. Excellent job Mr. Holland.
F/X/SCORE/CINEMATOGRAPHY. The f/x and make-up are very ahead of it's time. You can't get better gore effects! The scene of Evil Ed's death (when he's a werewolf) is amazing. On it's time I'm sure that it shocked more than once. Also, Billy Cole's death and the ending are great scenes that will please the horror audience's eyes. Great use of gore and f/x. Enough said. The score is great. The 80's pop metal and club music fits perfect with the feeling of the movie. The club scene is something you haven't seen. In the tense and thrilling scenes the music works perfect. The cinematography is pretty good. The use of lightning on dark settings is very good. Watch the DVD version for a different experience. I love the lines from the movie. I can assure that "Fright Night" is something you haven't seen. Don't get fooled by the 80's big hair, laughable fashion, and clichÃ©s. The movie stands alone. Be prepared for a real FRIGHT NIGHT!
I would consider myself a film fan with somewhat intellectual
preferences and I have a passion for European art house pretentious
stuff, so when Fright Night was recommended to me I dismissed it in a
snobby "80s special effects vampire horror movie? A title that rhymes?
No, thank you!" kind of way.
HOWEVER, I have a feeling it may be the single best film I have ever seen, of any genre or time period. It has a witty script, fabulous special effects and some of the best acting I have seen, particularly Evil Ed later on in the film. There are moments of suspense, hilarity, tenderness (for example with Peter Vincent and the dying wolf) and believable every day life. This film didn't actually scare me but it did make me laugh very very hard.
A special mention must be made of Chris Sarandon as I think his performance really stood out. Evil is not as easy to portray in stories as people think, but Sarandon does the most believable evilness I think I have ever seen, coupled irresistibly with the sexiest seduction scene ever (is it wrong that I wanted him to win in the end because he was so gorgeous?). If vampires really did exist, I think they would be exactly like Jerry Dandridge, except maybe without the same scary 80s vampire mask and claws.
My advice is SEE THIS FILM, and don't have any preconceptions about it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I will start off by saying that I am a gigantic fan of Fright Night. It
all started when the film made its premiere on HBO. The one part that
stuck in my head (besides Sarandon's looks) was "Evil Ed's"
transformation from wolf to human. Scared the crap out of me. Well, a
couple years later, hitting sixth grade, I found the video at a video
store and fell in love with it all over again. A friend and I began
huge fans, buying Fangoria magazines and collecting the comic series. I
remembering making my parents rent the movie for me so I could watch
from evening till seven in the morning! Phew!
Now, some girls would have crushes on things like, New Kids On the Block. Not me! I was infatuated with Chris Sarandon's seductive performance as Jerry Dandridge. Hey, any woman would be nuts not to find this man hot. Definition of tall, dark, and handsome. He could of bit me in a neck and I would of never cared.
As I am at the age of 27, I still have my first and only copy of the film that was boughten for me on my 12th birthday, a tad worn but still plays. I have more of a appreciation for the movie. For all the actors and actresses.
I have the movie memorized, word for ward, even if I go like a year without watching it again. But recently I began to realize that the 20th anniversary for this great horror classic is coming around the bend. I had started a script myself, which I know will fail to be noticed, for such a special occasion. Bringing back all the characters from part one and two, except Peter Vicent since no one but Roddy MacDowall could do the part.
I just want everyone to know that Fright Night is the definition of the perfect eighties Horror film. It is original with it's characters, setting, and the all around story itself. But it also shows the hard work that had gone into it to create those undoubtedly, scarier then crap Dandridge, Evil, Amy, and Billy Coal transformations. Chris Sarandon himself stated it was hell to do the make up for the movie but his character was worth it. I would rather see a film with special make up effects then with the modern computer animation special effects. More work and artistic, hands on talent went into movies like Fright Night. That's why Fright Night stands out as a eighties classic vampire flick.
I personally would like to thank all the actors for the gift of entertainment when making the film. Also the brilliant minds and talented men and women who worked on the film. Fright Night is a movie that has fond memories for me in my child hood. Chris Sarandon will always be my first movie star crush. Dang, he is still hot today! I can't help but still imagine Jerry Dandridge as my perfect, eye candy neighbor.
I would recommend anyone to view this movie. Appreciate it as a art form of entertainment with the taste of horror mixed in there. Enjoy it and love it!
One final statement.....
LONG LIVE FRIGHT NIGHT!!!!!!!!!
Before I first watched Fright Night, I admit I was unsure about what to
think about it. All I knew about it was from what I had been told from my
Dad (though his likes/dislikes are generally on par with mine, they
sometimes border on plain stupid). But when I saw it to the end, I was
almost totally converted.
Although the beginning is a bit cheesy and reminiscent of stereotypical horror B-movies, it soon becomes clear that this is part of what makes Fright Night so original. All the typical horror film genres are there: horror, romance, comedy (well maybe comedy isn't a typical horror element); but what makes this horror flick stand out a mile-and-a-half from the rest is that it's a very offbeat tale. It's creepily cheesy but gets away with it because it's atmosphere is so good.
All this and I haven't mentioned the acting or special effects yet. Sarandon seems to give such an effortless performance as the vampire and as a result is almost perfect. I had thought of what a modern day vampire would be like before I saw Fright Night; but Jerry Dandridge just blew all these ideas away and has to be the coolest (and I don't often use that word) and sexiest vampire ever, and is one of my favourite movie villains. Roddy McDowall can't hold a candle to Sarandon but is still very good, and Stephen Geoffreys is one of the funniest and memorable movie characters ever to grace a film screen too.
The special effects are good for 1985 and unlike where in modern films the SFX are the main point in the movie, here they add to the already present chilling atmosphere. And although on the one hand, Fright Night is quite dated, it also captures the atmosphere and the essence of the 80s. The soundtrack is excellent for the film, but paradoxically not very memorable (apart from one or two good songs).
[I wish I'd been born before 1981 (maybe 1961) so that I could have lived in the late-70s and 80s, and would have memories of the best music from that time, and not the boybands/Beatles clones/dance ditties (not decent tunes mind) we have now.]
All in all an (almost) perfect film: watch it and you'll (most likely) enjoy it and watch it again and again.
While with his girlfriend Amy Peterson (Amanda Bearse) in his bedroom,
the teenager Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) sees a coffin being
transported to the house on the next door. A couple of days later, he
concludes that his neighbor Jerry Dandrige (Chris Sarandon) is a
vampire, who is committing some recent unsolved murders. Charley
decides to look for help first his friend Evil Ed Thompson (Stephen
Geoffreys), since the policemen do not believe on his accusation. Jerry
is upset and promises to kill Charley. Later, he meets Peter Vincent
(Roddy McDowall), a middle aged man, who is a vampire killer in a
television show but does not believe on vampires in the real life. Amy
and Ed seek out Peter Vincent, and the group tries to prove to Charley
that Jerry is not a vampire.
'Fright Night' is one of my favorite vampire movies, indeed a cult-movie in Brazil. I do not know how many times I have seen this film in my life, but yesterday I saw it on DVD for the first time and I was not disappointed, since the Brazilian DVD offers two choices (widescreen and fullscreen). There is just a trailer in the extras, but it suffices. Chris Sarandon is incredibly funny and sexy in this role; the movie has a perfect combination and timing of the genres of horror and comedy; the 'Van Helsing' of the story, Peter Vincent, is a fantastic joke with the names of the great Peter Cushing and Vincent Price; the special effects were state of art in 1985. My vote is nine.
Title ('Brazil'): ' A Hora do Espanto' ('The Fright Hour')
Note: on 14 January 2012, I saw this wonderful film again.
Why is Fright Night my all time favorite horror movie within the
vampire content? Well, simply because of the films actors and the story
In the past month or so I have had the chance to reminisce on the fact that I had always adored this movie. Sitting down and taking the time to watch it through again as I had once done years ago when Fright Night was my inspiration to dive into the horror writing area with great vampire characters with memorable appearance and expression. From the villainous immortal to the pathetic immortal.
Remembering my youth, not that long about, about close to twenty years ago I was introduced to Fright Night on a cable movie channel. The part I remembered the most was Evil Ed's transformation from wolf to man. Why that stuck out, probably played on my fear of werewolves (funny I know). As I got older I found that I was madly in love with the character Jerry Dandridge, just by the fact of Chris Sarandon's wonderful portrayal of the creature of the night. Just is seduction and sexiness. But also the fact that he was pure evil with all the vampire cunningness. Having the movie given as a birthday present at the age of twelve made my life peachy. Watching as much as I can.
Now as a adult I understand more about the movie. It's contents, the story line and the effort that was put into making it a graphic film with horror and terror.
Fright Night is a perfect example of the greatest of special effects for the 80's. It was battling against movies like Nightmare On Elm Street and others that played on fears. This is a classical story because it creates a modernized vampire and also shows what happens when a young teen gets nosey. With that, you think of what you might do when if a vampire lived nextdoor to you! But with all the actors and actresses, only one stood out from the rest. Chris Sarandon is a talented actor who deserves praise for his performance, which many seem to appreciate.
I think any person with a horror taste should take the time to watch this classic movie and see what is definitely the most original and breath taking movie of its time. I can go on and on about this movie, but I am limited. But the time is ended. Please, take the time and watch the movie if you haven't seen it or haven't seen it in a along time.
'Fright Night' is a movie that has stuck with me for years. Recently I
was able to get it on DVD and have been watching it and trying to
convince my friends to watch it ever since. It has it's flaws but time
has been kinder, I think, to 'Fright Night' than it has been to either
'Near Dark' or 'The Lost Boys.'
Chris Sarandon is great and charismatic in his role as the new next-door neighbor. He gives a deep performance and it seems like he's having a lot of fun in every scene. William Ragsdale isn't bad either as he tries with greater desperation and anxiety to convince people that the vampire exists and win allies to help him destroy it. My favourite performance comes from Roddy McDowall. Like Donald Pleasance later in his career, Roddy McDowell could reasonably be accused of acting in anything if there was a paycheck involved; this has damaged his reputation somewhat. I think 'Fright Night' and his performance as Peter Vincent definitely falls in the plus category rather than negative. He is great at hiding behind masks and is constantly performing for the other characters. As an actor, the part required versatility, compassion and depth. Had they been able, Peter Cushing or Vincent Price would have also played the part splendidly -- McDowell's character is of course a tribute to both these actors and I think that he was simply fantastic.
So many of the moments in 'Fright Night' compete to be my favourite but I think it comes in the final third of the film. Peter Vincent has run out of masks to hide behind and becomes a very tired, very frightened and very old man. Redemption isn't out of reach -- but he's going to have to work for it.
I mentioned earlier that 'Fright Night' has aged fairly well. There is decent gore and make-up so anyone looking for that will likely be satisfied. Music can kill films and age them more quickly than anything else. It works here where it might fail in other films.
The strength of 'Fright Night' though are it's performances and the sense of fun that it has. Definitive vampire film? No, but a lot better than many, many, many of the pretenders to that title. Rewarding, fun, and worth a look.
I incorrectly assumed this might be some dumb teen vampire flick when
it came out about 20 years ago, but that wasn't the case. It was simply
a very entertaining horror flick with a good mixture of suspense,
comedy and good special- effects. The kids - William Ragsdale, Amanda
Bearse and Stephen Geoffreys - are all excellent but the two adults -
Chris Sarandon and Roddy McDowell - steal the show.
Sarandon is very cool as the vampire; cocky, arrogant and smooth. He is easily the best character in the movie. McDowell does a nice job as the reluctant vampire slayer.
The special-effects are good and the film is played strictly for fun, even with the suspenseful scenes. In fact, it reminds me of the word "camp" because it's so hokey in spots. Yet the film definitely has its scary moments. Note: I watched this 3-4 times on the tape so I am familiar with most of the film and after seeing the DVD, I swear several short scenes are missing (such as Bearse's quick shower scene). I've never come across something like this before.
After all this years (20) of vampire slaughtering, Blade's karate Vs vampire flicks, or even Carpenter's Rambo characters, Fright Night still offers the scent of a classic. Tom Holland's masterpiece holds by itself because of a great cast and a plot that gathers every single cliché of the genre and plays a bit with humor and a lot of effective spooks. Roddy Mc Dowall steals the movie with his over the hill terrified looser character. Even special effects are bizarre today as they're a craftsmanship result giving some scenes a bizarre concept that takes you directly into Roger Corman's "B" world. A true pleasure to watch from time to time. Happy 20 years
For a time vampires were a big deal and were a big draw at the Box
Office. Hammer Films made numerous films about the undead and the US
made their share as well. But of course people's tastes change over
time and by the early 1980s vampires weren't nearly as popular as they
had once been. Then it was killers in masks and zombies devouring the
living that dominated the big screen. However, the sub-genre would
enjoy a resurgence the same way that films about werewolves did. Tom
Holland, who would go on to direct the first in the 'Child's Play'
series, wrote and directed a very hip and thrilling new take on the
vampire film. Over 25 years later it's still one of the best the genre
has to offer.
Pros: Amazing performances all across the board. Brilliantly written and directed by Holland. Stunning cinematography. Memorable score and fun 80s soundtrack. Fast paced from start to finish. Made with an obvious affection for the genre. Often very funny, including some snappy dialogue. Great special and make-up effects that have aged well. Even though there is much humor here, there are still some chilling sequences and images throughout.
Cons: Dated in some aspects. At times predictable.
Final thoughts: What Tom Holland has made here is a film that pays homage to the great vampire films and mythology while also effectively bringing them up to date. This is without question one of the most thoroughly entertaining Comedy/Horror films not only of it's time, but ever. It's a case of all the right ingredients coming together at the right time. Even 'The Lost Boys,' which is great in it's own right, doesn't match it.
My rating: 5/5
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