Fright Night (1985)
Release year: 1985
Directed: Tom Holland
Screenwriter: Tom Holland
Starring: William Ragsdale, Chris Sarandon, Amanda Bearse, Roddy McDowall, Stephen Geoffreys, Jonathan Stark, Dorothy Fielding
Ratings: 3 Saturn Awards: Best Horror, Best Supporting Actor (Roddy McDowall), Best Writing
Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) is a big fan of the show “Fright Night” hosted by supposed vampire hunter Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall). So when he discovers that next door neighbour Jerry Dandrige (Chris Sarandon) is a vampire and on top of that, interested in Charley’s girlfriend Amy (Amanda Bearse), it seems only logical that he approaches Vincent for help.
So many years after and this just still entertains. While the soundtrack is marked by the decade with drums and electric guitars, the casting is brilliant and give enthuastic performances and there are several excellent touches to balance out the less effective elements. Sarandon (The Princess Bride, 1987) is one of the stars of the show. His vampire oozes seduction while managing to creep you just enough out. Some of the small touches, like the constant apple eating and the fact that Amy resembles one of Jerry’s former loves, was ideas brought into the movie by Sarandon and they contribute to making Jerry a fuller character as opposed to a cardboard horror villian. Ragsdale (The Reaping, 2007) and Bearse (The Doom Generation, 2005) are good as the teenagers, both convince especially in scenes where they are brought to extremes. Ragsdale hits a perfect note as the boy made brave by his teenage hormones and though Bearse is struggling in the beginning of the movie she seems to gain more life as she losses blood and she really shines when in the hands of the vampire. The other star to steal the show together with Sarandon is however McDowall (Planet of the Apes, 1968) who valses in with an obvious false grey haircolour and brings that extra spice to the movie that raises it to cult with his vampire killer who is actually just a frightened actor. His performances brings so much heart to the movie that it manages to beat the dated soundtrack and his charming Peter Vincent might just be the one person you can really relate to.
The character Peter Vincent is named for two actors well-known for their appearances in horror movies:Peter Cushing (Dracula 1958) and Vincent Price (The Bat 1959).
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Picture copyright: Universal Sony Pictures