“I have a vampire living next door to me — and he’s going to kill me if I don’t protect myself.”
A teenager (William Ragsdale) who is convinced that a pair of vampires (Chris Sarandon and Jonathan Stark) have moved in next door struggles to get his girlfriend (Amanda Bearse) and annoying best friend (Stephen Geoffreys) to believe him. They humor him by going to visit the “vampire-killing” host (Roddy McDowall) of a TV show known as “Fright Night”, asking McDowall to convince Ragsdale that his fears are unfounded — but are they?
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Horror Films
- “No One Believes Me!”
- Roddy McDowall Films
This affectionate homage to Hammer Studios’ horror films of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s starts off on a somewhat corny note, but builds to an appropriately gruesome conclusion. Sarandon is sexy, seductive, and scary in the lead villainous role, perfectly cast as a sultry vampire who can easily charm his way through life; it’s not hard to see how/why:
(MINOR SPOILER ALERT)
… both Geoffreys and Bearse ultimately fall under his spell.
Much less convincing is McDowall, who displays only a couple of different expressions throughout the film, seemingly stuck in a perpetual state of shock and disgust (and his terrible hairpiece is awfully distracting):
To the film’s credit, it’s highly atmospheric, and features a number of pretty spectacular special effects for the time. It was followed by a sequel, a remake, and a sequel to the remake, and has maintained a small cult following — but it isn’t must-see viewing for all film fanatics.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Chris Sarandon as Jerry
- Atmospheric cinematography
- Fine special effects and make-up
No, though it’s worth a look if you’re curious.
2 thoughts on “Fright Night (1985)”
⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Effective, funny, sexy, creepy vampire yarn and one that redefined the look of vampire cinema from this point on; the heavy prosthetic look we’ve had to suffer from since (I prefer the very human appearance seen prior).
Still, a splendid film with McDowell and Sarandon giving wonderful turns and the rest of the cast are likeable. If you’re a student of horror, must see; general FF, no. Very good film though. The sequel – Fright Night, Part II (1988) – is almost as good and the two 21st century remakes are fun as well.
Mildly diverting (occasionally over-done or annoying) “He’s a vampire!” popcorn flick, generally photographed well in an ’80s fashion by DP Jan Kiesser (who had recently filmed ‘Choose Me’).
Once the set-up is in place, the film begins to slide into something somewhat-tiresome for what seems a long period (the film might have benefitted from having about 15 minutes cut to make it a tighter, 90-minute flick) – but there’s some lively action near the end, with some impressive effects.