Horror Movie Review: Fright Night (1985)


“Welcome to Fright Night! For real.”

Fright Night is a 1985 American horror film written and directed by Tom Holland and produced by Herb Jaffe.

Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) is a fan of both traditional horror films and a horror TV series entitled Fright Night, hosted by former movie vampire hunter Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall). One evening, Charley discovers that his new next door neighbour Jerry Dandrige (Chris Sarandon), is a vampire. Charley tries to tell his mother and asks his friends for help. In desperation, he contacts the police, but they believe that he is imagining things and ignore his claims after revealing his suspicions to them.

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That night, Charley gets a visit from Jerry, who offers Charley a “choice” by forgetting about his vampire identity, but he refuses by using his crucifix on Jerry. When Jerry stops Charley and slowly tries to push him out the window to his death, he stabs Jerry’s hand with a pencil. Enraged, Jerry destroys Charley’s car in retaliation and threatens Charley that he plans to do much worse to him later.

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Charley turns to Peter Vincent for help, but Peter dismisses Charley as an obsessed fan. Charley’s girlfriend, Amy Peterson (Amanda Bearse), fears for Charley’s sanity and safety, resulting her hiring the destitute Vincent to “prove” that Jerry is not a vampire by having him drink what they claim is “holy water”(which is really only tap water). Vincent discovers Jerry’s true nature after glancing at his pocket mirror and noticing Jerry’s lack of a reflection, causing him to accidentally drop and smash the mirror. Vincent then flees, but Jerry learns of his discovery after finding a piece of his pocket mirror on the floor.

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Jerry hunts down and turns Charley’s friend, “Evil” Ed Thompson (Stephen Geoffreys), into a vampire. Evil then visits Vincent and tries to attack him, only to be warded off when injured by a crucifix. Meanwhile, Jerry chases Charley and Amy into a club.

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While Charley is trying to call the police for help, Jerry hypnotizes and abducts Amy who bears a resemblance to Jerry’s lost love (whom Jerry has a painting of). With nowhere left to turn, Charley attempts to gain Vincent’s help once more.

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Will Vincent get the courage to help? Can Charley save Amy? You’ll have to watch to find out, but trust me it’s worth it.

Fright Night is a classic, one of the best vampire movies ever made and for good reason. Not only is it the perfect mix of 80’s cheesiness and awesome special effects but it’s got a great story and all-round cast. Chris Sarandon obviously steals the show as Jerry, because, just look at him

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He plays the role of a seductive vampire extremely well. But the others are excellent in their own right and all have extremely quotable lines. The soundtrack itself fits the movie perfectly, really helping mix the 80’s feel and thrilling scenes. Overall, I cannot praise this film enough, I could watch it dozens of times without feeling dissatisfied. The make-up and effects hold up well to this day and Evil Ed still looks awesome as fuck. My only criticism is that Jerry is defeated pretty quickly, which is disappointing. You’d think a vampire of his age couldn’t be tricked as easily but apparently not.

Fright Night
  • 9/10
    The Final Score - 9/10
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