IF YOU LOVE BEING SCARED, IT’LL BE THE NIGHT OF YOUR LIFE.
17-year-old Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) discovers that his new neighbor (Chris Sarandon) is a vampire, but no one believes him, except perhaps a legendary vampire hunter… on TV. The 1980s clashes with the Hammer horror movies from the ‘50s and ‘60s; Roddy McDowall’s character is reminiscent of two Hammer icons, Peter Cushing and Vincent Price, and he’s great. Director Tom Holland’s basic premise is fun and his movie never takes itself too seriously; Sarandon is also having a grand old time as the dashing bloodsucker. That changes near the ending as the horrific but creative visual effects set in, but the movie doesn’t go overboard.
1985-U.S. 105 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Herb Jaffe. Written and directed by Tom Holland. Visual Effects: Richard Edlund, and others. Cast: Chris Sarandon (Jerry Dandrige), William Ragsdale (Charley Brewster), Amanda Bearse (Amy Peterson), Roddy McDowall (Peter Vincent), Stephen Geoffreys, Jonathan Stark.
Last word: [“Fright Night”] was one of the best creative experiences of my life. Columbia Studio, then headed by Guy McElwaine, supported me and did not interfere in any way with the making of the movie. I also did not have to change a thing in the script. It was my first movie and I have never had such a supportive creative experience since. I think it’s because FN was an afterthought, a low budget movie that was filler. The studio didn’t expect anything from it.” (Holland, Cinemart)