Directed by Tom Holland [Other horror films: Child’s Play (1988), Two-Fisted Tales (1992, segment ‘King of the Road’), The Langoliers (1994), Thinner (1996), Tom Holland’s Twisted Tales (2014), Rock, Paper, Scissors (2017)]
Perhaps one of my favorite vampire films, Fright Night is a lot of fun and sets a high standard for a modern-age vampire story, and does a great job in a subgenre of horror often stuck in the 1950’s.
The story is, of course, a lot of fun, and really has that 80’s vibe that sticks with you (most noticeable during the scenes right before and during the club sequence), and the characters too are mostly memorable also. I’m somewhat lukewarm when it comes to William Ragsdale’s performance, but Chris Sarandon, Roddy McDowall, and Stephen Geoffreys all do great. I don’t really understand Evil Ed’s character, but McDowall’s great performance as Peter Vincent more than makes up for small issues insofar as casting was involved.
As far as special effects go, Fright Night has a lot to boast about, as there’s few scenes here that don’t look pretty solid. Melting vampires, multiple transformations, a great wolf-to-man transition, the movie has a lot going for it. Two scenes in particular really impressed me, one being Evil Ed’s first attack on Peter Vincent, and then the death of Jonathan Stark’s character, what with the rapidly deteriorating body. Even Evil Ed’s second attack on Vincent (“His dinner’s in the oven!”) was great, and somewhat emotional also.
Not everything in Fright Night works, but to be honest, most of what doesn’t do it for me are smaller things (such as Ragsdale’s acting). I do adore the ending of the film, and absolutely love McDowall’s somewhat complicated character, and for these reasons, and others, Fright Night has long been one of my favorite vampire movies, definitely one that any fan of 80’s horror should check out if they’ve not done so already.
This classic vampire film was covered on Fight Evil’s seventh podcast by Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and myself, which you can listen to below.