Fright Night (1985)
It's Alright for a Fright
Sweetie, what about your nightmare? Do you want a Valium? - Judy
Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) is a pretty typical teen; he has two things on the brain, sex and horror movies but unfortunately his fascination with horror is bigger than his fascination with sex. When one night he sees his new neighbours carrying a coffin in to their basement he is convinced that not only something sinister is going on but that they are vampires. Unfortunately no one believes Charley when he tells them that their are vampires next door and so resorts to getting in contact with Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) a former b-movie horror who has just been fired from his horror show and needs money. Knowing a bit from the horror movies he starred in Peter agrees to help Charley with the neighbours, for payment of course.
Back in 1985 when "Fright Night" came out I was 12 going on 13 and to be honest at that age I hadn't really got in to watching horror movies yet. As such there are many horror movies from the 80s which I have ended up watching for the first time out of context as in years, even decades after they were released. I mention all this as it is almost 30 years since "Fright Night" came out and having just watched it for the first time I can only say that whilst it entertained I can see why there are many, especially those who saw it back in the 80s thought it was great.
The thing is that there isn't anything really wrong with "Fright Night" as we have the humorous horror of the teenage Charley having to deal with his neighbour being a vampire. Seeing Charley walk through his house with a small cross in his hand is amusing just as much as Charley being a typical teen who gets awkward around a sexy woman. We also get the obligatory humorous buddy for Charley who was a mainstay of 80s horrors and plenty more. But whilst I can appreciate that it has all the ingredients it didn't draw me in as other 80s horror movies have.
Having said that "Fright Night" features two seriously entertaining performances with Chris Sarandon giving us a sexy, confident vampire seducer whilst Roddy McDowall is just as much fun as a washed up b-movie actor who will do the vampire hunter thing for money. These two performances combined with some entertainingly and intentionally cheesy special effects make it entertaining even when it doesn't blow you away.
What this all boils down to is that I can understand why many love "Fright Night" especially those who watched it back as teenagers during the 80s. But for me whilst entertaining it didn't blow me away as it has others.
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