Horror Film Review: Fright Night (1985)

Horror Film Review: Fright Night 1985
Turtlenecks are a vampires best friend.

Director: Tom Holland
Starring: Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Roddy McDowall, Amanda Bearse and Stephen Geoffreys
Duration: 106 minutes

You’re probably wondering why I haven’t already watched this classic vampire movie, but it’s purely down to time, and the ever-growing list of films to watch. I go through stages where I fall in and out of love with the concept of vampires, but after watching Fright Night it reinstalled my lust for the bloodsuckers. This comedy horror reminds us why you should always believe your friends, and never introduce your girlfriend to suave, sexy and sophisticated monsters.

Charley Brewster loves horror films, and in particular he loves the show Fright Night, that features Peter Vincent hunting and killing vampires. When Charley acquires two new neighbours, he begins to notice that they have suspect behaviour, such as carrying coffins and body bags around in the dead of night. After a few close call incidents with Jerry Danbridge, the big bad guy, he tells his girlfriend, Amy, and friend, Evil Ed, that he’s living next to vampires. Of course, no one believes Charley, so they enforce the help of Vincent to pretend to disprove the fangful theory, yet they soon realise Charley isn’t just crying wolf.

Fright Night is the perfect example of how comedy horror should be executed. I’ve never been a huge lover of comedy horror, because it’s often poorly put together, and the ratio of comedy to horror needs to be just right. There’s also the aspect of needing to keep the film fairly scary in places. Anyway, enough moaning. The whole film envisages the atmosphere of cheesy b-movie 80s horror films, but not in a cringe way, in a really sleek and cool way. The film encompasses that aura of feeling highly uncomfortable and being very wary of your surroundings, which is the exactly how Charley feels living next to the enigma that is Jerry Danbridge.

Horror Film Review: Fright Night 1985
Similar to when your Nan tries to give you a kiss…

Danbridge is almost (I say this because Dracula and Lestat) the perfect vampire; he’s got that breath-taking demeanour, full of power and lust. There’s no wonder Amy mercilessly falls into his arms – I would! He has a clear way with the ladies, even twinkling those dreamy eyes at Charley’s mother and making her succumb to the false truth that he’s just their overtly handsome new neighbour. Obviously, once he’s transformed into blood munching mode he’s pretty darn frightening. Nope, I would not let that deformed and slimy mouth come anywhere near mine.

The other character to pick up on is Evil Ed, who is the single most hilarious character I have seen in any film ever. Period. “YOU’RE SO COOL, BREWSTER!” I honestly had that, and his face, going around in my head all night and I just kept laughing. If I could create my ideal mate, it’d be Evil Ed. What’s even more brilliant is SPOILER once he’s bitten and turned, he’s still funny as fuck as a disfigured beast with some nasty cross scarred into his forehead.

Considering the date on this film – it’s definitely getting on a bit – it has aged terribly well, especially the SFX. No, we’re not talking cunting Twilight vampires with sparkly bits (WHAT THE HELL GUYS!?), we’re talking torn, stretched and cracked mouths, crammed full with razor sharp teeth just gagging to sink into your fleshy neck. We’ve all seen fangs, but these are the fangs of something truly evil. There’s a slight variation between the overall vampire look after they’ve been bitten, but generally it’s grotesque and hideous – kind of like when you look beside you after a night out. Instant “get the fuck away”. The make-up is by far some of the most unsightly looking transformation design, and it’s awesome!

Horror Film Review: Fright Night 1985
He gets pissed when you call him Evil Ed!

It did leave me a little bewildered, but purely because I know they remade this film in 2011 and it starred Colin Farrell, David Tennant, McLovin and some other famous people. WHY? After watching this, there was absolutely no reason what so ever to remake it… Sarandon might not be the best of lookers nowadays, but Farrell just doesn’t cut it as Danbridge in my eyes.

As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed Fright Night for more than just a couple of reasons. The SFX, characters, atmosphere and also the comedy was well constructed and the whole film flows overall. Sometimes you’re just after something to watch that gives you some pleasure and isn’t tough, gross or boring in places, but still has horror. I’d highly recommend watching this ASAP. I’m genuinely disappointed with myself that I left it so long before actually watching this.

Verdict: 4 out of 5

31 Replies to “Horror Film Review: Fright Night (1985)”

  1. Great review!!! And guess what? I’ve not seen this! I know what you mean entirely, so many films and so little time! But I do have it on DVD now, so I really have no excuses.

    They keep showing the remake on BBC3, I watched a bit the other day but it didn’t hold my interest. “McLovin” – lol! we always have to call him that!!

    Really loved your review, especially the love for Danbridge, you’ve really made me want to watch this!

    1. Thank you Emma, much appreciated! Well, if you have it on DVD you best get watching!
      I’m just not a lover of remakes! Hehe, we can never not call him McLovin – poor bloke! I don’t even know his actual name lol! Danbridge is beautiful, I was like oh helloooo! Let me know what you think of it!

  2. Hey! This isn’t the review I was expecting! Tease!!

    Love it, though! Not my favorite movie but it’s not the worst either. Great stuff!

    #tease
    #kidnap
    #purposefulrubbing

      1. I’ll be back!!!

        #always
        #yesyesyes
        #rubrubrub

      2. Love it!

        #rubrubrub
        #squeakyclean

      3. #youvegotyourselfadeal
        #addshosetotheplan
        #squeezesqueezesqueeze
        #purposefullingering

      4. #checkanddoublecheck
        #purposefulnods
        #squeakycleangropes

      5. #soapytits
        #yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahbuddy
        #purposefultagsaboutboobs
        #boobs

  3. One of the few vampire flicks I enjoyed alongside “30 Days of Night” I’d rather have primal looking vampires than a bunch of GQ guys with pointy teeth.
    True the effects look dated but still a real charm to them, much like Carpenter’s “The Thing” and in these times of crappy CGI, there is something just so nostalgic about old school effects.
    Evil Ed is possibly also one of the few characters who actually becomes even cooler when he turns and becomes a vampire.
    Great review

    1. Funnily enough, I think 30 Days of Night is one of the most frightening vampires films. Exactly! Vampires aren’t meant to be models who don’t want to get a little blood on them.
      Agreed, The Thing and films such as Bad Taste, have dated but charming effects. Nothing will ever come close to old school effects. CGI just looks so false and pretentious, I prefer not-so-perfect SFX.
      Evil Ed is brilliant! Yeah, usually they’re not fun as vampires but he is πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much!

  4. I haven’t seen this one either. I feel so inadequate all of a sudden, haha. I will watch it just to see that charming vampire who obviously beat Lestat and Dracula. Great review indeed!

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