release date: 1985“Apparently your generation doesn't want to see vampire killers anymore, nor vampires either. All they want to see is slashers running around in ski masks, hacking up young virgins,” says Peter Vincent, the fired host from the show, Fright Night on late night TV to Charlie Brewster who tries to recruit Vincent to help kill the vampire who has moved in next door.
Fitting that Vincent says that in a movie released during the time when movies like Halloween sequels, Friday the 13th, and imitation films saturated the box office in the eighties. And in this film being a throwback to cheese-tastic vampire films of yesteryear, the picture worked in using all the conventions of vampirism appealing to teenagers at the time.
The plot is pretty simple. Charlie Brewster notices his new next door neighbor, Jerry Dandridge (played by sexy as hell Chris Sarandon), is a vampire but no one believes him, not even his girlfriend Amy Peterson (young Amanda Bearse of Married with Children fame) and his best friend, “Evil” Ed Thompson (Stephen Geoffreys – 976-EVIL). Charlie recruits the famous “Vampire Killer” Peter Vincent (awesome Roddy McDowall) to dissolve Jerry before it’s too late.
The make-up effects in this movie hold up extremely well for this time period; in an era where CGI effects have replaced the creativity make-up artists used for monster pictures like this, I miss the puppet prosthetics that petrify me even though inside, I’m aware it’s all make-believe. John Bruno, the visual effects supervisor, did a phenomenal job with the make-up in this flick. There are bat, wolf, and vampire transformations that will knock your socks off or at least make you think these creatures look kool anyway.
This film is a great throwback to classic vampire lore in a modernized twist (at the time) and holds the test of time. Before the remake comes out later this year, revisit the original. Fright Night will not disappoint.
For your enjoyment -