Fright Night (1985)
July 3, 2022 8:30 PM - Subscribe

Teenage Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) is a horror-film junkie, so it's no surprise that, when a reclusive new neighbor named Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon) moves next-door, Brewster becomes convinced he is a vampire. It's also no surprise when nobody believes him. However, after strange events begin to occur, Charlie has no choice but to turn to the only person who could possibly help: washed-up television vampire killer Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall).

Written and directed by Tom Holland (not that Tom Holland, the guy who directed Child's Play). Rated 92% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
posted by DirtyOldTown (15 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Charley pressures his girlfriend for sex until she nearly cries, ignores her, convinces her it was all her fault, peeps on naked women next door, and is just generally a little shitbag.

The overall story holds up, if you can look past those 80's-isms. McDowall is and has a blast. And Stephen Geoffreys is such an unnerving little weasel.

The one part that didn't age well is the third rate John Carpenter ripoff soundtrack with the gates drums. Holy hell, it's bad.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:42 PM on July 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Amy's horrible face makeup was actually the original design for the big scare shot of the library ghost at the beginning of Ghostbusters, but it was deemed too scary for the role and shelved until being reused here.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:48 PM on July 3, 2022 [2 favorites]

I have somehow never seen this movie. Out of curiosity, if I was to watch only one, how does the 2011 remake with David Tennant and Colin Farrell compare? Bearing in mind I don't have much affection for 80-isms, am wondering if the remake shaves those off to actually make it a better bet.
posted by Hartster at 2:02 AM on July 4, 2022

I have zero interest in ever re-watching this because it was a VHS tape we borrowed repeatedly as kids to watch and in my memory it is an absolutely gothic queer sexual romp.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 4:22 AM on July 4, 2022 [3 favorites]

This was a pretty good 1980s "puppet horror" flick. Cool practical effects. Yes, it's dated but worth a watch. I saw this in the theater as a teenager.

I saw the remake at some point when it was released on DVD (Netflix) and it was completely forgettable. I remember it as being oddly self-serious.
posted by SoberHighland at 4:41 AM on July 4, 2022

The original is a queer horror classic, with tons of queer subtext and queer actors, and a lot of fun to watch: "In a sense, Fright Night is really about two coded gay characters dueling for Charley’s soul." The guy who played Evil Ed (whose arc is basically "I'm a bullied closeted queer kid") later went on to do gay porn.

The remake loses everything that made the first one so good, including all the queer stuff.
posted by mediareport at 4:47 AM on July 4, 2022 [5 favorites]

This is pretty good on the subtext stuff, but a search turns up lots of others.
posted by mediareport at 4:50 AM on July 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

Absolutely some of it doesn't age well but it's still a classic for a reason. (I mean, as an adult, I can now see the gay subtext, especially the odd handyman.)

I liked the "remake" but it wasn't a patch on the original. Definitely some good stuff in it but personally it was a waste of David Tennant, but an excellent use of Colin Farrell's seedy charm.
posted by Kitteh at 6:24 AM on July 4, 2022

Although I haven't seen this since it came out and wouldn't track it down just to see how it's aged, I remember it as one of those movies from the eighties that wasn't part of some big franchise or cinematic universe, just fine on its own. (Yeah, there was a sequel and a remake, both of which I was quite happy to ignore.) Although I don't think it figures in the movie proper, Amanda Bearse later came out, I think around the time that she was in Married With Children.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:05 AM on July 4, 2022

I think the remake is extremely forgettable and stripped of most of the interesting stuff of the original film, which as others have mentioned, is a queer horror classic. Worth your time even if you find the Boomer nostalgia tainted 80s insufferable. Also the sequel, in my opinion, isn't the greatest but it does have some charm and good will carried over from the first.
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:37 AM on July 4, 2022

You know, I am really fond of the sequel! I love all the various flavours of vampires in it.
posted by Kitteh at 7:51 AM on July 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

It's wild seeing all of the people point out how queer this is. I saw it when I was like 12 and that absolutely did not register. It sure is on rewatch, though.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:48 PM on July 4, 2022 [3 favorites]

I loved this movie, and I definitely think I’m due for a rewatch.
My vague memory of the remake was that David Tennant was playing Russell Brand, but that may just have been the wig, and not the performance. I would have loved him to channel Roddy McDowall. I liked what I got okay. I’ve been meaning to rewatch that one, too.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:35 AM on July 5, 2022

All I remember from this movie is Amy's dress. I was at an impressionable age.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 10:08 AM on July 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

My vague memory of the remake was that David Tennant was playing Russell Brand I think he was supposed to be more of a Criss Angel type of character.

I LOVE the original and was very skeptical of the remake, but I actually enjoy it. It was written by Marni Noxon who has experience with reinterpreting the vampire myth from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:08 AM on July 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

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