American horror movie, released in 1985. It was written and directed
by Tom Holland. The stars included Chris Sarandon as Jerry
Dandridge, William Ragsdale as Charlie Brewster, Amanda Bearse as
Amy Peterson, Roddy McDowall as Peter Vincent, Stephen Geoffreys as
Evil Ed Thompson, Jonathan Stark as Billy Cole, and Dorothy Fielding
as Judy Brewster.
Basic plot: A new guy moves into the old
house next door to teenager Charlie Brewster's house, and Charlie
becomes convinced that the new owner, a nice, friendly guy named Jerry
Dandridge, is a vampire. He tries to convince his semi-girlfriend
Amy and his weirdo friend Evil Ed about it, and they scoff at him.
He tries to convince Peter Vincent, a former actor and the host of a
late-night horror show, and he gets humored but ignored. And of
course, Jerry really is a vampire, and he has to get rid of Charlie and his friends to keep his secret safe...
suppose this would technically be a horror-comedy, and though there
are some awfully funny bits in the film (and though it's clearly
aimed at the gore-loving high school audience), I still think of
this as an excellent horror movie, with some extra pieces of unusual
characterization. The standouts in the cast are McDowall's washed-up
actor, playacting the bravado and confidence of the vampire-hunters
he used to portray until collapsing into a whimpering puddle when he
meets the Real Deal; Geoffreys' Evil Ed, bouncing from snickering
dork to terrified victim to gleeful monster -- his death scene is
among the best in a horror movie, equal parts horrifying and tragic;
and Sarandon's suburban bloodsucker -- a nice, thoughtful, polite
guy, a smooth seducer (his scene with Bearce in the dance club is
both sexy and suspenseful), and an evil, relentless killer. The
conclusion isn't as good as the rest of the film (like far too many
horror films, it devolves into special effects and pyrotechnics),
but the characterization, acting, and story make this one a
One of the things that seems so remarkable about this movie -- years
after watching it and completely missing all of it -- is the strong gay
subtext that runs through the story. Charlie's mother immediately
assumes Jerry is gay, not least because he has a live-in carpenter
companion and has a fondness for scarves. Jerry very blatantly
seduces Evil Ed, who literally embraces the vampire when he tells him
"I know what it's like being different. Only they won't pick on you
anymore. Or beat you up. I'll see to that. All you have to do is take
my hand." The fake vampire-hunter Peter Vincent (named for both Peter
Cushing and Vincent Price) is played by Roddy McDowall, an actor who
has played more than one gay-coded character in the past.
And though it certainly wasn't planned by the film's creators, it is
at least interesting that Stephen Geoffreys, who played Evil Ed, later
worked in gay porn, and Amanda Bearse came out years later as a lesbian.
"Fright Night" was followed by a sequel a few years later, but it's
completely skippable. A 2011 remake starring Colin Farrell, Anton
Yelchin, David Tennant, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, and
Christopher Mintz-Plasse was much more successful.
Some research from the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com)