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...

I 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 keeper.

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 ( and from