lördag 23 maj 2020

35 Years Anniversary Review Of Fright Night

Ah yes, the 80´s. What a wonderful time it was for us who were children during these times. We may not have had Facebook or Instagram, but we had something even better called VHS rental stores. This were where you spent your days, looking at the coolest movies on VHS covers, and dreaming away that you would get a chance to meet Melanie Griffith from the cult film Cherry 2000. I have no idea how many days i spent in VHS rental stores every week, but let´s just say i focused more on my time there than in school. And you know what, i actually learned more in some subjects there, thanks to the VHS covers. The 80´s had a lot of great horror releases, and even if i was too young to rent films in those days, i had connections that would bring me the some great titles. One thing you have to admit, is that in the 80´s you could tell that vampires were making a great comeback, after some cheesy releases in the 70´s. It was like film makers wanted to take this genre to another level, and update the classic concept into a more modern World. And one of the best examples of that is when director Joel Schumacher released his vampire film The Lost Boys in 1987. For those of you who are young today, i can tell you that The Lost Boys was one of the best films to grow up with, before we turned into teenagers. The Lost Boys have everything you could wish for, such as cool characters, a great soundtrack, great looking vampires and fun horror scenes as well. But let´s go back two years before The Lost Boys was released, and talk about a different horror film called Fright Night. Released in 1985, this is considered to be one of the true 80´s classic. I first saw Fright Night when i was about 1989, when i was 11 years old. At that time, i remember seeing this film on TV for the first time. I believe it was my aunt who rent this film on VHS. I remember that Fright Night felt like a tribute to old school vampire films, and was entertained. I finally picked up Fright Night on Blu Ray a couple of years go from the UK, and i realised that this film turns 35 years old this year. I just had to watch it again, to see how i feel about Fright Night in present day. Is this still a cult horror classic, or has this film lost some of the magic over the years ?

 17-year-old Charley Brewster ( William Ragsdale ) is a big fan of traditional horror films, and especially his favourite TV series known as Fright Night, hosted by former vampire hunter Peter Vincent ( Roddy McDowall ). One evening, Charley discover that his next door neighbor Jerry Dandridge ( Chris Sarandon ), is a vampire responsible for the disappearances of several victims. Charley tells his mother Judy Brewster ( Dorothy Fielding ) about his neighbor, and she have a hard time believing him. Charley also try and tell his friends, with no bigger luck. So he decide to take this into his own hands, and Contact authorities. Detective Lennox ( Art Evans ) go with Charley to visit his neighbor Jerry, as Charley is hoping to prove that he is a murdered. It does not go well, and they leave the house. Charley get a visit from Jerry, where he warns him that he should stop with his vampire hunt, or something serious will happen. Charley is not giving up, and Contact the TV host, movie star Peter Vincent ( Roddy McDowall ), hoping he can help him. At first he is not interested, but when Charleys girlfriend Amy Peterson ( Amanada Bearse ) offer to pay him then he accept the offer. At first Peter believe this is all fake, until he see some signs that something is terribly wrong. Maybe Charley is telling the truth after all ?

Back in the day when i first saw Fright Night, i enjoyed the film for a number of reasons. But perhaps i always felt closer to The Lost Boys and watched that film more times. Since time have passed and Fright Night have this year turned 35 years, i can actually appreciate this film more now than what i did in the end of the 80´s. I probably did not think too much about it back then, but do we have some really good characters in this film. Let´s begin with the character Charley Brewster, played by actor William Ragsdale ( who you have also seen in the horror film The Reaping ). Brewster is the typical teenager, who is clearly afraid of his creepy neighbor Jerry. I have to say that William gives his character a realistic portrait of an ordinary teenager, and how you might have reacted in his situaton. Im not saying this film is realistic in any way, but his performance does work well with the teenage portrait of Brewster. Actress Amanda Bearse ( who everyone knows from the classic TV comedy series Married With Children )plays Charley´s girlfriend Amy, and she does this really good. Amy is the kind of  natural teenage girl we have all met at some point, when we were in this age. One of the best characters in this film is Peter Vincent - The Vampire Killer, played by legendary actor Roddy McDowall. He is absolutely brilliant in this role, and he is in my opinion one of the reasons why Fright Night is such a classic. Roddy manage to make Peter Vincent into his own unique character, and i must say this may be his best acting performance in his career. Legendary actor Chris Sarandon ( who i remember from the classic crime drama film Dog Day Afternoon ) plays the vampire Jerry Dandrige. He goes full into his character, and i don´t think anyone whould have done it better than him. One of the other reasons why Fright Night work so well, a part from the great characters, is that this film actually manage to balance classic vampire ingredients with effective practical effects. We also have a great soundtrack that fits really well with this time period.  Director Tom Holland clearly knew how to make a vampire film in his own unique way, and still make it feel timeless. Fright Night will continue to be one of the true vampire classics of the 80´s, and Peter Vincent may be the greatest cult characters within the vampire killers in cinema history. I strongly suggest you pick up this film on DVD or Blu Ray and celebrate 35 years of Fright Night this summer, and share this experience with the whole world. A high rating to a true classic 80´s horror film.

Rating: DDDD

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