Tom Holland wrote and directed this 80s vampire movie and so gets to take most of the credit for a sharp genre entry that has held up well over the intervening years as a superb piece of entertainment.
William Ragsdale plays Charley Brewster, a young lad who starts to get jumpy when he sees his neighbour (Chris Sarandon) with very sharp teeth about to enjoy the neck of a beautiful young woman. Unfortunately, nobody will believe Charley. Not his girlfriend Amy(Amanda Bearse), his pal “Evil” Ed (Stephen Geoffreys), not even late night horror movie host Peter Vincent (a wonderful turn from Roddy McDowall). Can Charley convince them all before it’s too late or will he have to face his personal “Fright Night” all alone?
With a great cast, near-perfect pacing and a mix of thrills and playfulness, Fright Night really excels as genre entertainment and remains one of my favourite vampire movies. Ragsdale makes for a likable lead, Geoffreys is a lot of fun and Sarandon is completely convincing as the suave, seductive vampire next door. Jonathan Stark deserves a mention for his fun portrayal of Billy Cole, the vampire’s henchman who hoes a lot of his dirty work but it’s McDowall who steals the movie and who will bring a smile to the faces of horror fans who still miss the likes of the wonderful Peter Cushing, Vincent Price, etc.
Being an 80s movie, there are one or two regrettable 80s moments and one scene in particular (set in a nightclub) really would have been better left on the cutting-room floor but it’s not the worst thing ever to be put on film and it’s over relatively quickly.
A modernistic take on the vampire myth with a lot of traditional elements kept in, this is a treat for those who prefer their horror movies to have . . . . . a bit of bite.
DIRECTOR: TOM HOLLAND
STARS: WILLIAM RAGSDALE, CHRISTOPHER SARANDON, RODDY MCDOWALL, JONATHAN STARK
RUNTIME: 106 MINS APPROX