Charley (William Ragsdale), a teen in an American suburb, is an average teenager suffering from average teenage problems; his best friend’s a loser, his girlfriend won’t sleep with him and his next door neighbour’s a vampire. Hang on, what? When nobody believes him he takes matters into his own hands and invites late night TV Vampire expert Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) to help him kill Jerry (a suspicious name for a vampire, we must admit).
Chris Sarandon is great as the vampire ‘Jerry’ emitting a sense of cool whilst maintaining a slow-burning charm that he turns on and off at will to lure young ladies into his lare. A glimmer of seriousnes in an otherwise tongue-in-cheek movie, Sarandon offers great contrast to the rest of the cast. Charley’s clumsy friends add further fun to the film whilst McDowall’s camp vamp hunter Peter adds a streak of cheerful silliness to the proceedings.
Of course, it is not the acting that makes the film. If you strip away the comedic elements it is still an 80’s horror which means 80’s special effects abound. Culminating in some questionable wolf effects as well as transformation scenes the effects themselves are a highlight.
Vamp hunter Peter Vincent (a name devised to salute horror legends Peter Cushing and Vincent Price) humorously shies away from the reality of vampires when confronted with the idea and secretly mocks Charley’s fears with his friends, proving him to be of no help whatsoever. Not that Charley does himself any favours. Ignoring his girlfriend at the drop of a hat he soon finds himself haunted by Jerry. To make matters worse not only does his best friend take rather well to vampdom his girlfriend starts to look a bit long in the tooth, too.
Neatly entwining comedy, thriller and comedy, Fright Night serves everything that one would expect from an 80’s horror, a must for any movie fan.
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