31 Horrifying Days: Day 18- Fright Night (1985)

A teenager, Charley Brewster (played by newcomer William Ragsdale) is watching horror flicks and trying to coerce his girlfriend Amy (Amanda Bearse) into having sex with him. She relents and agrees when he becomes distracted by someone moving in next door. They have what appears to be a coffin. The new neighbor, Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon, who returned for the 2011 remake) is charming, handsome …and has fangs. 

Charley figures this out after peeping on Jerry’s date with his binoculars. There are so many times where an immature nerd boy with binoculars has intruded in on some shit: Twilight Zone, the Simpsons when Bart broke his leg and Disturbia to name a few. Mind your neck! 

Anyway, Amy decides that Charley is an immature nerd boy and not worth her virginity. When he shows up telling her about the creature of the night neighbor, she assumes it’s a ploy to get her back. He tells his mom, he tells the police and when everyone thinks he’s a damn idiot… he enlists the help of Amy, pal Evil Ed and a horror host named Peter Vincent to vanquish the bloodsucker.

Jerry is not fucking amused. He sneaks in through Charley’s mother’s window (as a bat. a vampire shapeshifts into a wolf later which makes no sense to me, but whatever). He offers Charley a chance to forget about him and just let him be. Or else. Or else he’ll kill Charley’s mom and turn Amy. Ohhh snap.

All the women as potential fridging victims?

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But what I do like is that Charley feels the need to protect his mom. Lot’s of media with teenage protagonist have the parents written out, usually in some tragic backstory to explain why their child is galavanting around at night acting like frigging Van Helsing and they just could not even be bothered. Charley gets a little of that in that his mom is divorced (hence, he’s “the man of the house” and the protector). 

When they confront Jerry together initially the others had the intention of proving to Charley that Jerry was not a vampire. He drinks “Holy water” and isn’t harmed by crosses. But Peter Vincent notices that Jerry has no reflection. The cross didn’t work because the weilder had no faith… and the Holy water was tap water. Who thought he’d be a real vamp? Once Jerry knows they are on to him he turns “Evil Ed” and sends the boy to do his bidding. Mission #1 Attack Peter Vincent: Mission FAILED. Peter maims him with a cross. Mission #2 Find Charley’s mom: Mission FAILED. Charley’s mom is at work. 

Meanwhile, Jerry chases Charley and Amy. The couple duck into a club. While Charley calls for help, Amy is seduced on the dancefloor. She happens to bear a strong resemblance to Jerry’s lost love (because every vampire is Dracula). And he abducts her. 

Charley and Peter partner up and break into Jerry’s house, they take on a guard and Evil Ed in wolf form. Charley gets taken and brought to Amy… who is turning into a vampire. Peter concludes that she can turn back into a human if they kill Jerry by dawn.

But was it scary? Nope. And Amy was annoying and Charley was stupid. 

Jerry was the quintessential suave vampire next door. The movie would have been better if he seduced Charley’s mom and then Marcy from “Married With Children” saved her along with the kid who looked like Ferris’s friend and the Giles prototype. Because hundred year old grown men who look like 40 year old men dirty dancing with teens is fucking gross.

The effects were really 80s. They were really good for the 80s. 

It’s directed by Tom Holland, who would later direct Child’s Play and Psycho II

I understand why people like this.

But I didn’t really like it.

I gave an extra .5 for ugly vampires.

3/5

And I know I’m going to get hate for that, but the cool parts weren’t played up enough and the characters were fucking wack, with the exception of Sarandon who nailed it as Jerry.

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