Before From Dusk Til Dawn, Lost Boys, and Vamp, there was Fright Night. Fright Night defined vampire-cool in the 1980s, with a minimum of whining about being a tortured soul and absolutely no sparkly nonsense. The vampire, Jerry Dandrige, revels in being a vampire and the power it gives him. He is a charismatic, charming, brilliant, and truly evil monster. That is just one of the things that makes this film so great.
The only real negative about this film is the protagonist, Charley Brewster. Charley is what I like to call "the King of Betas". He is a nerdy, whiny kid who can be distracted from his nerdy girlfriend's boobs and willingness to put-out by horror films and his neighbor's strange nocturnal activities. This kid has some how hit the perfect, non-existent balance between being a horror-nerd yet still being relatively popular at his school. I mean, look at the car Charley drives! Such a juxtaposition of trendy cool wrapped around a geek is rare indeed and hard to believe in a horror film.
|And this isn't even my final form!|
Now, while you are rooting for Jerry and hoping that Charley bites it (sorry about the pun) in some pathetic fashion, his friend "Evil" Ed is a piece of work we can all relate to. Probably a deeper geek than Charley (as demonstrated by his advising Charley on how to deal with vampires), Ed is also less popular than his friend (loathing the "evil" nick name he has been given for his interests) but also seems less concerned about the opinions of his peers. Ed becomes another character you will want to root for.
|Marcy from "Married with Children"|
Amy, Charley's girlfriend and Jerry's love-interest, is your typical victim.
Unfortunately, this is an atypical vampire film built on a typical vampire-film frame. That is, the monster must be vanquished and the hero must save his girl. After an hour-and-a-half of Jerry demonstrating just how cool, powerful, and intelligent he is, he blows it all in the final confrontation with rejects from Mystery Incorporated. Still, Fright Night is a fun romp, bringing the right mix of sexy and scarey to the vampire portrayal and setting the standard for several vampire films to follow.
The story is well written (minus the few plot-holes I mentioned above) and the dialogue is funny throughout. Special effects are very well done while remaining old-school; lots of blood and slime to keep gore fans satisfied. The word that keeps coming to mind is "fun". Fright Night is fun throughout. It is truly a classic horror film.