Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fright Night

Fright Night; horror, USA, 1985; D: Tom Holland, S: William Ragsdale, Chris Sarandon, Amanda Bearse, Roddy McDowall

Teenager Charley enjoys watching old vampire horror movies of the "Fright Night" franchise on TV, but suddenly gets the chance to experience his fascination first hand when he realizes that his new neighbor, the seemingly charming Jerry Dandridge, is a vampire who kills prostitutes at his home. Charley's mom nor his friends do not believe him, until Jerry makes a vampire out of Charley's friend Ed and kidnaps his girlfriend Amy. With the help of a washed out star from the "Fright Night", Peter Vincent, Charley enters Jerry's house and manages to eliminate him.

Tom Holland's cult humorous vampire horror "Fright Night" starts off elegantly with a long take wondering away from the moon on the sky up to the window of a house, revealing the creepy off-screen dialogue between a man and a woman to be actually coming from a TV show inside. The first half is amusing and moody, containing that 80s flair, yet the second half loses its wit and turns into a conventional, standard (rural) horror. If you do not find it illogical for a next door vampire to phone the hero to actually announce when he is going to kill him (!) or for the clumsy vampire slayer Vincent to travel all the way to Jerry's house to give him holy water to drink in order to test if he is a vampire, yet at the same time have such a rigorous objection to Charley's suggestion for Jerry to simply touch a cross, then the story will work for you, while for the others such heavy handed plot points deplete the cohesion of the storyline. As a whole, the movie is very solid and must be complimented for not showing the real scary creatures until the last 30 minutes, in the finale in the house, yet still sustaining suspense, great cinematography and good performances, but it should have stayed faithful to that clever and funny tone in the first half.


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