Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Fright Night

There have been two movies in this series.

1. Fright Night US movie (1985). Columbia-Delphi IV/Vistar. Pr Herb Jaffe. Dir Tom Holland. Spfx Richard Edlund, Entertainment Effects Group, Albert Lannutti, Michael Lantieri, Darrell Pritchett, Clayton Pinney. Mufx Ken Diaz. Screenplay Holland. Novelization Fright Night * (1985) by John M Skipp, Craig Spector. Starring Amanda Bearse (Amy Peterson), Stephen Geoffreys ("Evil" Ed Thompson), Roddy McDowall (Peter Vincent), William Ragsdale (Charley Brewster), Chris Sarandon (Jerry Dandridge), Jonathan Stark (Billy Cole). 105 mins. Colour.

Chubby teenaged horror fan Charley discovers that new neighbour Dandridge is a Vampire and Serial Killer. The police laugh at his information, as initially do girlfriend Amy, smart-aleck college friend "Evil" Ed, and camp Peter Vincent, phony vampire-killer and just-fired host of tv horror show Fright Night, whose aid Charley eventually enlists. After much adventuring, Charley and Vincent succeed in slaying Dandridge. FN is rare among Horror comedies in being effective in both genres: it is genuinely funny and genuinely scaring, with brilliant spfx. The performances, especially by Sarandon, Stark and McDowall (whose finest latter hour this may be), are superb: a memorable Urban-Fantasy sequence sees Dandridge, with seeming inexorability, pursuing Charley and Amy through a hellish nightlife of discos and clubs where people can no longer perceive each other as human beings. The movie's homo-erotic content is brave and perfectly handled. One can read FN as a recasting of Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897), with Dandridge as Dracula, Amy as Mina, Charley as Harker and Vincent as Van Helsing. [JG]

2. Fright Night, Part 2 US movie (1988). Vista. Pr Mort Engelberg, Herb Jaffe. Dir Tommy Lee Wallace. Spfx Gene Warren Jr. Screenplay Tim Metcalfe, Miguel Tejada-Flores, Wallace. Starring Merritt Butrick (Richie), Julie Carmen (Regine), Russell Clark (Belle), Jonathan Gries (Louie), Traci Lin (Alex), Roddy McDowall (Peter Vincent), William Ragsdale (Charley Brewster), Ernie Sabella (Dr Harrison), Brian Thompson (Bosworth). 104 mins. Colour.

This direct sequel is tricksier, scarier, funnier and better acted . . . yet is somehow the lesser movie. Extensive psychotherapy has cured Charley of his "delusions" about Vampires. However, a quartet of vampires, led by the exquisite Regine, vengeful sister of Dandridge, has taken up residence in the apartment above Vincent's. Soon their murderous activities are terrifying the neighbourhood. In the end Charley and Vincent succeed, largely through the love between Charley and new girlfriend Alex, in destroying the four. [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.