For whatever reason, I never get into Vampire subgenre. As far as I know, there are only 3 films about this blood-sucking monster that I love: Martin, John Carpenter’s Vampire, and From Dusk Till Dawn. These movies tell stories of Vampires in an unconventional concepts and they are really interesting. But, today, I just watch a movie that takes you back to the original concept of vampire…and it looks great! It’s Fright Night.
“What a horrible night to have a curse…”
First of, Fright Night is a tribute to good-old-days style of horror movie. Let’s take a look at the plot. A nerdy guy named Charley Brewster believes that a new neighbor named Jerry is a vampire. He sees Jerry lures girls in to his house and then Jerry sucks their blood and cutting their heads. Of course, nobody believes what Charley says. His friends, his girlfriend, and his mother think he’s insane. Unfortunately, things get more intense when Charley is caught on spying Jerry, so Jerry tries to kill him and his friends. This left Charley with no choice but to contact Peter Vincent, an ex-horror actor who becomes a late-night horror host on TV.
For whatever reason, Charley reminds me of many kids in horror films. They see supernatural things, but nobody believe them until it’s too late. This is a classic horror formula that never gets old. It creates tension really well and if your movie is a tribute to the 50’s-60’s horror films, this fits great. Plus, the Vampire formula in this film is the classic one: he can turn into a bat, he can be weaken by a cross, he loves sucking girls’ blood and he can be killed by putting wooden stake through his heart. It’s the same formula that everybody has heard before, but takes place in mid 80’s…an era of slasher flick. This leads us to another topic here.
The rise and fall of Peter Vincent
In this film, Peter Vincent (played by Roddy McDowell) was an B-movie actor in 50’s-70’s (I suppose), but his popularity slowly faded and he be comes a late night horror host on TV. In his show “Fright Night”, he usually shows his own vampire movies and always ends the introduction with “I star in it!”. Later, he was fired because the changing trends in horror flicks. According to Peter himself…
“I have just been fired because nobody wants to see vampire killers anymore, or vampires either. Apparently all they want to see are demented madmen running around in ski-masks, hacking up young virgins.”
This quote sums up a slasher movie trend in 80’s. Nobody gave a damn about a slow build-up horror about Vampires or classic monsters, audiences preferred movies about a killer who kills anyone who has premature sex, do drugs, being prankster, etc. But if you want to stay alive in this era, you have to either try using creative ways in story telling (like Night Fright), or leave the business like Peter.
At first, Peter is confused when Charley approach him, but then Charley’s friends try convincing Peter to help him because he’s insane. But as story goes by, Peter actually surprised that Vampire actually exists. Plus, although Peter reveals the truth that he’s just an old retired actor who played Vampire killer in various films, Charley still have faith in him because Charley is a really big fan of his movie and he has no choice but to approach a horror host who said on TV that he’s “The Great Vampire Killer”. This cheers Peter up a lot and they decide to team up and fight Jerry the Vampire.
As you can see, this film takes us a look at a life of horror movie star who became a horror host on late night TV, which is a pretty sad story to hear considering that Peter was a famous actor. To make things worse, there’s no late night horror host on TV anymore! So old actors have to struggle by either appearing on movie cons, returning to entertainment industry, or, in the worst case, become homeless man. This heart breaking story might happen now and then. Who knows? Your favorite actor/actress in the past might begging for your money in front of nearby local grocery.
Although this is an old story of traditional Vampire, it’s done in a modernized way… and one of these methods is special effects. They look amazing even by today’s standard. In the very first scenes, they don’t show effects…they just use POV camera shot to make Jerry appears that he turns into a bat. But then, the effects are more involve in this movie. And, finally, in a climax fight scene. It shows us why practical effects ALWAYS better than CGI. Basically, because it looks real and more believable than a CGI that probably makes me think I’m playing Resident Evil on PS4 instead of watching movie.
Also, I’d like to point out that the very final scene is somehow reminds me of the ending of Horror of Dracula. You know, the one that made Christopher Lee famous. The scene is THAT amazing.
This is B-movie on Hollywood budget. It’s a really fun movie that you and your friend can enjoy watching. Sure, the acting might not be that great, but all the cast and crew (especially Amanda Bearse, who looks amazingly gorgeous in this film) were doing their best to entertain you and it’s a great way to introduce younger generation to the ORIGINAL way of Vampire.
What about a remake one? Well, I haven’t seen it. But let’s take a look at this poster…
Good lord, it looks more like I’m about to watch another sequel to John Carpenter’s Vampire, a great movie that doesn’t need any sequel. This poster somehow looks more like “I’m about to kill a vampire, motherfuckers!” than a slowly build-up adventures atmosphere of the original one. Plus, the real deal of original Fright Night is practical effects. I’m not sure that the CGI stuffs in this film look that impressive or not.
If you’re suspicious about that, go ahead and watch it. But I will NEVER watch this remake since I really love 1985 Fright Night.