Friday, May 22, 2009

Fright Night (Tom Holland, 1985)

A vampire movie with so much bite, that even the title has teeth. Fright Night is in a class of its own in terms of deftly combining horror, comedy and erotica. Three distinct genres of cinema that have a lot in common, but for some strange reason, they're not thrown together that often. Any overzealous deviant whose mind has been properly warped on a steady diet of game shows and beef jerky can make a film that features nothing but wall-to-wall bloodshed. However, it takes a fair amount of skill to create a film that is not only gory, but sexy and funny, too. And that's what writer-director Tom Holland has somehow done with this particular effort; he's made what appears to be your typical teenage vampire movie, yet underneath lies a simmering cauldron that is bubbling over with an efflorescent stench. In other words, it's got more depth to it than you'd expect. The plot of Fright Night can be pretty much summed up by listening to the song "Fright Night" by The J. Geils Band, as it covers almost every plot detail from start to finish. If, however, you happen to have an aversion to Mr. Geils and his stupid ass band, I'll help you out by saying the film is about a high school student named Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) who thinks his new neighbour is a vampire. Shunned by the police and dismissed by his friends, the alarmed teen seeks the help of Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall), the host of a late night horror movie program called "Fright Night," in the hope that he can utilize his expertise in the realm of the undead. Of course, Charley fails to realize that Mr. Vincent is an actor, not an actual vampire slayer.

It doesn't matter how you become moist, laugh, or express fear, there's something for everyone it this wondrous tale of suburban paranoia. The idea of a vampire moving in next-door is something we all can relate to, as we've all had undesirable neighbours at one time or another. I mean, whether it's playing obnoxiously loud music or puncturing the necks of topless women with their elongated incisors in full view of your adolescent offspring, the discourteous bane that is the annoying neighbour is a universal one.

The nightclub scene at "Club Radio" where Jerry: The Vampire (a suaver-than-suave Chris Sarandon) and Amy: The Girlfriend (the alluring Amanda Bearse) get more familiar with one another has always been a favourite of mine, as supplies the film with its erotic quota. Sporting no nudity whatsoever, nor any scenes that feature excessive vaginal penetration, the club sequence is hands down one of the most titillating, most captivating things I have ever seen. The moment Chris Sarandon (sporting a chic sweater) and Amanda Bearse (a silky blue shirt with the collar up) see each other across the dance-floor, and the synthesizers kick into gear on Ian Hunter's "Good Man in a Bad Time," is the epitome of new wave sexiness.

The give and take nature of their ritualistic conquest of one another is what makes the scene work so well. I mean, if Jerry had dominated the seduction, it would have seemed predatory (which it still is in some respect), but the moments when Amy would rebuff, and sometimes toy with the vampire, made it downright hot. It's weird that a scene featuring a foppish bloodsucker (with a male roommate) and a closeted lesbian would gel so well in a heterosexual capacity. But there they are, inducing a plethora of aroused feelings with their enticing disco embrace.

Providing the bulk of the film's humour is the giddy presence of Stephen Geoffreys as the wacky Evil Ed Thompson, a close friend of Charley and Amy. Boasting a truly demented laugh and superb comic timing, Mr. Geoffreys' has created one of the most memorable horror characters in film history. His scenes with a game Roddy McDowall were freaking hilarious, as every line he utters is rendered iconic thanks to his unique delivery. It's no wonder that his "Oh, you're so cool, Brewster!" is still quoted to this very day (well, by me, anyway).

And I must say, I liked how no one dies pleasantly in this film. Well, actually, that's not quite true, the lady who got necked by Jerry the fruit-eating vampire seemed to go in a pleasant enough manner (the grisly aftermath is kept from us). But as for everyone else, they go nastily. Oozing torrents of green goo, twitching uncontrollably while impaled with furniture, and bursting into flames are just a mere pittance of the pre-death symptoms that plague the unfortunate few in this film. Add a top-notch wolf-to-human transformation and a hand stabbed by a pencil to the mix, and we're talking about a masterpiece up in here.

video uploaded by jopez94585


  1. I really love Fright Night, it has the best elements of all my favorite genre pictures of the eighties, namely teen sex comedy meets whacky and sometimes sinister horror...I love it

  2. I agree 100%! This is one of the best vampire movies ever. Stephen Geoffreys is awesome and probably my favorite part of the film and "Oh, you're so cool, Brewster!" still gets quoted by yours truly quite often as well.

  3. it been ages since i last saw this one but one thing that stuck with me was Evil Ed. he had that weird laugh and then he makes that even weirder noise when Vincent kills him. i remember feeling really bad for ole Ed.

    i also must have saw this before i saw Married With Children. i forgot Marcie was in it.

  4. I'll have to join the ranks of Fright Night super fans we have going here and also express my undying love for this picture!

    I remember thinking Stephen Geoffreys as Evil Ed was pretty cool when I was much so that I went back to the theater to see him in the abysmal 976-EVIL three years later. Total bummer...thanks for nothing Robert "Freddy Kruger" Englund.

    Hey, did any of y'all notice that Stephen started doing gay porn under the pseudonyms Sam Ritter and Stephan Bordeaux? It says so right on his IMDB profile...and some Google searches I performed have confirmed it...Never thought I'd actually be looking for images of Evil Ed's wild bologna pony.

    Wow...I really do learn something new every time I come to The House Of Self-Indulgence...thanks, Yum-Yum!

  5. The Warfreak: The perfect mix of horror, comedy, and erotica.

    Rev. Fred Phantom: I also enjoy Evil Ed's "Mmmmmm mmm! His dinner... is in the oven!" and "The master will kill you for this! But not fast. Slowly! Oh, so slowly!"

    wiec?: Evil Ed is definitely a tragic figure. *raises a can of Fresca in his honour*

    Mr. Canacorn: Yay! More rank joining. Seriously, I can't imagine anyone not loving Fright Night.

    Ah, 13 is such a great age to discover the coolness that is Evil Ed. I, on the other hand, had to wait until I was 15.

    I'm in favour of gay porn.

    I guess "wild bologna pony" is some sort of euphemism for a rogue penis.

    You're welcome, man. Learning is fun.

  6. So...Zac Efron in the William Ragsdale role, you say? Who else will be cast in the remake? How else can Hollywood fuck up our childhood? Seriously, if someone puts a finger on Tapeheads, I'm going to cut a b***h. (My students tell me "b***h" is more offensive than "fuck.")

    I forgot to mention on the last post how cool Mr. Canacorn's fixation on Larroquette is. :)

    You don't even like "Centerfold"? "Freeze Frame," for some inexplicable reason, was the theme song to our minor league hockey team.

  7. I caught a couple of seconds of Zac's opening monologue from SNL... his hair looks stupid. Anyway, Anton Yelchin (the new Chekov) would be an acceptable choice as Evil Ed. And... oh, how about Emma Stone as Amy.

    As for Peter Vincent and Jerry the Vampire? Even though I'd switch the genders around (like they did with Some Kind of Wonderful), I'd go with Chiwetel Ejiofor as the vamp and maybe Bruce Campbell as Vincent.

    No offense to Tapeheads (which, as you know, I still haven't seen), but when Hollywood starts remaking films like that, it's time for them to close up shop and retool.

    I hardly ever use the b-word.

    His Larroquette fixation was so well thought out, that I actually started looking for a film of his to watch with my eyes.

    Are they called the Columbia Freeze? ;)

    By the way, the logo for the defunct Greenville Grrrowl is adorable.

    According to a South Park I just watched, the show Family Guy is written by manatees.

  8. Thanks, Karim! I will now make you hate me by my recasting of TAPEHEADS...ready?

    Ivan Alexeev (John Cusack): Paul Rudd

    Josh Tager (Tim Robbins): Martin Starr

    The Swanky Modes (Sam Moore and Junior Walker): Will Smith and Calvin Broadus aka Snoop Dogg

    Samantha Gregory (Mary Crosby): Anna Faris

    Moe Fuzz (Don Cornelius): Arsenio Hall

    Senator Norman Mart (Clu Gulager): Clu Gulager...somethings just shouldn't be messed with.

    Waddaya' think?

  9. For years my sister and I would say "mistervincentshit!" No idea why that stuck.

    My mom theorized that the apple eating had something to do with regularity and a liquid diet. She's a bit nutty :-)

    Chris Sarandon is my second favorite male vampire, first being Damien Thomas (Count Karnstein in "Twins of Evil").

  10. Mothers who theorize about the eating habits of movie vampire are cool.

  11. I love this movie. This is actually one of the first vampire movies I ever saw it. I thought it rocked. It's still a movie I enjoy watching.

  12. I can't recall the first vampire movie I ever saw. :(

  13. i love everything about Fright Night. I wouldn't mind being bitten by Chris Sarandon.