FRIGHT NIGHT (OCTOBER 15TH)
YOU'VE GOT RED ON YOU TAKES PART IN THE 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE; WATCHING ONE HORROR MOVIE A DAY THROUGHOUT OCTOBER. SOME OF THEM OLD, SOME OF THEM NEW, SOME OF THEM HAVE JUST BEEN ON OUR SHELVES FOR YEARS GATHERING DUST, STILL IN CELLOPHANE...
Ok, I'll admit it. I haven't seen the original Fright Night. Yeah, I know, there must be something wrong with me etc. I HAVE seen the remake with Colin Farrell and the late Anton Yelchin and thought that was quite enjoyable and...yeah ok, I know that doesn't count. To be fair, it's one of those films that's been on my 'list' for a few years now but I just haven't got around to seeing it yet.
Fright Night is considered to be one of the best horror comedies ever made and was widely praised upon its release. It spawned a sequel which was apparently not very good at all but that done little to diminish the original, in fact, it only seems to have highlighted just how great it is.
It's weird that after watching Cherry Falls last night, where the opening scene is a guy pressuring a young woman to have sex with him, that's exactly how Fright Night begins too – as our hero Charlie attempts to guilt trip his girlfriend into sleeping with him. Not a great introduction to the 'hero' really. A minute or so later, he's lost all interest in se as he's spying on the people moving in next door, who happen to be carrying a large wooden coffin-shaped box through the garden. Again, another weird coincidence as my new next door neighbours were also unpacking their stuff from cars and vans and loading into their new house. I don't think I saw a coffin though and I'm pretty sure that they're not vampires either...
Fright Night is set up perfectly within those opening few minutes. Charlie and his girlfriend's on-off relationship is established and so is the plot which is; what would happen if the people next door were vampires? Charlie is suspicious from the get go (as are we) and as he digs further, the more peril he puts himself – and his family and girlfriend in. Eventually he ropes in a vampire hunting TV personailty (played brilliantly by Roddy McDowell) to help and things escalate pretty quickly after that.
I must say, Fright Night didn't disappoint. It's amazing to think this was Tom Hollands debut directorial feature (he later went on to helm Child's Play and Thinner). Holland's script is razor sharp and not only does he give us some great lines, but he gives us an array of brilliant characters too – and they're all perfectly cast. William Ragsdale and Amanda Bearse do well in the central roles but it is Chris Sarandon and Roddy McDowell who steal the show. McDowell's cowardly vampire hunter provides some great comic relief amongst what at times is a pretty full-on horror flick and Chris Sarandon is effortlessly cool and suave as the mysterious vampire next door.
The practical and special effects are just top-notch too. We get melting vampires, people turning into bats, people being staked through the heart. It's deserving of its 18 certificate for the gore alone. The scene where Evil Ed transforms back into a human from a wolf is simply amazing. However the pithy dialogue and campy performances mean that Fright Night never feels too heavy or oppressive, the action and horror feels fun and entertaining. It isn't easy to combine both humour and horror yet Fright Night does it effortlessly. And although it's obviously very 80's in style, there is something almost timeless about it and anyone who likes horror movies and monster movies in particular will have a blast with it.
The climax is great too. Sometimes films can entertain you for the first two acts but feel as if they have nowhere to go, no more mileage left in the tank. But Fright Night simply ups the stakes, ups the gore levels, ups the tension. It's a bit of a thrill ride and like a good rollercoaster ride, it leaves you wanting to go back and do it all over again. I'll be ordering a copy sharpish.