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Fright Night is an American vampire comedy horror film directed by Tom Holland and starring William Ragsdale, Chris Sarandon, Stephen Geoffreys and Roddy McDowall that was released in 1985. It was followed by a 1988 sequel, Fright Night II along with numerous other merchandise including tapes, CDs, videos, DVDs, and comic books.

The visual effects are the work of Richard Edlund, who also provided the effects for Ghostbusters a year earlier.

Plot

Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) is an aficionado of horror films. One night he sees new neighbors moving in the next door and they appear to be carrying what looks like a coffin. Later Charley sees his new neighbor Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon) biting the neck of a young teenage girl. He tells his mother (Dorothy Fielding) what he saw, but she passes it off as Charley's overactive imagination. He tries to tell his friend "Evil" Ed Thompson (Stephen Geoffreys) and girlfriend Amy Petersen (Amanda Bearse), but neither of them believe him, and begin to worry about his mental well-being. Charley calls the police claiming that Dandridge is the serial killer responsible for a recent spate of killings. The police investigate and when they don't find the bodies of the hooker (Heidi Sorenson) that Dandridge previously killed and the teenage girl (Irina Irvine), and Charley blurts out that there is a coffin in the basement with a vampire in it, they tell Charley never to call the police again.

Charley and Amy then decide to seek the help of veteran vampire movie star and local late-night horror showcase host of the show "Fright Night," Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall), who after a long and mediocre career has become cynical and dispirited. Vincent visits Dandridge with Brewster in order to persuade Charley that he's deluded (by asking Dandridge to drink tap water labeled 'holy water'), only to find that Dandridge casts no reflection in his mirror.

Amy comes to believe that Dandridge is a vampire, but Evil is not convinced, and wants to hear nothing about it. As he leaves, Evil takes an alley, only to encounter Dandridge. He becomes scared, and tries to run, but Dandridge keeps up. He corners Evil, giving him a choice to either die or join his side. Evil takes Dandridge's hand and Dandridge bites him, changing him into a vampire.

Back at his house, Vincent is scared and tries to shake off his feeling of dread. Just then Evil knocks on his door. Vincent opens it, and begins talking to Evil casually, as he knows nothing of the hideous, undead revenant Evil is now. Suddenly, Evil attacks Vincent, who narrowly escapes by using a cross. A scalded Evil slinks away, threatening Vincent with telling the Master.

Amy and Charley, at the time, happen to be crossing the streets when they see Dandridge following them. They run into a night club, but Dandridge follows them, where he hypnotizes Amy. Charley attempts physical combat, but Dandridge subdues him. He then leaves with Amy to his house.

Charley runs back to Vincent, who makes him grab a cross before he enters. There, he persuades Vincent that they must confront Dandridge, igniting Vincent's long-slumbering faith and strength. The duo get ready, and go to Dandridge's mansion. By then, he had already turned Amy into a vampire.

As Charley and Vincent enter the house, Dandridge welcomes them to what he calls "Fright Night, for real," an allusion to the horrible night awaiting the two vampire hunters. Vincent hesitates for a moment, and his faith is too weak to keep Dandridge at bay with his cross. However, Charley has faith and the vampire cowers in fear from his crucifix, but Billy Cole (Jonathan Stark), Dandridge's associate, coming to his master's aid then knocks Charley off the staircase rendering him unconscious, whereupon Vincent panics and flees to Charley's house.

Charley then wakes up to find himself locked in a room with Amy (who is now a half vampire). Dandridge leaves a stake for Charley, giving him the choice to kill her. Vincent enters Charley's house only to find the phone lines have been cut, whereupon he searches for Charley's mother and finds Evil Ed lying in her bed. Vincent runs away and collapses onto a table. Evil then turns into a wolf and chases him and Vincent lifts a broken table leg and stabs the wolf in the heart just as it leaps onto him, sending it crashing onto the chandelier and falling onto the floor below. Vincent then watches in shock and sadness as a mortally wounded Evil Ed reverts to human form and dies a slow, horrible, painful death; his cross scar vanishes from his forehead in the end.

Vincent removes the stake from Ed's corpse and goes back to Dandridge's house, where he finds Charley locked in a room with Amy. He breaks him out, and Charley takes the stake and leaves Amy in the room. Vincent tells him that he must destroy Dandridge in order to save her. Billy Cole then attacks the two vampire slayers; Vincent shoots him in the head and he rolls down the stairs, where he rises again. Vincent keeps shooting him but it seems to have little effect. Cole lifts Vincent up to toss him to his death, but Charley intervenes and stabs him in the heart with his stake; it works and Cole is dissolved into green goo and dust, leaving only bits of bone and his skull. Dandridge then returns to find his ghoulish minion dead and Vincent repulses him with his cross - his faith has returned.

Just then, the bell for daybreak knells, and they all go into the basement of the mansion, where Dandridge proceeds to hide in the coffin which he has locked himself in. Amy arrives, and attacks a temporarily softened Charley. Vincent breaks the lock of the coffin and hammers a stake into Dandridge's heart, while Charley knocks Amy over with a glass bottle, but the vampire removes the stake before it kills him and throws it at Peter. It misses and breaks a blackened window, letting the dawn sunlight come in. The vampire hunters then keep smashing the windows until Dandridge is surrounded by sunlight; he flies towards his coffin again, where Peter closes the lid, but is now trapped in a corner by the vampire. Charley quickly tears a curtain aside from a window behind Vincent, and the vampire is caught in the full rays of the sun and burns to ashes. After this, Amy is freed from her vampiric condition.

In the final scene of the movie, Charley and Amy are together at last watching TV. Peter Vincent is on with a new incarnation of "Fright Night" that will deal with space aliens rather than vampires. Charley notices a pair of glowing red eyes in Dandridge's now vacant house, but denies having seen anything, when Amy asks if anything is wrong. Evil Ed's voice can be heard yelling: "You're so cool, Brewster," and the film ends.

Reception and merchandising

Fright Night's widest release was 1,545 theaters. The film also turned out to be a surprise hit at the box office, making $6,118,543 on opening weekend (1,542 theaters, $3,967 average). Domestic gross was $24,922,237. It performed the best of any horror film released during the summer of 1985. It was the second highest-grossing horror film of 1985, bested only by A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge.

Fright Night was well-received, winning three Saturn Awards. It also won an award and a nomination at Fantasporto. It spawned a 1988 sequel which also gained a Fantasporto nomination.

In 1985, a novelization, Fright Night by Craig Spector and John Skipp, was published by TOR Books. Fright Night was also adapted into a comic book series by Now Comics.

An arcade-style computer game was released in 1988 for Amiga computers. In the game, players assume the role of Jerry Dandridge as he attempts to turn his victims into vampires before sunrise.

Production

Actor William Ragsdale accidentally broke his foot during a Christmas Eve shoot. Filming was halted until Ragsdale could make a recovery.

The theme song of the film, "You Can't Hide From the Beast Inside" was written and performed by Autograph.

This film contains a puppet that was rejected from Ghostbusters (which was also made by Columbia a year earlier.) The same special effects crew recycled the "rejected Ghost Librarian" puppet for this film.

Remake

In May 2009 it was revealed that DreamWorksmarker would be overseeing a remake of Fright Night. Michael Gaeta and Alison Rosenzweig are set to produce. Marti Noxon wrote currently on the script of the remake.

In India, the Bollywood remade this movie in Hindi under title of Wohi Bhayankar Raat

References

  1. BSB: In Praise of FRIGHT NIGHT
  2. 'Fright Night' Remake Revived Over at DreamWorks
  3. Screenwriter Named as Fright Night Remake Inches Forward


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