Fright Night (1985)
There are some very good reasons to be afraid of the dark.
Year of Release: 1985
Running Time: 106 minutes (1:46)
Director: Tom Holland
Chris Sarandon ... Jerry Dandrige
William Ragsdale ... Charley Brewster
Amanda Bearse ... Amy Peterson
Roddy McDowall ... Peter Vincent
Stephen Geoffreys ... Evil Ed
Jonathan Stark ... Billy Cole
Dorothy Fielding ... Judy Brewster
Meet Jerry Dandridge. He's sweet, sexy, and he likes to sleep in late. You might think he's the perfect neighbor. But before inviting Jerry in for a nightcap there's just one thing you should know. Jerry prefers his drinks warm, red - and straight from the jugular!
It's Fright Night, a horrific howl starring Chris Sarandon as the seductive vampire and William Ragsdale as the frantic teenager struggling to keep Jerry's deadly fangs out of his neck. Only 17-year-old Charley Brewster knows Jerry's bloodcurdling secret. When Charley can't get anybody to believe him, he turns to a TV-horror host, Peter Vincent, who used to be the "Great Vampire Killer" of the movies. Can these mortals save Charley and his sweetheart, Amy, from the wrathful bloodsucker's toothy embrace? If you love being scared, Fright Night will give you the nightmare of your life!
Fright Night, remindin' us that a C-list actor's autograph is a lot like gramma's spam casserole - you may not actually want it, but pretendin'll give 'em a reason to keep gettin' up in the mornin'.
And speakin' of not knowin' when to quit, I don't wanna come off soundin' like one of those guys who pay $2500 to sit in a private deer blind chewin' imported gourmet caribou jerky cured by authentic Aleut natives in Unalaska until a hormonally compromised trophy buck wanders into range, but it seems like huntin's gotten a lot tougher these last few years. Not sure exactly what's got me so down on it - maybe it was the time the elk came rollin' head over hoof two steps behind us down the side of Bearcrack Mountain like the boulder in Indiana Jones, or it coulda been the day that mutant monster pack rat crawled outta Cleave Furguson's deer and tried eatin' our arms while we were butcherin' the carcass, but I've been thinkin' about this since last year when I fell outta the tree stand and nearly broke the county record for the buckin' buck competition after landin' on a sturdy four-point, and I think I'm about hunted out. I only agreed to go this year 'cause Duke Tankersley was able to finagle me a damage control permit for his dad's property and 'cause he knows that mountain like a crotch cricket knows Vince Neil's pubic paunch, but as usual, the invitation sounded too good to be true and damned if it wasn't.
"Yer late," Duke grumbled after slappin' the indiglo button on his watch and flashin' its 5:37am readin' at me.
"Yeah, well, I hadda stop to get a rope around Neidhard's horns and free 'im from one of the ruts in that irrigation ditch you call a driveway," I snarled.
"'Zat so?" he muttered disinterestedly.
"Yes, that's so. Then the mean ole bastard chased me up on the roof of the Topaz and I hadda slide back in through the window," I bitched.
"Can't believe folks're still fallin' for that," he chuckled. "Don't feel bad - he got the guy framin' the garage foundation yesterday - Larry... what's-his-face. Only heard part of the conversation he was havin' with his boss on the phone, but the word 'violated' came up."
"Oh, good. Maybe we can get a class action lawsuit goin'," I mumbled.
"Anyways, I took the liberty of baggin' yer buck while you were playin' grabass with Neidhart," he announced as he peeled back a tarp and revealed the steamin', previously concealed carcass in the bed of his Sno Chaser.
"In that case, slice off the tenderloin and let's eat. Neidhart ate the corn dogs I had on the dash while I was squeezin' back into the rig," I grumbled.
"In a minute. First, I needjer help with a little project I got cookin'," he explained, his expression returning to its typical grim baseline.
"You test your own moonshine, Duke. A man in my profession can't afford to go blind," I declared.
"It ain't that, now get in the truck. I'll explain on the way," he instructed.
Duke ain't much for talkin' unless it's absolutely necessary, but I could see the gears movin' in that sasquatchian skull of his and it kinda worried me 'cause the man was obviously workin' through some pretty complicated arithmetic.
"'Member that bear you and Cleave trapped in his RV and--" he began.
"Oh, you mean Searano de Beargerac? The fire-scarred ursine that nearly turned Cleave and me into fillet man-ion on two separate occasions? Nah, who's that?!" I shrieked in a state of semi-hysterical snarkiness.
"Oh good, so you do remember," he grinned.
"Whatever you've got planned, round file it," I said.
"Seen the lodge I had built with the scratch those network chumps gave me for Crudfin's skeleton, didn't ya?" he asked.
"Prolly make a real nice place to have an F.B.I. standoff someday," I acknowledged. "So what?"
"The money's pretty good, notoriety's a pain the rear, but haulin' in monsters for a livin'? A guy don't get many chances at a gig like that," he mused.
"Duke, you haven't been eatin' the grouse out by Bernard McGowan's psilocybin operation again, have ya?" I squinted.
"You just leave this to me, I've got a plan that can't fail," he assured me.
"Yeah, you and General Custer," I groaned.
Turns out Duke's galaxy-brained plan essentially amounted to "come at the king and don't miss," but that's the kinda guy he is. The deer - my deer - was to be the bait, the truck we'd stow outta sight around back of a nearby slash pile, and Duke would rub the buck's innards on 'imself to cover his scent. He insisted on usin' a bow on the basis that a .30-06 would be "unsportsmanlike conduct," and because he knew exactly where Searano was holed up in preparation for winter it didn't take more'n about two hours for 'im to pick up the scent of our gutbucket buffet and saunter on over.
In a way it was a merciful thing to do - poor sumbitch looked like a mashed potato golem with that scar tissue coverin' his whole body, but unfortunately said tissue was just a little bit thicker'n Duke had anticipated, and his first arrow only penetrated about five inches into the bear's torso. He nocked and fired three more arrows before Roguey the Bear figured out where the shots were comin' from and charged, but fortunately, Duke had devised a brilliant contingency plan in the event his arrows failed to fell Mental Ben.
"Reckon I'ma need a lift!" Duke hollered toward the Sno Chaser where I was watchin' the disaster unfold.
She cranked on the second try and I was able to get up the road in time to intercept the charge and send Deadly Ruxpin rollin' into a boulder with the aid of the Sno Chaser's plow blade. Duke's gratitude was nearly overwhelming.
"I'll never be able to pound that dent outta there, ya know that right?" he griped as he climbed in and shoved me over into the passenger seat.
"Not unless some enterprisin' metallurgist discovers an element hard as your skull," I agreed."
"Ah well. We'll just have to try somethin' else," he shrugged nonchalantly.
"Somethin' else?! You took your shot at the great white whale and whiffed, Captain Rehab, now get us the hell outta here!" I demanded.
"You needa learn to relax, half-pint. Look at 'im back there - he's groggy, he's stunned, he's --" Duke trailed off as a tremendous thud rocked the Sno Chaser.
"In the back of the truck," I punctuated.
Duke was able to keep Searano off his feet mosta the time by fishtailin' the hind end of the rig, but it was only a temporary solution.
"Now what, Marlin Jerkins?" I squawked unhelpfully.
"I'unno. Could drive 'im into a ravine," Duke suggested.
"Let's hold onto that option until he breaks through the window," I replied.
"Well, then you thinka somethin'!" he barked as he made another sharp left and tossed our trespassenger into the right wheel well.
"Okay. I think I've got somethin," I offered.
"Real good, partner. Feel free to share with the rest of us anytime," he yelled, becoming slightly unnerved for the first time.
"Larry's workin' today, ain't he?" I asked.
"Unless he pulled together enough cash for a fifth last night, yeah," Duke confirmed.
"Drive to your build site," I instructed.
"That's no good - man's chickenshit as they come," Duke parried.
"We don't need him, just his cargo," I explained before grabbin' the CB and coordinatin' best as I could with Larry, who, to his credit, had obviously managed to buy a fifth but still showed up for work.
Duke wasn't able to swerve for the last quarter mile 'cause of all the ruts in his driveway, and that gave Searano a chance to get his footing and shatter the rear glass with his cauliflowered paws. Tore a gash in Duke's right shoulder before he drove an elbow into the bear's muzzle, breakin' his nose and givin' me enough time to find a suitable glass shard with which to fend 'im off for the last few feet while Duke got us centered under the cement mixer.
"Let 'er rip!" Duke roared into the CB, and out it came.
Concrete poured into the truck bed till the rear axle gave out, and Duke swung the cement chute hard as he could directly into Searano's left temple while he was strugglin' in the mix. The blow knocked 'im cold as a penguin's pooter, and with the rear end of the truck saggin, he rolled outta the bed and onto the ground where the concrete continued to flow, eventually envelopin' 'im and settin' up in the Autumn sun.
Unfortunately, Duke's network contact took his sweet time gettin' field investigators out to the site, and by the time they got there the result was pretty unconvincin'. The lump's still sittin' in front of Duke's compound if you wanna stop by and see it - just don't go in expectin' somethin' fit to grace a ledge on the Notre Dame cathedral.
I was pretty well beat by the time we washed all the cement outta the bed of the Sno Chaser and got the rear end up on blocks, so I hacked the tenderloin off the deer, told Duke to hang the rest of it somewhere the coyotes couldn't eat on it, and hauled my hinder home for a little venison and vampires. It don't get much better'n Fright Night when you're talkin' vampires, 'cause when you're watchin' it as a kid (or a severely arrested adolescent) it feels like somethin' that could actually happen. Like, one day you're failin' to get nookie from your uptight, vise-crotched girlfriend, and the next your horny divorcee mother invites the suave, yet potentially wooable vampire antique dealer from next door over for an Old Fashioned, and next thing you know he starts tryin' to put the bite on ya for peekin' at his softcore porno antics and blastin' Iron Maiden albums at 4 in the PM while he's tryin' to sleep. Trust me - it's imperative that you getcher kids' eyeballs on this one before the age of 16, 'cause not only will they think they know everything after that point, but they may even find themselves unmoved by its sagely wisdom. Like these tidbits, for instance. First, women sometimes get overly emotional about their first time, so tryna coax 'em into doin' it on the floor just to avoid sleepin' in the wet spot can be more trouble than it's worth. Second, fingernails don't actually continue to grow after ya die. Un-die, on the other hand, and you can peel an orange with those suckers. And third, if you're gonna sell your soul to be part of the in-crowd, you may as well get a free hickey from Chris Sarandon while you're at it.
The movie begins with this teenager (Charley) up in his bedroom tryna score with Marcy D'Arcy, only he's havin' a little trouble gettin' from point A to point P 'cause he can't figure out why doin' it on the floor next to an old pizza box and his dirty socks don't put 'er in a romantic mood. She does eventually become receptive to the scent of Preferred Stock and Stridex pads, but by that point Charley's already given up and taken an interest in two guys movin' a coffin into the house next door until Marcy gets P.O.'d and decides to go yell at Ed O'Neill. They try makin' up at school the next day but Charley has the attention span of a bulldog in a ball pit, so when a news report about a coupla missin' women comes on the communal TV in the cafeteria he stops payin' attention to what she's sayin' and she jams a sloppy joe so far up his nose that several sesame plants take root in the fissures of his temporal lobe. Next thing, Chris Sarandon finishes gettin' 'imself moved into the house next door to the kid and starts nibblin' on this foxy slice of cheesecake in view of Charley's bedroom where he's taken to makin' like James Stewart in Rear Window to pass the time between hormone surges. Chris catches on to the tom peepery and pulls the shade down, but not before Charley witnesses Chris's dental Viagra kick in, and when the woman's scream fills the night air he tries tellin' his mom but she don't believe 'im 'cause she hasn't believed in anything since she took the Pepsi Challenge in '77 and found out her previous life as a Coke loyalist was a lie. Then Charley heads outside to conduct a little suburban recon in the hedges and sees Chris's manservant/Dollar Store Bill Paxton (Billy Cole) loadin' the body into his rig, but his mom still won't believe 'im 'cause it's been close to a decade since she had 'er tires rotated and Chris has those smoldering bedroom eyes that make women's knees give out like Joe Namath on a stair stepper.
The next day Charley goes to the cops and gets as far as Chris's livin' room before uncorkin' the "v" word and gettin' his carcass dragged outta there for violatin' Dracula's castle doctrine. He's pretty well stepped in it now, so he decides to go visit this kid (Evil Ed) who looks like everybody who's ever stood in line for tickets to a Sex Pistols concert and stays home alone every Friday night to watch Roddy McDowall dress up like Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles on a crappy insert stage hostin' movies that wouldn't fly as a third feature at a drive-in in Duluth, Iowa. Once Evil teaches Charley how to protect 'imself from non-consensual blood draws he starts feelin' a little better, but when Charley gets home he finds out his mom's invited Chris in for a cup of cleavage and inadvertently annihilated his best line of defense against unwanted incisor incursions. Then Chris starts doin' the Batusi all over the roof at 2 in the AM before sneakin' into the house through mom's bedroom window and liftin' Charlie off the ground by his throat so he'll be in a position to listen when Chris tries explainin' how much easier life'll be if he just looks the other way durin' the impending prostitute shortage, but instead, Charley plunges a #2 pencil through Chris's palm. Chris is P.O.'d, and once he finishes growin' matchin' sets of Count Orlok nails and transformin' into what you might expect Meatloaf to look like after bein' forcibly ejected from the Old Country Buffet, he hurls Charley so deep into the closet that Amanda Bearse and Stephen Geoffreys hafta duck to avoid bein' decapitated. Fortunately, mom begins to stir in the next room and Chris hasta take flight, but Charley can't go to sleep knowin' the Sarandman's lurkin', and so he turns on the tube and watches Roddy ham it up on Insomniac Theater until he gets an idea.
The next day Charley goes to tell Roddy about his neighbor's nosferatude and ask for his help, but Roddy's P.O.'d 'cause the network just sold his time slot to David Oreck and so he ignores Charley's desperate plea even after he explains that Roddy's his last chance to avoid bein' turned into guano. Faced with no other option, Charley then starts suckin' up to God by redecoratin' his room with religious iconography and scented candles until it looks like Type O Negative's comin' over to shoot a music video for "Christian Woman," before explainin' to Marcy and Evil that he's taken it upon himself to go stake it to the man while he's still sleep-deprived and temporarily insane. Marcy and Evil convince Charley to hold off on his plan to commit assault with an occultish weapon until they can bribe Roddy into performin' a vampire exam on Chris, and everything seems to check out after Roddy offers Chris a bottle of regular unblessed tap water. Normally this dereliction of duty could get a guy drummed outta the horror hostin' business, but as they're about to leave Roddy drops his ceremonial makeup compact and notices Chris has no reflection, and when Chris finds a shard from the broken mirror on the floor after everyone's gone all bats are off. Chris follows Evil down a dead-end alleyway, but instead of just addin' the kid to the surrounding urban decay he offers 'im an undead apprenticeship and permanent protection from all manner of high school hazing, which Evil accepts. Then Evil heads over to Roddy's place to tell 'im he couldn't carry John Zacherle's prop trunk till Roddy presses a crucifix to Ed's forehead and leaves 'im lookin' like Charles Manson on court deposition day. While that's goin' on, Chris trails Charley and Marcy into a nightclub and mesmerizes Marcy till she's entranced with his pants, only about that time the bouncers notice Chris ain't got a stamp on the back of his hand and he hasta perform a little deconstructive surgery on their faces before takin' Marcy back to Fangrila for a little exsanguinus aardvarkus.
Normally when your chick ditches you at the dance you'd just go home and start comin' up with a buncha bullstuff to spread around school the next day, but not Charley. He drives over to Roddy's pad and reminds 'im how many Sequoias hadda be felled to keep up with the demand for his cinematic vampire stakins till he gets pumped up like a Reebok Supreme and the two of 'em hop in Roddy's Studebaker to go ventilate some vamp ventricles. 'Course once they head inside Billy the zombutler's waitin' for 'em, and he clotheslines Charley over the banister of the stairwell landing until Roddy's confidence turns to mush like the "before" guy in those Just For Men commercials. Roddy's got way too much snow on the roof to be takin' bumps like that without his medic alert bracelet, so he runs over to Charley's house to call the cops but finds Evil in mama's bed wearin' a Raggedy Ann wig and next thing ya know Evil joins the Westminster Kennel Club and ends up impalin' 'imself on a table leg when he lunges at Roddy's snausage. Goin' back into Chris's place to risk punctuatin' a life of workin' for scale with actual punctures ain't really what Roddy had in mind for his golden years, but he steadies 'imself and helps Charley locate Marcy even though she's twice as frigid as before and looks like somethin' outta the Victorian Secrets Catalog of Aristocratic Shame. Roddy figures if they can spike Chris's heartwood before dawn Marcy'll revert and be back to bustin' Charley's balls by supper time, but when they start creepin' around they run into Billy and they hafta put six bullets in 'im and gore 'im through the guacamole squib till Nickelodeon slime starts pourin' out all over the 14th Century Persian rug. Things're startin' to get a little too close for comfort, so Chris sics Broad the Impaler on the guys and starts doin' ninja flips through stained glass windows en route to the basement in hopes of climbin' into his coffin and ridin' things out till dark... but I think I'm gonna shut my trap right here 'cause we're gettin' real close to the endin' and I don't wanna be responsible for a buncha P.O.'d teenage goths hangin' around the Hot Topic refusin' to buy Misfits t-shirts to protest internet spoilers.
Alrighty, well, thank cripes for '50s & '60s nostalgia during the 1980s. That's my working hypothesis for the resurrection of a vampire subgenre that'd been largely dormant since Hammer gave 'em up in the early '70s, anyway. Science fiction nostalgia got us remakes of Invaders from Mars, The Fly, The Blob, and The Thing, so it stands to reason that it may too have been the reason why the vampire flick was also able to experience a resurgence. It's true that Salem's Lot and The Hunger kept the home fires burning, but both came out before '80s culture had really come into its own, and for that reason, it is Fright Night that became the progenitor of all the classic vampire flicks that followed. Admittedly, I prefer The Lost Boys, but Fright Night is probably the quintessential vampire flick of the '80s on the basis that it exemplifies what an '80s film looks and feels like, and features characters that are more relatable to an audience that grew up with interests outside mainstream pop culture. It's definitely a bit uneven when compared to flicks like Near Dark, Vamp, and The Lost Boys, which, despite being very different from each other, are all very focused. Fright Night, meanwhile, includes a lot of comedy, a sequence that feels like an after-school special, romance, drama, and a few moments that might even make ya tear up a little. All these ideas and moments somehow mesh without butting heads, but at the same time, the flick's all over the map and doesn't quite seem to know what it's supposed to be - which may actually explain why it has such a broad appeal. Is it a horror flick? A love story? A teen comedy? A buddy picture? Well, yeah; matter of fact, it is. It was also a pretty expensive flick for Columbia, who spent 9.5 million on it and sunk a hell of a lot of that into the special effects department - making it the first vampire movie ever made to have more than a million bucks dedicated entirely to the effects. Unfortunately, it wouldn't last, and slowly but surely all the medium-budget studios either went bankrupt or were swallowed up by larger companies. Columbia was purchased by Sony a few years later, after which it became a husk of its former self in much the same way Roger Corman's New World Pictures did when he sold the brand to some folks who had different ideas about how the company should be run. Nonetheless, the studio had a great run while it lasted - with Fright Night still holding strong as one of Columbia's greatest achievements 36 years later, and they deserve credit not just for putting up as much cash as they did, but also for letting Tom Holland make the flick he envisioned with minimal executive meddling, despite it being his first directorial gig.
In any event, it's about time we sink our teeth into this thing and get a feel for the blood/alcohol content of the folks in charge of its production. The premise is pretty original for its time and successfully brings the vampire subgenre into a modern setting, while including numerous tips of the hat that pay homage to vampire flicks past. Atmospherically it's all over the lot - shifting from silly pranks to genuinely moving character interactions within mere moments of each other, but the abundant comedy never overpowers the horror, and the horror never gets so intense that it makes the comedy feel inappropriate. If we're bein' bluntly honest here, a person could get emotional whiplash watchin' this thing, and yet, somehow, it never goes too far in any one direction to destabilize the balancing of genres, and the fifteen minutes of extra runtime (at least based on the average of the time) also allows for a bit more depth and nuance of characterization, despite being strangely lacking in plot twists.
The acting is exceptional thanks in large part to Chris Sarandon's ability to go from deathly serious to incredibly hammy and back as the script necessitates, and his comedic timing and delivery steal every single scene he's in despite sharing many of them with one of the greatest character actors of all time in Roddy McDowall. Sarandon's vampire also gets an unusual amount of depth, as he's seen early on promising not to kill his human antagonist in exchange for silence rather than simply chompin' 'im straight away, and again showing mercy to the high school outcast by allowing him to join the club instead of just corpsin' him up. In the second half of the equation we've got the always reliable Roddy McDowall shoring up the supporting cast with his own superb performance as the aging Z-list movie actor of a bygone era, lamenting the changing of the guard while trying to overcome his cowardice to help save a new generation of teens whose modern taste in film has just cost him his livelihood. William Ragsdale and Amanda Bearse are both likable and believable as the average suburban teens tryin' to get out in front of this vampire business, but while there's nothing at all wrong with either performance - it's difficult to compete for best actor honors when you're goin' up against both Chris Sarandon and Roddy McDowall. Stephen Geoffreys is also excellent as the high school misfit Evil Ed, particularly in the third act when his character turns vampire and is found to have held onto a great deal of the teenage angst that led him to make his choice. It's not the best performance in the flick but it's definitely the most unique, as its not often an audience has borne witness to a newly empowered, undead bullying victim being given the opportunity to vent his frustrations.
Here's who matters and why ('sides Chris Sarandon and Roddy McDowall, who need no introduction): William Ragsdale (The Reaping, Frankenstein: The College Years, Fright Night Part 2, Screams of a Winter Night), Amanda Bearse (Sky Sharks, Here Come the Munsters), Stephen Geoffreys (Moon 44, 976-EVIL, The Day of the Living Dead, Bite Marks, The Chair, Sick Girl), Jonathan Stark (Mom and Dad Save the World, House II), Dorothy Fielding (Jaws), Art Evans (Alien Rising, Machete Joe, Tales from the Hood, Mom, Christine), Nick Savage (Friday the 13th Part III), Bob Corff (Gas! - or - It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It), Pamela Brown (The Day After), Chris Hendrie (Shallow Ground, Psycho II), Prince Hughes (Weird Science), Joy Michelle Moore (Spider-Man 2002), Richard Patrick (Back to the Future), Jason Stuart (The Pit and the Pendulum 2009).
Mainstream credits are as follows: William Ragsdale (Gary Hawkins on Justified, Rob Fields on Grosse Pointe, Herman Brooks on Herman's Head), Amanda Bearse (Marcy D'Arcy on Married with Children), Dorothy Fielding (Sara Dancy Powers on The Doctors), Irina Irvine (Jamie on Beauty and the Beast), Prince Hughes (Bubba Kincaid on 1st and Ten).
The special effects would probably make a top ten list of the decade's best were I to make one, and although I wouldn't say they're completely flawless, their sheer abundance and *near* perfection puts them within the top fifth percentile all-time. The only piece that's subpar appears early on during Sarandon's first transformation when he goes apeshit after takin' the pencil jab - after that one brief sequence the flick becomes a master class in creature/gore effects and never lets up until the credits roll. All the different phases of vampire transformation, the fangs, the cross seared into Evil's forehead, the incredible melting butler, the bat creature, the werewolf transformation, and the blood consistency/coloration are nothing short of spectacular. The most memorable effect in the movie may be the "shark mouth" Amanda Bearse wears during the climax, and it too looks amazing despite having been constructed over a weekend at the last minute. Any way you slice it all the money the studio spent on the effects was well worth it, and everyone who took part in their creation has a great deal to be proud of.
The shooting locations range from good to great and include some historically significant structures - including the TV studio exterior that had previously been used during the opening of the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers, as well as Charley's neighborhood which would be used again a few years later for Tom Hanks' neighborhood in The 'Burbs. We've also got the high school cafeteria (which includes a TV and looks more like a huge diner), and the nightclub (previously a hardware store, and feeling just a little off as a party spot) serving as the two lesser locations more than made up for by the fantastic production design/set decoration of Roddy McDowall's apartment and Chris Sarandon's residence. Both are filled with really cool props (including one of McDowall's life casts from Planet of the Apes) that tell the backstories of each character without having to spend a lot of time delving into their pasts via exposition. The exterior shots of the vampire house with the fog belching out into the dark of night make for excellent nods to both the Hammer and Universal flicks that came before, and everything is masterfully photographed by cinematographer Jan Kiesser, who ratchets the flick's atmosphere up to 11. Really good stuff here.
The soundtrack, like the plot, varies tonally to match the shifting mood of the flick, and to that end, it works well. All the instrumental tracks are centered around the synthesizer and range from borderline slapstick (including a mock Jaws piece) to beautifully arranged, catchy ballads. The sheer variety in the score speaks to the talent of its composer, Brad Fiedel, as it hasta be a lot tougher to create music that's internally consistent with itself, but which still fits all the different moods of a flick with undiagnosed bipolar disorder. The flick also features an excellent rock soundtrack that includes tunes by White Sister, Autograph, Devo, and April Wine, as well as the ultra-catchy titular track, "Fright Night" by The J. Geils Band, and Brad Fiedel's "Come to Me." I have ranked the latter two songs at #52 and #72, respectively, on my list of the Top 100 Greatest Horror Rock Songs of the '80s and '90s, so that should give you an idea not only of how effective the soundtrack is, but also of its tremendous '80s cred.
Overall, Fright Night's one of the best vampire flicks of all time, and probably the most important one of the '80s simply because its success proved that there was still a place for vampire pictures, provided they take place within a modern setting. If you haven't seen this one I'd recommend remedying that at your earliest convenience.