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Fright Night

Film poster of Fright Night
Directed by Tom Holland
Produced by Herb Jaffe
Written by Tom Holland
Starring Chris Sarandon
William Ragsdale
Roddy McDowall
Amanda Bearse
Stephen Geoffreys
Jonathan Stark
Music by Brad Fiedel
Cinematography Jan Kiesser
Editing by Kent Beyda
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) August 2, 1985
Running time 106 min
Country United States
Language English
Budget $9 000 000
Followed by Fright Night II

Fright Night is an American horror film directed by Tom Holland and produced by Herb Jaffe. It stars Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, Roddy McDowall, Stephen Geoffreys and Jonathan Stark. Supporting cast includes Dorothy Fielding, Art J Evans, Irina Irvine, Heidi Sorenson and Nick Savage. The visual effects producer was Richard Edlund. It was released August 2, 1985. It was followed by a 1988 sequel, Fright Night Part II.



Charley Brewster (Ragsdale) is an avid fan of horror films. One night he sees new neighbors moving in next door and they appear to be carrying what looks like a coffin.

The next day when Charley comes home from school, he encounters a hooker (Heidi Sorenson) who has an appointment with his new neighbors. Charley later hears a bloodcurdling scream coming from next door and the next morning he recognizes the young woman's face on television saying that she has been murdered. Later that evening, Charley notices another young woman (Irina Irvine) at this neighbors' house only this time he sees her with Jerry Dandrige (Chris Sarandon) just as he is about to bite her neck. 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 Peterson (Amanda Bearse), but neither of them believe him, and begin to worry about his mental well-being. Charley calls the police claiming that Jerry is the serial killer supposedly responsible for a recent spate of killings. The police investigate and when they do not find any bodies and Charley hysterically says that there is a coffin in the basement with a vampire in it, Detective Lennox (Art Evans) tells Charley never to call the police again. Realizing that he just put himself in great peril, Charley rushes over to Evil Ed's house to ask him what he needs to do to protect himself from Jerry and then heads back home to prepare. Initially, he feels more secure knowing that a vampire cannot enter one's home without being invited in by the rightful owner, but then he discovers it is too late for that as Jerry has already been invited in by his mother.

Later that evening, Charley is confronted is in his bedroom by Jerry, who offers him a choice: "Forget about me and I'll forget about you." Charley refuses and stabs Jerry in the hand with a pencil. Enraged, Jerry roars at Charley as if he's about to kill him but reconsiders upon hearing that Charley's mother woke up with all the commotion and leaves. Jerry later calls Charley and tells him that he is planning to kill him tomorrow night.

Charley then seeks out help of a veteran vampire killer, movie star and local late night bravado of the TV show Fright Night, Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall). Peter visits Jerry with Brewster and his friends in order to persuade Charley that his neighbor can't possibly be a vampire.

Amy comes to believe that Jerry is a vampire, but "Evil" is not convinced, and wants to hear nothing about it. As he leaves, Evil descends upon an open alley, only to encounter Jerry. He becomes scared, and tries to run, but Jerry has the power of the Master. He corners Evil, giving him a choice to either die or join his coven. Evil takes Jerry's hand and is bitten and changed him into a half-vampire.

Back at his house, Peter is scared and tries to shake off his feeling of dread. Just then Evil knocks on his door. Peter opens it, and begins conversing with Evil casually, as he knows nothing of the undead revenant Evil is now. Suddenly, Evil attacks Peter, who sinks a Christian cross upon his forehead. A scalded Evil slinks away, threatening Peter with telling the Master.

Amy and Charley, at the time, happen to be crossing the streets when they see Jerry following them. They run into a night club, but he follows them and hypnotizes Amy. Charley's amateurish physique is no match for Jerry, who causes a fight with Bouncer (Nick Savage) and rips his arm off, scaring dancers and causing a night club riot and escapes to the Master's house with Amy.

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

As Charley and Peter enter the house, Jerry welcomes them to what he calls "Fright Night", an allusion to the horrible night awaiting the two vampire hunters. Peter hesitates for a moment, and his faith is too weak to keep Jerry at bay with his cross. However, Charley has faith and the vampire cowers in fear from his crucifix, but Billy Cole (Jonathan Stark), Jerry's zombie friend, coming to his master's aid, then knocks Charley off the staircase rendering him unconscious, whereupon Peter 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). Jerry leaves a stake for Charley, giving him the choice to kill her. Peter enters Charley's house only to find the phone lines have been cut, whereupon he searches for Charley's mother and finds Evil lying in her bed. Peter runs away and collapses onto a table. Evil then turns into a wolf and chases him and Peter 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. Peter then watches in shock and sadness as a mortally wounded Evil Ed reverts to human form and dies a horrible, painful death; his cross scar vanishes from his forehead in the end.

Peter removes the stake from Evil's corpse and goes back to Jerry'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. Peter tells him that he must destroy Jerry in order to save her. Billy then attacks the two vampire slayers. Peter shoots him in the head (ironically, the cop told Charley earlier that he is no Dirty Harry) and he rolls down the stairs, where he rises again. Peter keeps shooting him but it seems to have little effect. Billy lifts the hunter up to toss him to his death, but Charley intervenes and stabs him in the heart with his stake; it works and Billy is dissolved into green goo and dust, leaving only bits of bone and his skull. Jerry then returns to find his minion dead and Peter repulses him with his cross - his faith returned.

Just then, the bell for daybreak knells, and they all go into the basement of the mansion, where Jerry proceeds to hide in the coffin which he has locked himself in. Amy arrives, and attacks a temporarily displaced Charley. Peter breaks the hinges of the coffin and hammers a stake into Jerry'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 Jerry is surrounded by sunlight; he flies (he is a bat/vampire by now) 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 his friend, and Jerry 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 is on with a new incarnation of Fright Night that will deal with space aliens rather than vampires. Out the window, Charley notices a pair of glowing red eyes in Jerry's now vacant house, but denies having seen anything, when Amy asks if anything is wrong. Before the scene ends, we hear "Evil" Ed's voice.

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.[1] It was the second highest-grossing horror film of 1985, bested only by A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge.

One exception was Janet Maslin, in her review for The New York Times entitled Fright Night, the Vampire Tale, did not like the film.[2]

Fright Night was well-received, winning three Saturn Awards , a Dario Argento award, a critics' award- special citation at Fantasporto. It spawned a 1988 sequel with the same two stars.

In 1985, a novelization, Fright Night by Craig Spector and John Skipp, was published by TOR Books. In 1988, Fright Night was also adapted into a comic book series by Now Comics. It ran for 22 issues until July 1990.

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


  • Actor William Ragsdale accidentally broke his foot during a Christmas Eve shoot. Filming was halted until Ragsdale could make a recovery.
  • "Good Man In A Bad Time" was written by Marc Tanner & Jon Reede, produced by Mick Ronson & Ian Hunter. Performed by Ian Hunter.
  • "Rock Myself To Sleep" was written by Kimberly Rew & Vance de la Cruz, produced by Lance Quinn & performed by April Wine, c/o Capitol Records Inc. (Aquarius Records Ltd. for Canada).
  • "Save Me Tonight" was written by Mitchell Leib & Garri Brandon, produced by Dennis Churchill, Rick Chadock & Cliff Zellman. Performed by White Sister.
  • "Come To Me" was sung by Brad Fiedel (uncredited).
  • Boppin' Tonight was written & produced by Gary Goetzman & Mike Piccirillo, Goetzman/Piccirillo Productions. It was performed by Fabulous Fontaines.
  • 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.[3]
  • Associate Producer: Jerry A Baerwitz
  • Casting: Jackie Burch


In May 2009 it was revealed that DreamWorks would be overseeing a remake of Fright Night.[4] Michael Gaeta and Alison Rosenzweig are set to produce.[5] Marti Noxon wrote currently on the script of the remake.[6] The film is produced by Mike De Luca[7] and will screen in 2011.[8] In March 2010 was announced that Craig Gillespie will direct the remake[9], who will narrated and financed by Steven Spielberg with his company DreamWorks.[10]

In India, Bollywood remade this movie in Hindi under title of Wohi Bhayankar Raat[citation needed].


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