This past Friday night, the Bruce Campbell Horror Film Festival was in full swing for day two of the event in Rosemont, Illinois. The horror film fest which was sponsored by Wizard World Comic Con Chicago screened a pristine print in Sony 4K Ultra HD of the 30th anniversary of the 1985 horror classic, Fright Night. On top of that, the film’s writer and director, Tom Holland (Child’s Play), was on hand to introduce the film and have a audience Q&A afterwards. The film’s original music supervisor David Chackler was also on hand to answer questions. Horror Society had one of our intrepid reporters on the scene covering all the action.
1985’s vampire comedy Fright Night is a film that almost always appears on every horror fan’s list of top films ever. The film competently straddles the fine line between horror and comedy in a way that no other film had done since 1981’s An American Werewolf in London.
As director Tom Holland states, the film is an updated version of the boy who cried wolf. Only this time, the boy is a horror fan and he lives next door to a vampire.
The film admittedly is a loose reworking of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Holland stated that his previous film that he wrote, Cloak & Dagger was originally planned as the one to feature the basic story line that Fright Night would have but that plan didn’t work out and Holland decided to make the film as a spy thriller instead. He then wrote the basis for what would become Fright Night.
Fright Night is one of those rare occasions where the stars aligned to allow everything to fit exactly where it needed into place. It featured a smart, hip story line, all the right actors in the right places, incredibly executed practical make-up effects, a wonderful musical score, great set design, and a director that knew exactly what he wanted to craft a horror comedy that hit all the right tones with the audience to make it a classic for all-time.
Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) is a average, all-american teenage boy complete with girl troubles and a best friend that’s a little quirky. Charley is a horror fan and one night while watching his favorite late-night creature feature hosted by washed up actor Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall), he sees two men moving into the house next door late at night. He notices the two are carrying a coffin into the house’s basement. Charley didn’t think too much about it until reports of murdered women start appearing on the news casts. Charley believes he sees his next door neighbor (Chris Sarandon) kill a beautiful woman as a vampire and then remove the body. Nobody will believe Charley, not his girlfriend (Amanda Bearse) or best friend (Stephen Geoffreys), he even goes to the cops about it and gets laughed at.
Charley believes the only one who will believe him and help him is horror host Peter Vincent. Vincent at first turns Charley away but when Charley’s girlfriend Amy and best friend Evil Ed convince Peter to help by paying him, he decides to help out seeing how he is being evicted from his home. Charley, Peter and the gang go to visit his next door neighbor, Jerry Dandrige to persuade Charley he really isn’t a vampire. But Peter sees something to make him think otherwise.
Together, Charley and Vincent must find a way to defeat the vampire and save his friends in the process.
Watch the entire Q&A with director Tom Holland and musical supervisor David Chackler below,