Fright Night

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For the 2011 remake, see Fright Night (2011 film).
For other uses, see Fright Night (disambiguation).
Fright Night
Fright night poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tom Holland
Produced by Herb Jaffe
Written by Tom Holland
Starring Chris Sarandon
William Ragsdale
Amanda Bearse
Stephen Geoffreys
and Roddy McDowall
Music by Brad Fiedel
Cinematography Jan Kiesser
Edited by Kent Beyda
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s)
  • August 2, 1985 (1985-08-02)
Running time 108 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $9 million
Box office $24,922,237

Fright Night is a 1985 American horror film written and directed by Tom Holland and produced by Herb Jaffe. It stars William Ragsdale, Chris Sarandon, Roddy McDowall and Amanda Bearse. The film's plot follows young Charley Brewster who discovers that his next-door neighbor, Jerry Dandrige, is a vampire. When no one believes him, Charley decides to get Peter Vincent, a Vampire Hunter TV show host, to stop Jerry from starting a massive killing spree. The film was released on August 2, 1985 and was followed by a sequel, Fright Night II in 1988, and a 3D remake in 2011, which was followed by a sequel in 2013.


Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) is a huge fan of traditional Gothic horror films. He stays up late at night to watch the horror movie TV series "Fright Night" hosted by Charley's hero, Hammer Horror style actor Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall), who played a vampire killer for many years in horror movies.

Charley discovers that his new next door neighbor, Jerry Dandrige (Chris Sarandon) is a vampire. Upon coming to this terrible realization, Charley tries to tell his naturally skeptical yet loving mother, and asks his friends for their help. In desperation he calls the police but when he reveals his suspicions to them they believe he has a wild imagination and ignore his claims. That night Charley gets a visit from Jerry himself who offers Charley a "choice" (something he claims to lack himself): "Forget about me and I'll forget about you." Charley tries to use his crucifix on Jerry but the latter stops him and slowly tries to push Charley out the window to his death. Charley stabs Jerry through the hand with a pencil. Enraged, Jerry destroys Charley's car in retaliation and warns Charlie that he plans to do much worse to him later.

Charley turns to Peter Vincent, for help, but Peter dismisses Charley as an obsessed fan. Charley's girlfriend, Amy Peterson (Amanda Bearse), fears for Charley's sanity and safety so she hires the financially destitute Vincent to "prove" that Jerry is not a vampire by having him ingest what they claim is "holy water", but it turns out to only be tap water (Jerry having claimed to Peter that ingesting actual holy water would be against his religious convictions).

Vincent accidentally discovers Jerry's true nature after glancing his lack of a reflection in his pocket mirror, which causes him to accidentally drop and smash the mirror. With this terrifying knowledge Peter flees but Jerry learns of Peter's discovery after finding a piece of his pocket mirror on the floor.

Jerry hunts down and turns Charley's friend, "Evil Ed" Thompson (Stephen Geoffreys), into a vampire. Ed then visits Peter and tries to attack him, only to be warded off when injured by a crucifix. Meanwhile, Jerry chases Charley and Amy into a club. While Charley is trying to call Peter for help, Jerry hypnotizes and abducts Amy, who bears a resemblance to Jerry's lost love (whom Jerry has a painting of). With nowhere left to turn, Charley attempts to gain Peter's help once more.

Peter, frightened from having dealt with Evil Ed, initially refuses, but then reluctantly resumes his "Vampire Killer" role as Charley approaches his neighbor's house. The two are able to repel Jerry's attack using a crucifix, though only Charley's works, since he has faith in its spiritual power. Billy Cole (Jonathan Stark), Jerry's live-in carpenter and daytime protector, appears and knocks Charley over the banister and to the ground. Peter flees to Charley's house, finding that Mrs. Brewster is at work, and is attacked by Evil Ed, who takes a wolf form. Peter apparently kills Ed after staking him through the heart, but removes the stake afterwards. An unconscious Charley is taken to Amy who has been turned into a vampire by Jerry. Peter says the process can be reversed, but only if they kill Jerry before dawn.

Charley and Peter are then confronted by Billy, whom Peter shoots, on the assumption that Billy is human due to having a reflection and appearing during daytime. This theory proves to be incorrect. Billy rises again and is only killed when staked through the heart by Charley, dissolving him into goo and dust. Jerry appears, but Peter is able to lure the overconfident vampire in front of a window using a crucifix (which now works against Jerry in the hands of Peter, due to Peter's renewed faith in its abilities). Just before the morning sun lights him ablaze. Jerry turns into a bat and attacks Peter and Charley (biting Charley in the process) before fleeing, wounded, to his coffin in the basement. Charley and Peter go in pursuit of Jerry; Peter breaks open Jerry's coffin and tries to stake him through the heart whilst Charley has to fight off Amy, who has completed her transformation. By breaking the blacked-out windows in the basement, Peter and Charley are able to expose Jerry to the sunlight and kill him. Jerry's death leads Amy to become human once more, and the three embrace.

A few nights later Peter returns to his Fright Night TV series and announces a break from vampires, instead selecting to present an alien invasion movie, watched in Charley's bedroom by Charley and Amy. The last shot shows two red eyes appearing from the darkness of Jerry's house and Ed's voice laughing and saying "Oh, you're so cool, Brewster!".



Filming began from December 3, 1984 and was finished in February 23, 1985. Some of the films used as movies shown on the fictional Fright Night are Scars of Dracula (1970), The Premature Burial (1962), Count Dracula (1969), and Octaman (1974).

Roddy McDowall's character, Peter Vincent, was named after horror icons Peter Cushing and Vincent Price.

During a shooting of the film on Christmas Eve, actor William Ragsdale accidentally broke his ankle, resulting in the film being put on a hold until Ragsdale could recover from his injury.


Box office[edit]

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.[2] It was also 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, a Dario Argento Award, and a critics' award—special citation at Fantasporto and currently holds a 94% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, based on 30 reviews. Chris Sarandon was praised for his multifaceted performance. A 1988 sequel followed, entitled Fright Night Part II, with William Ragsdale and Roddy McDowall reprising their roles. The sequel was not as well received as the original.[3]

Award Nominee Subject Result
Saturn Award Best Director Tom Holland Nominated
Best Writing Won
Best Supporting Actor Roddy McDowall
Best Horror Film
Best Actor Chris Sarandon Nominated

Adaptations and merchandising[edit]

In 1985, a novelization, Fright Night, by Craig Spector and John Skipp, was published by TOR Books.[citation needed]

In 1988, Fright Night was also spun-off into a comic book series by Now Comics. It ran for 22 issues until July 1990.[4]

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.[5]


In 1987, after the critical and financial success of Fright Night a sequel Fright Night II was given a very limited release. Both William Ragsdale and Roddy McDowall reprised their roles.

Home media[edit]

The film was released on VHS and on DVD as a bare-bones edition in 1999. On December 13, 2011, the film was released as a limited edition Blu-ray (only 3,000 copies were made) sold exclusively through It includes two theatrical trailers, an isolated music score and a four page booklet containing an essay on the film as special features. The Blu-ray is now out of print/sold out and has become an expensive item on[citation needed]


Fright Night
Soundtrack album by various artists
Released 1985
Genre Rock, new wave
Length 37:12
Label Private I

Released on LP in 1985 by Private I Records, the soundtrack includes the following 10 tracks:[6]

  1. "Fright Night" (The J. Geils Band) – 3:45
  2. "You Can't Hide from the Beast Inside" (Autograph) – 4:14
  3. "Good Man in a Bad Time" (Ian Hunter) – 3:41
  4. "Rock Myself to Sleep" (April Wine) – 2:57
  5. "Let's Talk" (Devo) – 2:52
  6. "Armies of the Night" (Sparks) – 4:34
  7. "Give It Up" (Evelyn "Champagne" King) – 3:43
  8. "Save Me Tonight" (White Sister) – 4:22
  9. "Boppin' Tonight" (Fabulous Fontaines) – 3:10
  10. "Come to Me" (Brad Fiedel) – 3:54


In May 2009, DreamWorks announced that it would be overseeing a remake of Fright Night.[7] Mike De Luca, Michael Gaeta, and Alison Rosenzweig are the producers.[8] Marti Noxon wrote the script of the remake.[9][10] In March 2010 it was announced that Craig Gillespie would direct the remake,[11] and it was financed by Steven Spielberg with his company DreamWorks.[12] It will be released and distributed by Disney under the Touchstone banner, as part of the 30-picture deal between DreamWorks Studios and the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group.

The film was shot in New Mexico, and wrapped in 2010 with Anton Yelchin to play the lead as teenage Charlie Brewster who thinks his next door neighbor is a vampire.[13] Toni Collette plays Charlie's mother. Colin Farrell plays the antagonist/charismatic neighbor/vampire Jerry Dandrige, originally portrayed by Chris Sarandon.[14] Scottish actor David Tennant plays the role of Peter Vincent. In the remake, Vincent is a Las Vegas magician whose show revolves around horror-movie imagery.[15] Sandra Vergara, sister of actress Sofia Vergara, plays his girlfriend, the magician's assistant.[16] Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays Evil Ed.[17] Imogen Poots plays Charlie's girlfriend Amy.[18] Chris Sarandon cameos as a hapless passerby who encounters the vampire.

On August 19, 2011 the film was released in Real D 3D with Paradise FX's Tri Delta camera systems.[19] Max Penner (CTO of Paradise FX) is the Stereographer.[18]

The remake was followed by a sequel, titled Fright Night 2: New Blood, which repeats the same plot as the original and the remake. It was released direct-to-video on October 1, 2013 by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.


  1. ^ Tom Holland. "Fright Night (1985) Script". ScribD. 
  2. ^ "Fright Night (1985)". 1985-09-17. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  3. ^ Maslin, Janet, "Screen: Fright Night Vampire Tale," New York Times (August 2, 1985)
  4. ^ Frankenhoff, Brent (2010). Comic Book Price Guide, p. 291
  5. ^ Moby Games: Fright Night
  6. ^ "Rare "Fright Night" Vinyl Soundtrack (1985) Devo, White Sister - Sealed". Etsy. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  7. ^ [ 'Fright Night' Remake Revived Over at DreamWorks]
  8. ^ Fernandez, Jay A. "'Fright Night' remake in works". 
  9. ^ [ Screenwriter Named as Fright Night Remake Inches Forward]
  10. ^ [/ 'Buffy' Scribe Will Write 'Fright Night' Remake! - Cinematical]
  11. ^ [ Fright Night Remake Finds a Director?]
  12. ^ [ Spielberg Connection Tapped to Direct 'Fright Night' Remake]
  13. ^ Keith Staskiewicz. "Anton Yelchin Cast in "Fright Night" Remake". 
  14. ^ "Fright Night Remake Coming at Us in 3D?". 
  15. ^ Borys Kit. "Norwegian Monster Movie 'The Troll Hunter' Lands U.S. Distribution". 
  16. ^ "Sofia Vergara's sister cast in "Fright Night"". Reuters.
  17. ^ Borys Kit. "Norwegian Monster Movie 'The Troll Hunter' Lands U.S. Distribution". 
  18. ^ a b Imogen Poots Joins Fright Night, film's release date set.
  19. ^ "Fright Night 2011 Official Website". Retrieved 16 May 2011. 

External links[edit]