Fright Night (1985, Blu-ray) - Dread Central
Connect with us

Reviews

Fright Night (1985, Blu-ray)

Published

on

frightnightbrs.jpg
Cover art:

reviews2/frightnightbrs.jpg

Fright Night on Blu-rayStarring William Ragsdale, Chris Sarandon, Roddy McDowell, Amanda Bearse, Stephen Geoffreys, Jonathan Stark

Written and Directed by Tom Holland

Distributed by Twilight Time


Fright Night is a film that really needs little to no introduction around these parts and for good reason. One of the more popular titles in Sony’s genre catalog, Fright Night is a much beloved classic not only to the horror crowd but fans of 80’s cinema. Tom Holland’s directorial debut is a loving homage to the vampire films of the 1950’s and 60’s featuring then cutting edge make-up effects (which still hold up amazingly well today) and some of the most heartfelt and memorable performances from an already seasoned and established cast of performers. As a storyteller Holland wanted to cross a vampire story with splashes of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and The Boy Who Cried Wolf as well and wrote the Fright Night screenplay filled with unusually rich characters at a time when slasher flicks with disposable characters were all the rage (as evidenced by one of the tirades made during the film).

In Fright Night we meet horror film fan Charley Brewster (Ragsdale), who has taken a macabre interest in his new next-door neighbor, the charming and charismatic Jerry Dandridge (Sarandon). After seeing Jerry and his ‘live-in carpenter’ (Stark) carry a coffin into the basement and Jerry sprouting fangs behind the girl he’s brought home to snack on, Charley is convinced his new neighbor is a vampire. Unfortunately for Charley, neither his girlfriend, Amy (Bearse), nor his best friend, “Evil” Ed (Geoffreys), believes him; but Jerry is fully aware of what Charley knows, and if the teenager doesn’t stop interfering with his new neighbor’s nocturnal activities, Charley’s doomed to end up like all the decapitated people the nightly news has been reporting about recently.

Charley’s only hope seems to be his idol- the late night horror host of “Fright Night” and self-professed vampire killer Peter Vincent (McDowell). Peter isn’t convinced and being only an actor, he dismissed the teenager as a crazed fan suffering from delusions. But once Peter and Charley’s friends realize that the teenager wasn’t just ‘crying wolf’ about his dangerous and blood-thirsty neighbor, it’s up to Charley and Peter to rescue his friends and stop Jerry from ‘sucking his way through the entire town’ before it’s too late for everyone.

For a 26 year old film, it’s rather remarkable how Fright Night still manages to feels fresh and timely when age hasn’t nearly been as kind to many of its peers from that era of genre cinema. Holland’s script has a perfect blending of witty comedy with some great horror moments throughout featuring a cast of characters that are smart, complex and more importantly- identifiable and that’s what makes Fright Night a true horror classic that’s been able to stand the test of time for over two decades now.

As someone who has owned and watched Fright Night in various incarnations from VHS to DVD to a 35mm print I saw a few years back, nothing so far has even come close to the beauty of this anamorphic 2.35 transfer presentation by Twilight Time. Fright Night has always been a very grain heavy film (especially on VHS and DVD), but this Blu-ray not only manages to keep the film grain texture intact but tone it down to reveal an amazing amount of background detail that I’m shocked to admit I never noticed during the hundreds of times I’ve watched this flick. The textures that make up Jerry’s house are incredibly vivid, the atmosphere of Charley’s candlelit room has a feeling of warmth and intimacy that it has never had before and so many tiny details throughout Fright Night (including the contents of Peter’s vampire kit) really pop here. The coloring throughout the film is far more vivid than I’ve seen before and the transfer really breathes new life into special effects by Richard Edlund and Randall Cook, which have never looked better.

In terms of sound quality, the Fright Night DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is also nicely presented with background sounds finally coming in clear as a bell, especially during the Club Radio sequence when Jerry seduces Amy on the dance floor- the scene has never been more claustrophobically busy than it is here (but in a good way).

The main supplemental material for Fright Night is, for many film score enthusiasts, one of the horror genre’s holy grail that has been sought after since the film originally opened in 1985- Brad Fidel’s complete original score. Presented in a strong stereo mix on an isolated track, every note of Fidel’s haunting score is here for the first time and sounds incredible and immersive to boot. Fans also get a pair of theatrical trailers on the Fright Night Blu-ray that were definitely fun to revisit as well (upon reflection, it’s amazing how spoiler-heavy the trailers were back then) and while I would have loved to see some bonus materials or a commentary track, that’s generally not how Twilight Time handles their limited releases of classic films so I won’t get too worked up over not having more bonus features to indulge in here.

For longtime fans, picking up the Fright Night Blu-ray is a no-brainer; you’ve never experienced Holland’s modern genre classic quite like this and even with a $30 price tag attached, it’s still worth it as Twilight Time’s presentation here managed to reinvigorate the look and feel of Fright Night in ways I could have never expected.

To pick up the Fright Night Blu-ray for yourself, make sure to head over to the Screen Archives website to place your order since it’s not being offered through traditional retailers.

Special Features

  • Isolated score
  • Trailers

    Film

    5 out of 5

    Special Features

    2 out of 5

    Discuss Fright Night on Blu-ray in the comments section below!

  • Continue Reading
    Comments

    Reviews

    Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View

    Published

    on

    Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

    Directed by Marcel Sarmiento


    Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

    17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

    What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

    • Film
    2.0

    Summary

    Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

    Sending
    User Rating 0 (0 votes)
    Continue Reading

    Reviews

    IAMX’s Alive in New Light Review – A Dark, Hypnotic, and Stunning Musical Endeavor

    Published

    on

    Recording eight albums is an achievement no matter the artist, group, or band. This is especially true for Chris Corner’s IAMX, his solo project after the trip hop group Sneaker Pimps, which has enchanted listeners since 2004’s Kiss + Swallow with its dark electronic aesthetic. There’s something fascinating about the music Corner puts out as IAMX. Perhaps it’s the underlying melancholy that seems to pervade the music, almost certainly a result of the musician’s battle with depression and chronic insomnia [Source]. Perhaps it’s the unexpected melodies that reveal themselves with each new measure. Whatever it is, IAMX’s music is a constant delight.

    On Alive in New Light, Corner reveals that his eighth album was a product he created as a way of “…breaking free from demons that have long plagued him,” per an official press release. Strangely enough, this uplifting attitude may easily be overlooked but repeat listens unveil a sense of hope and wonder that are simply breathtaking. The title track echoes with almost angelic choir pads that positively shine as Corner exultingly cries in a shimmering falsetto, “I’m alive in new light!” This comes after the Depeche Mode-esque “Stardust”, which offers the first collaboration with Kat Von D, whose pure voice is a beautiful addition to the pulsating track.

    The third track, “Break The Chains”, has an opening that immediately called to mind Birds of Tokyo’s “Discoloured”, which is meant as a compliment. It’s followed by the Nine Inch Nails influenced “Body Politics”, which meshes Corner’s crooning vocals with a 90’s industrial backdrop. “Exit” has an almost sinister progression lurking in the background that builds to an aggressive, in-your-face third act. The cinematic Middle Eastern flairs of “Stalker” mutate effortlessly into a heartbeat pulse that features back-and-forth vocals between Corner and Von D. The haunted circus vibe that permeates through “Big Man” is mirrored by its playful gothic aura, ghostly “oohs” and “aahs” sprinkled carefully here and there.

    While the album has been a delight up to this point, it’s the final two tracks that took my breath away and left me stunned. “Mile Deep Hollow” builds layer after layer while Corner passionately cries out, “So thank you/you need to know/that you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow/and I love you/you brought me home/because you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow.” The way the song’s melodies back these wonderfully uplifting lyrics feels grand and epic, as though a journey is coming to an end, which is where “The Power and the Glory” comes in. Far more subdued, it’s a beautiful song that feels almost like a religious experience, a hymn of a soul that is desperate to claw its way to salvation and escape a life of pain and darkness.

    What makes Alive in New Light so wonderful is how much there is to experience. I got the album and listened to it no less than five times in a row without pause. I simply couldn’t turn it off because each return revealed something new in the music. Corner also makes fantastic use of Von D’s vocals, carefully placing them so as to make them a treat and not a commonplace certainty.

    While some may be disappointed that there are only nine tracks, each of the songs is carefully and meticulously crafted to be as powerful and meaningful as possible. It really is a stunning accomplishment and I’m nothing short of blown away by how masterfully Alive in New Light plays out.

    • Alive in New Light
    5.0

    Summary

    IAMX’s Alive in New Light is a triumph of music. Full of beauty and confidence, it doesn’t forget the foundation that fans have come to know and love for over a decade but instead embraces that comfortable darkness with open arms. Corner states that this album was a way to break free from his demons. It certainly feels like he’s made peace with them.

    Sending
    User Rating 5 (2 votes)
    Continue Reading

    Reviews

    The Hatred Review – A History Lesson Dug Up From The Depths Of Hell

    Published

    on

    Starring Zelda Adams, Lulu Adams, John Law

    Directed by John Law


    I don’t know about the scholastic interests the masses had (or have) that read all of the killer nuggets that get cranked out on this site, but when I was an academic turd, one of my true passions was history, and it was one of the only subjects that managed to hold my interest, and when the opportunity arose to check out John Law’s ultra-nightmarish feature, The Hatred – I was ready to crack the books once again.

    The setting is the Blackfoot Territory in the late 1800s, and the pains of a lengthy conflict have taken their toll on the remaining soldiers as food has become scarce, and the film picks up with soldiers on the march in the brutal cold and snow covered mountainside. In tow is a P.O.W. (Law), and the decision is made by the soldiers to execute him in earnest instead of having to shorten their rations by feeding him, so he is then hung (pretty harshly done), and left to rot as the uniformed men trudge along. A short time later the group encounters a small family on the fringes of the territory, and when the demands for food are rebuked, the slaughter is on and the only survivor is a young girl (Adams) who prays to an oblivious god that she can one day reap the seeds of revenge upon those who’ve murdered her family. We all know that there are usually two sides to any story, and when the good ear isn’t listening, the evil one turns its direction towards those who need it most, and that’s when the Devil obliges.

    The answer to the young girl’s prayers comes in the resurrection of the prisoner that was hung a short time ago, and he has been dubbed “Vengeance” – together their goal will be achieved by harshly dishing out some retribution, and the way it’s presented is drawn-out, almost like you’re strapped into the front-row pew of a hellfire-cathedral and force-fed the sermon of an evil voice from the South side of the tracks. It’s vicious and beautiful all at once, Law’s direction gives this visually-striking presentation all the bells and whistles to please even the harshest of critics (hell, you’re reading the words of one right now). The performances, while a bit stoic in nature, still convey that overall perception of a wrong that demands to be righted, no matter how morally mishandled it might be. Overall, I can absolutely recommend The Hatred for not only those wanting a period-piece with ferocious-artistry, but for others who continue to pray with no response, and are curious to see what the other side can offer.

    • Film
    3.5

    Summary

    The Hatred is a visually-appealing look into the eyes of animus, and all of the beauty of returning the harm to those who have awarded it to others.

    Sending
    User Rating 0 (0 votes)
    Continue Reading

    Recent Comments

    Advertisement

    Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

    * indicates required

    Go Ad Free!

    Support Dread Central on Patreon!

    Trending

    Copyright © 2017 Dread Central Media LLC