Fright Night is All About the Vampire Next Door
The original Fright Night film was a runaway success. Film studio Columbia had no idea it would do so well in box office, but it did. The simple story of a young man realizing that his next door neighbor is a vampire seems like a pretty basic plot (there are a lot of stories where the protagonist learn that their neighbors are not normal), but the execution is done so well and the actors play into the roles so naturally that one cannot help but enjoy the film. There is indeed, a remake of the movie in the form of a 2011 film, but the original Fright Night still has an undeniable charm.
Simple Plot, Good Delivery
The movie's premise is pretty basic: Charley Brewster learns that his new neighbor, Jerry, is a vampire. Since no one believes in him, not even his girlfriend Amy, he decides to seek the help of former horror movie actor Peter Vincent (who now hosts an occult-themed TV show named Fright Night). Like everyone else, Peter also thinks that Charley may be off his horse, but Amy decides to hire Peter in order to finally convince Charley that Jerry is not a vampire. Peter gives in, and in so doing, actually realizes that Charley was really telling the truth. He keeps this a secret, but Jerry figures out that Peter knows.
Jerry decides to turn Ed, Charley's friend, into a vampire. He sends Ed to attack Peter while he attacks Charley and abducts Amy. While the attack fazes Peter at first, Charley's determination to save Amy reawakens Peter's passion as a vampire hunter –a role that made him famous.
The Right Kind of Storytelling
There's a kind of dorkiness in the movie –a fanboy recruiting the help of his favorite TV icon in order to face down a mythical creature has all the hallmark traits of fandom-related fantasy fulfillment. Except that this film was done back in 1985, and fandom was not yet what it is today. This allowed the movie to target a more general audience, and people loved it.
That's the biggest twist in the story –Columbia Pictures just threw production funds at Tom Holland and did not think much about the film during production. Instead they were focused on the production of Perfect, which cost the studio 20 million to produce –it tanked however, and generated a little under 13 million in the box office. On the other hand, Fright Night was both a critical and box office success. Even to this day, critics give the film great ratings and while the movie only cost 7 million to produce, it managed to earn 24 million.
One of the biggest advantages that Fright Night had was the very same special effects team that just handled filming on the first Ghostbusters film. And with that came a lot practical and budget saving know-how in the field of creating good prosthetics and other effects that Fright Night needed.
Charley and Peter appealed to audiences because they were very normal and very vulnerable people. Despite Charley's kinda-geeky obsession with the Fright Night TV show, he was just like most normal guys. Peter, on the other hand, was obviously a man past his glory days and was stuck doing a TV show that he didn't seem particularly fond of. Both men grow in the film as they each realize how much drive they really have inside of them. And it is this self-initiated push that viewers are able to connect with the most.
Fright Night's Sequels
If you enjoyed this film, yes there is a sequel. However, it lacks much of the feel and allure of the original –and that is probably due to the fact that most of the original cast did not reprise their roles, nor did director Tom Holland come back to the helm. The sequel was handled by Tommy Wallance and was handled by TriStar Pictures (which was, at that time, a sister studio for Columbia Pictures).
In the film's 2011 remake, Anton Yelchin takes on the role of Charley and David Tennant plays the role of Peter. However, despite the film following most of the same beats as the original, it did not get as much fame or praise. This however may be more due to the fact that the film resembles the original too closely does not provide enough for new audiences to relate to.