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"You're so cool, Brewster!"

"Welcome to Fright Night... for real!"
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Fright Night is a 1985 vampire movie directed by Tom Holland (no, not that Tom Holland), starring Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, and Roddy McDowall.

Charley Brewster (Ragsdale) is a teenage boy who loves watching horror movies on late-night television while making out with his girlfriend Amy (Bearse), whom he pretends is helping him study. One night, he sees two men, Jerry Dandrige (Sarandon) and Billy Cole (Jonathan Stark), carrying a coffin into the house next door and makes the natural (to him) assumption that a vampire has moved in. Soon after, dead prostitutes start being reported, and Charley actually sees Jerry attack a woman while looking out his bedroom window. When Jerry attacks him late one night to scare him away from investigating further, Charley's suspicions are only confirmed.

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Charley first seeks help from Amy and his friend "Evil" Ed Thompson (Stephen Geoffreys), who both think he's crazy, and then from Peter Vincent (McDowall), former B-Movie actor turned host of the late-night horror program Fright Night. After some goading, the four of them arrange to meet Jerry to test whether he's a vampire, though secretly, everyone except Charley is actually trying to "prove" to him that Jerry's not a vampire. However, when Peter notices Jerry's lack of a reflection, he quickly realizes that the boy is right. He and Charley decide to meet up to stake the vampire before he kills him and his friends.

The film was followed by a sequel in 1989, aptly titled Fright Night Part II. Ragsdale and McDowall reprise their roles as Charley and Peter respectively, with Julie Carmen and Traci Lind joining the cast. Set a few years after the first film, the second movie follows Charley, now attending college, and Peter as they battle the seductive vampire Regine (Carmen), who's out for revenge on both Charley and Peter for their role in Jerry's death, and decides the best way to make Charley pay is to turn him into a vampire. Now it falls to Peter and Charley's new girlfriend Alex (Lind) to save Charley from A Fate Worse Than Death.

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A remake was released in 2011.


The original 1985 film contains the following tropes:

  • Adult Fear: Not being able to protect loved ones.
    Amy: You said you wouldn't let him get me, Charley.
  • Affably Evil: Jerry, though he becomes more like Faux Affably Evil later on.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Jerry seduces young girls and has a very close relationship with Billy Cole. The pair were intentionally written with homoerotic undertones, though neither actor picked up on them until they watched the film.
  • Badass Longcoat:
    • Jerry wears a large trenchcoat through much of the film, which serves as a modern update of a vampire's cape.
    • Peter also wears one.
  • Badass Normal: Charley, Peter, and Alex beat vampires with no supernatural powers.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: In a variant, Jerry shows off his undead muscles by effortlessly lifting open a window Charley had spent the afternoon nailing shut. This, after casually flicking the latch off its frame.
  • Becoming the Mask: Peter, who goes from actor typecast as a vampire killer to a slayer himself.
  • Berserk Button / Embarrassing Nickname: Ed hates being called "Evil."
  • Big Bad: Jerry, the vampire next door.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Charley when he discovers Amy's been vampirized. Jerry enjoys it.
    • Jerry gets one off just before transforming into a bat.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Amy when Charlie finds her in Jerry's house. It seems to be a process of the transformation as she regains her pupils after completely turning.
  • Blown Across the Room: Jerry dies in this manner when Charley yanks the huge curtain from a big picture window and he's hit by a blast of sunlight.
  • Body Horror: Vampire transformations are disturbing, from lots of teeth to claws and red eyes.
  • Bookends: The film begins and ends with Charley and Amy necking in the former's bedroom. The television even Lampshades it with a character yelling "Look! We're back where we started from!"
  • Brainwashed: During the nightclub sequence.
  • Bring It: Jerry to Charley and Peter inside the mansion.
  • Broken Pedestal: Ed to Peter after he's been turned into a vampire. To Charley's credit, he never loses his faith in Peter.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Peter initially refuses to help Charley against Jerry, but later shows up as an ally.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Peter's attempt at using a crucifix on Jerry fails because he does not believe it.
  • Contemptible Cover: The somewhat goofy-looking vampire on the case doesn't mesh with the fact that this is a horror film, not a spoof.
  • Contralto of Danger: Vampire!Amy's voice is much much deeper (and openly seductive) than her normal squeaky teen voice.
    Vampire!Amy: What's the matter, Charley? Don't you want me anymore?
  • Cool Old Guy: Peter is a campy actor and eventually decides to help fight vampires. Pretty cool.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Peter in the first half. Then he sees it's all true...
  • Disappeared Dad: Charley's father left the family.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Played by former Playboy Playmate Heidi Sorenson. Also, She's Got Legs.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Ed's seduction can be viewed as a Coming-Out Story (especially with Geoffrey's Reality Subtext).
  • Dying as Yourself: Ed. First he reverts from wolf to vampire, then to himself.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Charley saves Amy and all is well, then the final shot of the movie focuses on Jerry's house and we see glowing eyes looking at the pair through the window and hear Evil Ed's voice, indicating he's still alive and the new vampire of the neighborhood..
  • Enemy Rising Behind: Billy Cole is shot in the head by Peter and falls down the stairs. A few moments later, while Peter and Charley are facing the other way, Cole gets up and starts walking up the stairs toward them.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Jerry had a lover who Amy reminds him of.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Jerry turns down several opportunities to simply kill Charley. Sarandon said that he wanted to remind the audience of Jerry's underlying humanity with his performance.
  • Evil Overlooker: The posters employ a variation with evil clouds shaped as vampires.
  • Expanded Universe: The movie was followed by an ongoing comic by NOW! Comics until the company bankrupted in 1991.
  • Flyover Country: Peter Vincent's eviction notice reveals that the film is set in Iowa.
  • Game Face: The vampires employ this.
  • Genre Savvy: All of the vampire killers' vampire lore comes from horror movies. Charley asks how Peter knows that Amy will return to normal if they kill Jerry before dawn, Peter reasons that vampire movies have been accurate on all other points so far.
  • Gilligan Cut: Charley learns that a vampire cannot enter your home unless invited by the owners. In the next scene, his mother summons him to meet the neighbor she's just invited in.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Ed, in the ending, from Jerry's house.
  • Gorn: Both the transformations and the kills. It's a vampire movie, after all.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: Billy Cole's death.
  • Hidden Depths: Ed is a cackling, crazy asshole when around Charley, but Jerry implies that he's a friendless, bullied and frightened kid.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Ed's cross-induced burnt forehead was even the page image; it still shows up in Super Loser.
  • Horror Host: Peter Vincent used to star in horror films, but now just hosts late-night horror films.
  • Hypnotize the Princess: Jerry to Amy before she is bitten.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Peter gets offended when Charley accuses him of having not used real holy water when they're testing to see if Jerry is actually a vampire, despite the fact that that's exactly what he did.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: A subversion, when Ed yanks Charley's chain by claiming he's been bitten by the vampire and needs to be killed. Naturally, that's exactly what happens to Ed as soon as Charley stomps off in anger.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: After Jerry captures Amy, he takes her to his mansion and seduces her, eventually biting her on the neck to change her into a vampire.
  • Immune to Bullets: When Billy Cole is shot six times with bullets, he bleeds from his wounds but keeps on coming. He's only stopped when Charley stabs him with a wooden stake.
  • Inertial Impalement: A vampirized Evil Ed (in wolf form) is attacking Peter. A wooden banister railing is broken and Peter grabs a piece of it. When Evil Ed charges, he is impaled on the wooden pole, returns to human form and apparently dies.
  • Invisible Parents: We never see Evil Ed's or Amy's parents.
  • Kiss of the Vampire: Given the vampires here are seductive, the victims enjoy it.
  • Large Ham:
    • Jerry and Peter. The latter was even enforced, as Roddy McDowell described him as a "that of an old ham actor, I mean a dreadful actor," who got Type Cast and rode it to death.
      Peter: BACK, SPAWN OF SATAN!
    • Also Evil Ed "Dinner is in the oven! MMM-MMM!" "Oh, you're so cool, Brewster!"
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The fact that the Show Within a Show's name is also Fright Night leads to this, such as when Jerry announces, "Welcome to Fright Night... for real!"
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: Charley to Peter while they're looking for the coffin in the basement.
  • Loud Gulp: Peter does one after finding out Evil Ed has become a vampire, thanks to Jerry.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: Zig-zagged in the opening scene. Charley pushes Amy to have sex with him, then immediately forgets about her when he starts spying suspicious vampire behavior.
  • Mercy Kill: Peter killing Ed.
  • Mood Whiplash: As a horror-comedy with a love story in-between, touching, scary, and funny moments follow each other frequently.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The vampires' Game Face looks like this. Especially Amy's. This is foreshadowed when we hear Jerry take a bite—just one—from an apple. We don't see his teeth at the time, but when he tosses the apple aside, most of the middle of the apple is gone.
  • Must Be Invited: The protagonist Charley counts on being safe in his home by avoiding this, but his mother invites the vampire neighbor, Jerry, into the house anyway.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Peter's reaction to killing Ed.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Peter (Cushing), Vincent (Price). Given it's a Stage Name, possibly In-Universe as well.
  • Neck Lift: Done by the ancient and powerful vampire antagonist Jerry on anyone who happens to inconvenience him.
    • When Jerry confronts Charley in his room, he lifts him by the neck, pressing him against a wall and then pushing him partially out a window.
    • Jerry lifts a big, black nightclub bouncer into the air by the neck, then throws him along the floor.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: When Charley angrily wants to test Jerry with a crucifix with Peter present, Jerry goes into Oh, Crap! mode for a second, before Peter snatches it away and tells Charley to behave.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The character of Peter even came to be once Tom Holland decided that the solution to his "neighbor is a vampire" idea was having the protagonist going after Vincent Price.
  • No Ontological Inertia: When Jerry is destroyed, Amy returns to normal.
  • No-Sell: The first time Peter confronts Jerry with a cross:
    Peter: (brandishing a crucifix) Back, spawn of Satan!
    Jerry: (laughs uproariously) Oh-ho, really? (grabs the cross, crushes it, and throws it aside) You have to have faith for this to work on me, Mr. Vincent!
  • Offscreen Teleportation: To go along with Jerry's Unflinching Walk. (Sharp ears can hear a subtle "whoosh.")
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Charley realizes that it's almost sunset and that Jerry will soon learn that he knows about him.
    • Peter when he looks in his pocket mirror and sees that Jerry has no reflection.
  • One-Winged Angel: Whenever a vampire turns on its Game Face.
  • Punch Catch: Charley, Amy and the vampire Jerry are at a nightclub, with Jerry trying to seduce Amy. Charley tries to punch Jerry, but Jerry catches his hand.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Vampires in human, wolf, and bat forms.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Jerry believes Amy is the reincarnation of a former lover.
  • The Renfield: Billy Cole, though he seems to be supernatural as well.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Just what, exactly, Billy Cole was is never explained. Word of God confirmed he's an undead corpse that Jerry brought back to life as his slave, which isn't out of the question in terms of old vampire lore.
  • Sad Clown: Ed. It's obvious he's hurt and lonely (and probably carrying a torch for Charley), but buries it in loud chuckles and laughter. Of course, this means he becomes a Monster Clown later.
  • Safety in Muggles: Charley tells Jerry that he can't kill him in front of so many witnesses at the night club, but that doesn't stop Jerry from seducing Amy and beating up the bouncers, causing a stampede.
  • Sequel Hook: "Oh, you're so cool, Brewster!" Though real-life events led to it not being used for the sequel.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Show Within a Show: Peter Vincent hosts a late-night horror show called Fright Night of which Charley is a fan.
  • Skeptic No Longer: Peter did not have faith in God, so when he tried to use a cross against the vampire Jerry, it didn't work. Let's just say that the next time Peter puts a crucifix in Jerry's face, after Peter has killed a vampirized Evil Ed, it turns out very differently for Jerry.
  • Stealth Insult: Jerry's fanboyishness over Peter is a transparent act. Listen to what he says and how he says it; he's sneering at him in front of his back.
  • Stylistic Suck: Peter Vincent's late-night horror program and his movies. In the one seen at the beginning, he holds his stake the wrong way when threatening the female vampire.
  • Super Loser: Evil Ed is even the trope's page image. He tries to be a scary vampire, but this still shows up.
  • Survival Mantra:
    Peter: I am Peter Vincent, the great vampire killer. I am Peter Vincent, the great vampire killer...
  • Take That!: Peter gives one In-Universe to the Slasher Movie genre of the '80s:
    Peter: I have just been fired because nobody wants to see vampire killers anymore, or vampires either. Apparently, all they want to see are demented madmen running around in ski-masks, hacking up young virgins.
  • This Was His True Form: "Evil" Ed after his "death."
  • Tom the Dark Lord: A powerful ancient vampire's name is "Jerry."
  • Took a Level in Badass: Charley, who goes from afraid teen to experienced vampire slayer.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Jerry is often seen munching on apples, particularly after feeding. This trait was invented by Chris Sarandon, who decided that Jerry had some fruit bat tendencies and also ate them to get rid of the taste of blood.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: You see that giant Nightmare Face on the poster up above? That's Amy's main Game Face after she gets turned.
  • Transformation Sequence: Vampire transformations, with all the implied Body Horror.
  • Un-Evil Laugh: Evil Ed. It's still a goofy Annoying Laugh.
  • Undeath Always Ends: If you find a way to kill a ghoul or vampire...
  • Vampire Hunter: Peter was one in the movies. And has to become one for real.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Jerry seduces Amy simply by smiling at her. He also wears stylish clothing for the period and carries himself like a rock star.
  • Vampires Sleep in Coffins: The vampire Jerry Dandrige sleeps in a coffin during the day.
  • Vampire Dance: The vampire Jerry manages to hypnotize and make off with Amy while dancing with her at a nightclub, despite her being able to see that Jerry has no reflection.
  • Villainous BSoD: When Charley successfully uses a crucifix against Jerry. Unfortunately, Billy Cole takes matters into his own hands.
  • Weakened by the Light: When Charley and Peter confront the vampire Jerry in the cellar where his coffin is located, they destroy him by ripping the coverings off the windows and allowing the sunlight inside.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Peter, but he gets better.
  • Who You Gonna Call?: The local Horror Host who was a Vampire Hunter in the movies!
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Charley is terrible at acting rational. Even if he was talking about something completely normal, people probably wouldn't believe him.

The 1989 sequel contains the following tropes:

  • Affably Evil:
    • Regine, like her brother.
    • Richie. After being vampirized, he explains to Charley that, yes, Regine is still mad at him because of Jerry's death (understatement of the year, since Regine's plan is to turn Charley to torture him for eternity), but then Richie adds that he will help to make Regine change her mind and comforts Charley about his situation and his future. He is killed a little later while he is bringing some food and beverage to Charley.
  • Big Bad: Regine Dandrige, brother of Jerry in the first film.
  • Call-Back: When Peter tries wielding his crucifix against her, Regine tells him "You need to have faith."
  • Demon Head: What Regine's Game Face looks like.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Regine and Alex fight.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Regine loved her brother.
  • Game Face: Regine's looks like a Demon Head.
  • It's Personal: Regine wants to avenge her brother.
  • Graceful Loser: Louie makes a compliment about the precise shot in his heart before dying (even if no one can hear him).
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: Belle and Bocworth's deaths.
  • Heroic Willpower: Charley shows when he's tempted to bite Alex and thus complete his transformation into a vampire, but resists and kills Bocworth instead.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Belle is burnt to ash when wrapped in vestments and Richie is melted by holy water.
  • Horror Host: Peter Vincent is still employed as one. To his chagrin, Regine tries to take his job.
  • Hypnotize the Princess: Genre-inverted with Regine and Charley.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Inverted when Alex stabs a vampirized Dr. Harrison with an improvised stake without killing him, he kindly explains her mistake, suggesting that it was caused by her lack of experience, and then he offers to give the final push to the stake by himself. :And he really does.
  • This Was His True Form: Werewolf Louie.

Alternative Title(s): Fright Night Part 2

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