“Fright Night - For Real”
Tom Holland’s directorial debut comes to UK Blu-ray for the first time as Eureka releases a dual format standard edition along with a limited edition steelbook that's coming out a couple of months earlier.
No one will believe teenaged Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) when he becomes convinced his new next door neighbour Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon) is a vampire. With Jerry setting his sights on Charley’s girlfriend Amy (Amanda Bearse) and wise to the fact that Charley has rumbled him, the only person Charley can turn to for help is former horror movie star turned horror TV host Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall). Will they be able to defeat Jerry and save Amanda?
Continuing the ‘modern American vampire movie’ movement kicked off in the 1970s by Bob Kelljan’s COUNT YORGA films and William Crain’s BLACULA, FRIGHT NIGHT veers between horror and humour with the mix not always working quite as well as perhaps it could. It’s best when it’s being a good old-fashioned scary film. There are some great shots in here and at times horror aficionados may be pleasurably reminded of the best TV movies of Dan Curtis. At its worst it’s pretty much every scene Stephen Geoffreys is in. The equivalent of the kind of 1930s comic relief ‘performers' like Charlie Ruggles used to provide, while everyone else is playing along with the horror, only Geoffreys behaves as if he’s in a bad Marx Brothers movie.
The rest of the cast are just fine, however, and whenever Sarandon or McDowall are on screen it’s pure fun horror movie gold. The special effects are state of the art for the period, but it’s interesting to see now just how the story has to be slowed down towards the end to shoehorn them in.
It’s in the extras that Eureka’s disc is going to be a must buy for anyone who has even a passing fondness for this one. ‘You’re So Cool Brewster’ is an exhaustive making of that’s hosted, in a very nice touch, by Simon Bamford playing ‘Peter Vincent’. It lasts nearly two and half hours (!) and covers every aspect of the production.
Exclusive to the Blu-ray are: a Fear Fest reunion panel video from 2008 that lasts nearly an hour with cast and crew and Julie Carmen and Tommy Lee Wallace from FRIGHT NIGHT 2 as well. There are also a number of featurettes including Tom Holland on writing horror, Roddy McDowall from Apes to Bats, a series of Choice Cuts from Shock Till You Drop featuring Tom Holland, the electronic press kit with on-set interviews and behind the scenes stuff, stills and trailers. Exclusive to the steelbook is a 24 page booklet featuring new writing on the film by Craig Ian Mann. Highly recommended.
Tom Holland's FRIGHT NIGHT is getting a dual format DVD & Blu-ray release from Eureka. The steelbook is out on Monday 26th December 2016 (although only from Zavvi & it seems to be "sold out" at the moment). The standard edition is out on Monday 10th April 2017.