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September 17, 2012

The Mike's Top 50 Horror Movies Countdown: #14 - Fright Night

Previously on the Countdown: Number 50 - Happy Birthday to Me  Number 49 - Prince of Darkness  Number 48 - House on Haunted Hill  Number 47 - The Monster Squad  Number 46 - Hellraiser  Number 45 - The Fog  Number 44 - Creature From the Black Lagoon  Number 43 - Zombie  Number 42 - Tales from the Crypt  Number 41 - Bubba Ho-Tep  Number 40 - Phantom of the Paradise  Number 39 - Dog Soldiers Number 38 - Pontypool  Number 37 - Dark Water  Number 36 - Army of Darkness Number 35 - The Legend of Hell House  Number 34 - Poltergeist  Number 33 - The Abominable Dr. Phibes  Number 32 - The Phantom of the Opera  Number 31 - The House of the Devil   Number 30 - Evil Dead II  Number 29 - Dead of Night  Number 28 - Carnival of Souls  Number 27 - Nosferatu  Number 26 - Candyman  Number 25 - The Texas Chain Saw Massacre  Number 24 - Horror of Dracula  Number 23 - The Wicker Man  Number 22 - Suspiria  Number 21 - The Omen  Number 20 - Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told  Number 19 - Rosemary's Baby  Number 18 - The Devil Rides Out  Number 17 - The Blob  Number 16 - Gremlins  Number 15 - Targets
Fright Night
(1985, Dir. by Tom Holland.)
 Why It's Here:
Tom Holland is one of the unsung heroes in horror history.  The man who wrote the shockingly entertaining Psycho II and later helmed the original Child's Play gave us a truly fantastic piece of horror in 1985, with the release of the self-aware vampire tale Fright Night.  A film that seems like it would be at home in the modern culture of horror comedies (which makes it hard to believe that a recent remake arrived with no charm and no thrills), Fright Night plays off of vampire mythology while openly spoofing horror film cliches and providing heavy doses of comedy, romance, and action.  

The Moment That Changes Everything:
Alfred Hitchcock is my boy, and Rear Window is precisely my favorite movie ever.  And I kind of love everything Rear Window-y.  So when Charlie Brewster starts to look out his window and sees his new neighbor sporting fangs with a lady of the night, I start to lose my stuff.  As a crazy-minded child I always wanted to stumble upon something out of a horror movie - I didn't quite understand how that could end BADLY - and seeing this kid stumble into a vampire saga makes me smile.

It Makes a Great Double Feature With:
This is a bit of a lay up, but it only makes sense to combine Fright Night with the other well known film about teenagers and vampires from the 1980s, The Lost Boys. I'm of the mindset that that film isn't as great as it could be because it's not Fright Night, but many others are of the mindset that Fright Night would be better if it were The Lost Boys. Who's right? Who's wrong? You decide.

What It Means to Me:
Fright Night and I go way back, as I was no more than 10 or 11 the first time I saw parts of it on HBO. It was like watching one of those comedies from the '80s that my parents had shown me...but there was also that part where Evil Ed turned into that thing and then that wicked cool scene with him and Roddy McDowell's Peter Vincent battling in the final act. I've never forgotten the first time I saw that, and I've had an extreme soft spot for the film ever since. I'm grateful that it holds up on repeat viewings, and I've grown more certain that it is one of the best films the horror genre has to offer as time goes by.


Hey! Look Behind You! said...

I too discovered Fright Night in youth via HBO along with a lot of horror movies. Good times!

The Mike said...

Yup, they played the crud out of this thing! Not sure I saw the full movie in one sitting til I was in high school, but I knew it by heart.