Title: Fright Night
Director: Tom Holland
Released: August 2, 1985
Description: Meet Jerry Dandrige. He’s sweet, sexy, and he likes to sleep in late. You might think he’s the perfect neighbor. But before inviting Jerry in for a nightcap, there’s just one thing you should know. Jerry prefers his drinks warm, red – and straight from the jugular! It’s FRIGHT NIGHT, a horrific howl starring Chris Sarandon as the seductive vampire and William Ragsdale as the frantic teenager struggling to keep Jerry’s deadly fangs out of his neck. Only 17-year-old Charley Brewster knows Jerry’s bloodcurdling secret. When Charley can’t get anybody to believe him, he turns to TV horror host Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall), who used to be the “Great Vampire Killer” of the movies. Can these mortals save Charley and his sweetheart Amy (Amanda Bearse) from the wrathful bloodsucker’s toothy embrace? If you love being scared, FRIGHT NIGHT will give you the nightmare of your life!
So, we’re back around to August, which means it’s time for my birthday again, which also happens to coincide with my 50th recap. This year, I decided to do something I’ve never done before, which is to recap a movie and its remake back-to-back. Hence why this is labeled Recap #50a instead of just 50. The 2011 version of Fright Night will of course be Recap #50b.
This movie was released eleven days before my fourth birthday. I can’t for the life of me remember when I saw it for the first time. I was super obsessed with vampires between the ages of about 16-19, so it was probably sometime in there. This movie is 80s as fuck. The effects are cheesy as hell. But it’s a vampire classic, and deservedly so. I’ve seen it an obscene number of times at this point, and I still love its cheesy, goofy ass.
I also love these back-of-box descriptions that are basically acting as hype man for the movie. Eighties. As. Fuck. (Except the box description for the 2011 version also kind of does this, so I guess I can’t completely blame the 80s. *shrug*)
We open at night, on a slow pan past a house with a For Sale sign in the yard to the house next door, while the audio from an extremely cheesy horror movie plays. A man is telling a woman that he’s never seen her look so beautiful; so pale; so luminescent. I’m pretty sure “luminescent” isn’t normally a skin goal unless you’re a jellyfish.
The camera keeps pushing in until we see the TV through the window. The window is of course wide open with no screen on it. Do you want a house full of mosquitoes? Because that’s how you get a house full of mosquitoes. We focus on the TV, and on it the man is about to get his neck sucked by the luminescent lady, who it’s now revealed is a vampire, but fortunately another man runs into the room, announces himself as Peter Vincent, Vampire Killer, and advances on the woman with a hammer and a stake. Except he’s got the stake backwards so the pointy end is going to be hit with the hammer and the blunt end will be driven into the vampire. Cool, let me know how that works out for ya.
The camera pulls away from the TV and gives us a pan around a very typical 80s teenage boy room (car posters, a neon-lit Coors sign, skis in the corner, ski posters, a steering wheel on the wall, a pair of shoes hung over the headboard, a sign that says Girls Locker Room . . . okay, maybe this isn’t so typical after all), all while we hear screams from the TV and kissing/slurping sounds from . . . somewhere. Then we see a teenage boy and girl making out on a pile of pillows and blankets on the floor. Even though there’s a perfectly good bed right there. You are literally on the floor next to the bed. What the hell.
On the TV, the movie fades into an introduction from Peter Vincent, the host of Fright Night Theater. Think Joe Bob Briggs without the redneck, or Elvira without the cleavage. So, his character in the movie was named Peter Vincent, but his actual name is also Peter Vincent? That’s weird.
The girl half of the couple, Amy, sits up and tells the boy, Charley, that hey look, it’s Peter Vincent! Is she actively trying to kill his boner, or does she think every teen boy wants to look at Roddy McDowall while they’re getting it on with their girlfriend? Anyway, Charley keeps making out with her, trying to slide his hand up her shirt despite her pushing his hand away multiple times. When she finally shoves him off and tells him to stop it, he jumps up and yells at her, saying that they’ve been together almost a year and all he ever hears is no. Wow. Not cool, Charley, wtf.
He immediately apologizes, and so does she, saying she’s just scared. Then she kisses him and suggests they get into bed. Because yes, let’s reward bad behavior. At least she finally realized there’s a comfortable bed right there and didn’t suggest trying to do it in, like, the bathtub or something.
Amy gets on the bed and takes her shirt off, but Charley looks out the window and sees a couple guys moving what looks very much like a coffin into the house next door. He grabs a pair of binoculars to get a better look, and tells Amy she’s not going to believe this. So, he’d rather watch guys move furniture than pay attention to his topless girlfriend. Awesome. Also, he’s right in front of the open window, and these guys are right next door. They can probably hear every word he’s saying.
Amy puts her shirt back on and leaves, with Charley chasing her downstairs. She yells about how first he wants to make love (nope, I still hate that phrase, especially coming from teen characters), then he doesn’t, and then Charley’s mom calls them into the living room. She obviously heard what Amy said, but doesn’t actually address it directly. She just asks if they’re having a lover’s spat, then announces that the divorce rate is 76% higher in couples who don’t argue before marriage. Okay, cool, thanks Mom.
Charley is still obsessed with spying on the neighbors, and barely notices Amy leave. He tells Mom that someone moved in next door, and Mom says she heard the place got sold finally and the new owner is supposed to be very attractive. Then the news reporter on the TV announces that a man was murdered behind the railroad yards, details pending. I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about.
Cut to the end of school the next day (?), and Charley walking out of class cursing the teacher because he didn’t warn them he was going to give them a pop quiz. Charley’s friend Ed (“Evil” Ed, although he hates the nickname) points out that that’s the whole point of a pop quiz. I mean, yeah. I’ll probably say it several times throughout this recap, but Charley is a fucking idiot. Then Amy shoulders her way through, body-checking Charley, and Ed wants to know what her problem is; did she finally find out what Charley’s really like? Look, I have complicated feelings about Ed. On the one hand, he’s annoying as fuck. On the other, I feel weirdly protective toward him. But I also want to carry around a spray bottle and spray him with water every time he does something inappropriate. (Our dogs have come to respect and fear the spray bottle. The cat could not give less of a shit.)
Charley pulls up to his house in a sweet 60’s Mustang with a criminal paint job (it’s mostly red, but there’s some white in there, too, like someone put primer on, started to paint, then got distracted by something shiny) just in time to see a girl we’re meant to believe is a sex worker get out of a taxi in front of his house. She asks if this is 99 Oak Street, and Charley tells her that’s next door. Even though the addresses are very obvious. At least on Charley’s house, I don’t know about the house next door. Also, there appears to be either a church or a school on the other side of Charley’s house. Is it weird that a vampire would choose to live two doors down from a church?
Charley asks Mom (whose name is Judy, but we’re only told that in the credits) if she’s seen the new neighbor yet, and she says no, but she heard he has a live-in carpenter. Is it Jesus? I bet it’s Jesus. She says that with her luck, he’s probably gay. Okay, Mom, thirsty much? Like, you haven’t even seen the dude yet; you have no idea if you’re attracted to him or not. Anyway, Charley says he’s definitely not gay, but doesn’t tell Mom about the sex worker that led him to that conclusion. Then Mom expresses disbelief when he says he’s going to go do his homework. Wow. I mean, I know I’m being a dick to Charley, but you’re his mom.
While Charley’s doing homework, he hears a scream from next door, then sees the light in the window across from his go out. Okay, but it’s night time now. When did the girl first get to the house? It had to have been hours ago, right? Did she sit around for hours before the vampire crawled out of his coffin to eat her? (Look, I know I’m getting the cart in front of the horse here, but we all know the neighbor is a vampire, right?)
The next day Amy comes up to Charley while he’s sitting at a booth in what’s probably meant to be a diner in the mall or something (we don’t get an exterior shot), and he apologizes to her about the other night. She says no, it was her fault. I mean, not really, but whatever. Then Charley is distracted by
a shiny object another TV news report about the second dead body in two days being found out by the old mill. It’s the girl we saw going into the neighbor house. Evil Ed comes up and says he heard on the police scanner (of course this kid has a fucking police scanner) that both bodies had their heads chopped off, then laughs completely inappropriately. That’s the spray bottle for you, Ed.
Pissed about being ignored yet again, Amy grabs some kid’s hamburger and smashes it in Charley’s face. It must have been a chili burger or a sloppy joe, because there is definitely goopy meat all over his face. Ed laughs like a hyena and gives us the line that would later be the title of the documentary about this movie, “Oh, you’re so cool, Brewster!”
At home, Charley stares moodily at the house next door, and we’re shown a man (not Chris Sarandon) inside, painting the basement windows black. I feel someone has fundamentally misunderstood the Rolling Stones song. Charley goes over to the outside cellar doors (you know, big doors set into the ground against the house) and starts to lift one up. I’m amazed they’re not locked. What the fuck kind of half-assed vampiring is going on in this house? Then the painting guy (his name is Billy Cole, but it’s going to be a while before we officially find that out) pops around the porch and scares Charley. I’d think it would have made more sense for him to come out the cellar doors rather than go all the way through the house and around the front, but . . . okay. Maybe he wanted to get his steps in. Anyway, he asks what Charley’s doing, and he responds “nothing.” Great, Charley. Real quick on your feet there, aren’t you? Billy tells him to keep it that way, and sort of creepy-grins at him. Billy might actually be creepier than the vampire.
Later that night, Charley is sitting by his window with a pair of binoculars, with a porn magazine and a bunch of candy wrappers and crumpled soda cans on the floor around him. Charley is a slob. Do you want ants? Because that’s how you get ants. Also, your window is only like twenty feet away from the neighbor’s window; you don’t need the fucking binoculars, you tool.
He falls asleep but wakes up in time to see a shirtless Chris Sarandon standing in full frame in his window, undressing a girl. The girl’s breasts are exposed for the viewer’s pleasure, and Charley pervs out, grabbing the binoculars in a boner frenzy. The girl is looking right at him, mind you. Definite eye contact. Then Charley sees vampire fangs in Chris Sarandon’s mouth, and before he can bite the girl, he spots Charley in all his voyeur glory. Again, full eye contact. Because you’re literally right fucking there, you dumbass. He can definitely see you. Sarandon reaches up and slowly draws the window shade down, giving Charley a good long look at his hand, which has suddenly grown an extra knuckle or two on all the fingers. Ergh, I don’t know what it is, but extra-elongated fingers just squick me the fuck out. Go away, Slenderman.
Charley runs into Mom’s room and wakes her up to tell her the new guy has fangs. No mention of the creepy-ass fingers, though. He looks out the window and sees Billy opening the back of a Jeep, so he runs outside and hides in the bushes to see Billy carry a body-shaped bundle wrapped in trash bags out and throw it in the back of the Jeep. Damn, that was fast.
We get POV shot from up on the roof, then swooping down to the ground, and suddenly Chris Sarandon is standing by the Jeep. He tosses a gold clutch purse to Billy, then takes a giant bite out of an apple. Charley’s mom chooses that moment to pop out the front door screeching for him, and Sarandon definitely spots him in the bushes. He tosses the apple on the ground in front of the bush, and Charley freaks out and jumps up and runs into his house. Now, be spooked by the whole vampire thing or whatever; I’m more disturbed by the fact that he appears to have eaten the apple core. Also, it was apparently Chris Sarandon’s idea to be eating fruit throughout the movie, because he did some research and came to the conclusion that “Jerry had a lot of fruit bat in his DNA.” I don’t know why that cracks me up as much as it does, but it does.
Inside the Brewster house, Mom has made Charley some hot cocoa while he rants about the neighbors killing a girl; tells Mom the guy really did have fangs; then says that a bat really did fly over his head and a minute later the guy was standing there. Mom has no idea what any of this means, and Charley shouts at her that it’s a vampire! So, 17 minutes in and we’ve finally said the V-word.
Mom yells, “A what?” and then we jump scenes to the next day and Amy also yelling “A what?” Charley again shouts at Amy that the neighbor is a vampire; hasn’t she been listening to a word he’s said? Like she’s the unreasonable one or something. He tells her to forget it; he’s going to the cops, and Amy rightly points out that he can’t go to the cops with a story like that. Have I mentioned that Charley is a fucking dumbass? Anyway, he agrees that he won’t mention the vampire bit, but he’s definitely telling the cops about the two women.
The next thing we see is Charley and a cop pulling up across the street from the house. Why Charley is parking across the street instead of in his own driveway is anyone’s guess. The cop, Detective Lennox, knocks; Billy answers, and we finally find out the homeowner’s name is Jerry Dandrige. Or we could just read the back-of-box description again. You know, either or. Also, “Jerry” is a terrible vampire name. It’s not menacing at all. Vampire Jerry. Imagine Jerry Seinfeld as a vampire. What’s the deal with vampires?
Billy tells Lennox that Jerry is away on business, but they were both there last night, and they definitely didn’t kill a girl. Charley calls bullshit, claiming he saw him carrying her body out in a plastic bag, and Billy claims it was trash. Yeah, I always duct tape my trash up in body-shaped parcels, too, my dude. It has caused all sorts of comedic misunderstandings with the neighbors, let me tell you what! (Or I imagine it would, if my neighbors weren’t the type to mind their own damn business.)
Charley is snooping around a bunch of stuff in crates, and happens upon a painting of a girl who looks like Amy. Oh, we’re not commenting on that right now? Okay. Billy tells Lennox he’ll show him the bags of trash out back, but Charley tells him to look in the basement instead. And then, because Charley has less than no chill, he announces that they’ll find a coffin there, and Jerry Dandrige inside, sleeping the sleep of the undead!
Goddammit, Charley. Do you actually expect people to take you seriously when you keep screaming about vampires? Make up a damn cover story, for fuck sake!
So, Billy mocks him, Lennox laughs at him and then drags him out of the house, telling him that if he ever catches him down at the station again, he’ll throw his ass in jail forever. After he takes off, Charley looks around in panic while Billy watches him from the balcony. Charley checks his watch and sees that it’s 4:23 PM, which sends him running off in a tizzy. I guess it’s winter time and getting close to sunset?
He drives to Evil Ed’s house and runs in the front door without knocking, like a damn heathen. He tells Ed that the vampire knows he knows about him, or at least he will when he wakes up, and Ed’s like wtf are you talking about? I’d also like to smack Charley and point out that the vampire probably figured out you knew about him from the second he was dumb enough to vamp out in front of a wide fucking open window for the whole damn neighborhood to see. I don’t think Jerry is vampiring very intelligently.
Charley gives Ed a very abbreviated version of what’s going on, and Ed is still laughing and asking “what?!“. Then Charley offers him eight dollars to help him. Wow. Eight whole dollars?! I can finally retire, guys. Ed goes on to tell him a bunch of horror movie cliches that Charley really ought to know already, given what a Peter Vincent/horror movie fan he is: crosses, garlic, holy water, don’t invite the fucker into your home.
Then Charley goes home and proceeds to nail his window shut, as if vampires aren’t known for their super-strength or anything.
While he’s doing that, Mom calls him downstairs to meet the new neighbor, Jerry Dandrige! Dun-dun-DUN!
Oh my god, they’re drinking Bloody Marys. How on-the-nose can we get? Charley gawps at Jerry, who is all smarmy smugness as he asks Charley what’s wrong; was he afraid Jerry would never come over without being invited first? I mean, that’s an incredibly unnatural way to phrase that, but okay. Also, I swear the jacket and scarf Sarandon is wearing followed him over to the Child’s Play set three years after this. They’re nearly identical. Either he or Tom Holland (who also directed Child’s Play) must have swiped them from this set. Or . . . Sarandon just wears his own clothes in every movie? If this is the case, I have serious questions about The Princess Bride.
Jerry stares Charley down, telling him that now that he’s been invited, he’ll probably stop by a lot – whenever he feels like it, in fact. Then he seems to remember that Mom is standing right beside him, and adds that that’s with her kind permission, of course. But Mom is super thirsty and just like, oh yeah, whenever you want, it’s so great that someone interesting finally moved into the neighborhood! Thanks for that giant “fuck you” to all the other neighbors, I guess.
Charley backs out of the room, making excuses about homework, and backs into the coat rack before practically climbing up the stairs on all fours out of fear. Wow. My hero.
Later that night, we see Mom asleep in her room wearing an eye mask, and I know we’re supposed to be worried about the vampire who now has carte blanche to enter the house, but there’s a giant Raggedy Ann doll on Mom’s dresser, and now I’m worrying about that fucking thing coming to life. I know, I know, this isn’t Holland’s killer doll movie, but still . . . did you know the real life doll from Annabelle was actually a Raggedy Ann? Look it up sometime; it’s creepy as hell. But I digress.
Charley has fallen asleep in his chair, clutching the cross Ed gave him. Seriously. Don’t you live right next door to a church? You can’t skip on over there and dip a flask in the holy water? A noise wakes him up, and he creeps downstairs clutching that cross, even though the noise was clearly a vampire stomping around on the roof. That’s a very distinctive noise, you know. He sees/hears branches scratching on the window and somehow thinks that was the noise he heard, despite the noise he heard sounding nothing like that. He relaxes because he’s an idiot.
Meanwhile, upstairs, Mom is still asleep, but Jerry is now in her room and the score gets very dramatic. I know we’re supposed to identify the vampire as the immediate threat, but I can’t help noticing that THE FUCKING RAGGEDY ANN DOLL HAS CHANGED POSITION ON THE DRESSER! RED ALERT, THIS IS NOT A DRILL! WE HAVE A POSSESSED DOLL!
. . . . What’s that? This still isn’t a killer doll movie? That was probably just a continuity error? . . . oh. Carry on.
Jerry’s not interested in Mom, though, and walks through her room and out into the hall, pulling the door shut hard enough to break the frame and stick the door shut. And in case we thought Charley was imagining the vampire thing, there’s a mirror in Mom’s room that Jerry doesn’t cast a reflection in. That can’t be right; Jerry’s eyebrows are way too poppin’ for him not to be able to see them! (I can’t wait til I get to the Colin Farrell version of this movie so I can debate who has the better eyebrows.)
Jerry goes into Charley’s room to wait for him, whistling “Strangers in the Night,” because I’m sure no one is going to hear you whistling, you fucking dope. (Apparently Sarandon wanted to be whistling “Whistle While You Work,” but Disney said fuck you. I think they made the right call.) Charley comes back into his room to gaze speculatively across the way at Jerry’s house, and Jerry slowly emerges from the closet behind him. Considering the obvious homoeroticism between Jerry and Billy, I wonder if this particular coming out of the closet is intentional subtext. I am absolutely here for bisexual vampires.
Somehow Charley doesn’t notice Jerry until he’s literally breathing down his neck, because Charley has zero situational awareness. Jerry grabs him by the throat, tells him to be quiet because they don’t want to wake Mom, then proceeds to make as much noise as humanly (vampirely?) possible by throwing Charley through the closet doors, then grabbing him by the throat again and pinning him up against the opposite wall, where Charley drums his feet like he’s going out for marching band. Look, I’m not into choking, but this is kind of turning me on, so maybe I’m into choking after all? Well, fuck. Let’s not examine that too closely.
Jerry elucidates on what a pain in the ass Charley has been, says he ought to kill him, but he’s going to give him something he never had – a choice. Does . . . does that mean Jerry doesn’t like being a vampire? If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a mopey vampire. He tells Charley to forget about him, and he’ll forget about Charley. Rather than just shrugging and saying okay, like I suspect I would (I might be slightly morally bankrupt, guys), Charley manages to wrestle Ed’s cross out of his pocket. Unfortunately, Jerry only sneers at it, opens Charley’s nailed-shut window with one finger (told ya so), and leans Charley out the window. Just when it’s looking like curtains (ha!) for our fearless young hero, he grabs a pencil from the desk and stabs it into the hand Jerry has around his throat. Seems like you’d be in danger of stabbing yourself through the neck as well, but okay.
Maybe it’s because of the wood thing (I mean, there’s a reason stakes are made of wood, right?), Jerry immediate freaks the fuck out about the pencil through his hand, with elongated fingers and vampire face. And just when I was starting to think he was hot.
Across the hall, Mom starts yelling for Charley and banging on her door. I guess she woke up because y’all were making roughly the same amount of noise as an airhorn fucking a jackhammer. Rather than killing them both and just having done with it, Jerry goes out the window in the hall. As you do. Mom finally gets her door open and Charley plays everything off by saying he was having a bad dream. This prompts Mom to tell him that she had a bad dream the other night, too. Hers was about going to a white sale and then realizing she was stark naked. Man, there’s nothing worse than listening to someone talk about their dreams. Then she asks if Charley wants a Valium, which . . . actually explains a lot about Mom. She mentions she’s starting the night shift tomorrow night, therefore explaining her absence from the rest of the movie. She says something about three in the morning and it being so bad for her complexion, and I’m wondering what kind of night shift this is. When I worked third shift, three AM was lunchtime, not starting (or quitting) time.
Charley goes back to his room and turns on the TV, which is conveniently tuned to a vampire movie (complete with fake rubber bat-on-a-string) showing on Peter Vincent’s Fright Night show. The phone rings, and it’s Jerry, who tells a silent Charley that he knows he’s there – he can see him. Well of course you fucking can; nobody in this movie has ever heard of closing a goddamn
door curtain! Jerry announces that he just destroyed Charley’s car, but it’s nothing compared to what he’s going to do to Charley tomorrow night. Can’t tell if threatening murder or sexy times.
Charley hangs up, sweating buckets, and looks at the TV, where Peter Vincent has interrupted the movie to talk about how he believes in vampires because he’s killed them, and that’s why they call him the Great Vampire Killer. Who, Peter? Who calls you that? Then he cuts back to the movie, where he stakes a vampire in its coffin. At least the stake is pointing the right way this time. Charley is huffing and puffing, and practically growls “Goooooo, Peter,” and I’m pretty sure Charley is about to turn into a serial killer. Actually, I’m pretty sure we’re witnessing the birth of a terrible idea from someone who can’t tell movies from reality and thinks this actor is an actual vampire slayer. You say tomato, I say oh shit we’re all gonna die.
Sure enough, the next day Charley is waiting for Peter Vincent outside the KBHX television studios. Ah, so Fright Night Theater is a local access TV show. Got it. He chases Peter to his car, and Peter of course assumes Charley is an autograph-seeker. Charley instead asks if Peter really believes all that stuff he said on TV about vampires being real, and Peter somehow doesn’t cotton on to what Charley is really asking, and goes on a rant about how Charley’s generation doesn’t want to see vampires or vampire killers any more; all they’re interested in are “demented madmen in ski masks running around hacking up young virgins.” Note to self: do not bring Friday the 13th to Peter Vincent’s movie night.
Charley says he believes in vampires, and Peter is all gentlemanly condescension at first, telling Charley that’s nice, and it’s too bad more people didn’t feel that way – his ratings might have been higher. Then Charley ruins it all by saying that in fact, his neighbor is a vampire, and Peter has to help him kill him! Peter reacts about how any reasonable person would, and Charley runs alongside his car, screaming and begging until Peter’s out of the parking lot.
Charley. Has. No. Chill.
Amy and Evil Ed show up at Charley’s place and walk in like they own the place. Does nobody knock in this movie? Honestly, Jerry might be the only one with any manners when it comes to home entry. They find Charley in his bedroom, with about a million lit candles, statues of various saints (did he steal them from the church next door?), crosses, and a pile of 2x4s he’s whittling into stakes. He tells his friends that it’s for protection, but he plans on waiting for Billy to leave, then he’s going over to the house, finding Jerry’s coffin, and pounding a stake through his heart.
Amy and Ed try to humor Charley by telling him that he needs someone with him; someone like Peter Vincent! Okay, do none of these kids know the difference between reality and actors playing pretend for money? Just . . . why is that your go-to?
Anyway, Charley informs them that he tried Peter already, but they insist that he let them try again. He protests that there’s not enough time, and Amy asks him what will happen if he goes in there alone and Jerry gets him; then who will stop him? Ed pipes up that yeah, then Jerry will be free to suck his way through the entire town. I mean, let’s not slut-shame, okay Ed?
Amy convinces Charley not to do anything until he hears from them, and she and Ed set off for Peter’s place. On the way out, Charley says that she doesn’t believe him; she counters by saying she loves him. Which is nice and all, but not really an answer.
Peter Vincent is reading an eviction notice when Amy and Ed show up. He tries to shut the door on them until Amy insists it’s really important. He lets them in and asks what he can do for them; an autograph, an interview for their school newspaper? No, Amy tells him it’s much more important than that, and Peter is perplexed. What could be more important than his autograph? Holy shit, did JK Rowling model Professor Lockhart after this guy?
The kids explain that their friend is the fruitcake who came to see Peter earlier and believes his next-door neighbor is a vampire. Peter immediately says Charley is insane and needs a psychiatrist, not a vampire killer. Amy insists he has to help them; he declines, claiming that Hollywood beckons, he’s just been given the starring role in a motion picture and in fact had to quit his job hosting Fright Night. Really, Peter? That’s really the story we’re going with?
Then Amy says she’ll pay him, and he immediately asks how much. Way to stick to your guns, there, Peter. Amy says she has a five hundred dollar savings bond, and Peter jumps at the chance to take it from this kid. I don’t think heroes exist in this movie. He asks how they plan on curing Charley of his delusion, and Ed has it all worked out – they’ll all go over to Jerry’s and Peter can perform some sort of “vampire test” on him like he did in his movie Orgy of the Damned. Peter goes all misty for a second, saying that was one of his favorite roles, and he still has the mirror prop, which he pulls out of a pocket. It’s about the size of a cigarette case, but with a mirror inside instead of cancer. [Note from very far in the future: It actually is a cigarette case. It just also has a mirror in it. I failed at paying attention when I did this recap. Oops.]
Then we’re shown a wall of clocks in Jerry’s house, all of them chiming out the six o’clock hour. That shit would drive me bonkers, but I guess it’s just letting him know it’s sunset and safe to climb out of the coffin. Why he couldn’t just have a clock radio sitting next to the coffin, I’ll never know. Somehow Billy hears the phone ringing over this unholy cacophony, and passes it off to Jerry, who listens for a minute and says sure, he’s all about helping young people. Then he says crosses won’t do, as he’s been reborn recently, and we swap perspectives over to Peter’s apartment and Ed on the phone, informing the others that Jerry just said he’s a reborn Christian (I grew up in that community and never heard it referred to as anything other than “born again,” but okay) and using crosses this way would be sacrilegious. They ask about holy water, and Jerry vetoes that as well, leading to Peter exploding that it’ll just be regular tap water and all he has to do is sip it!
Is that how it works? I’ve always seen people just flick it at vampires/demons/whatever.
Jerry agrees to tap water, and requests that they not bring Charley by until six o’clock tomorrow night, as he’ll be out tonight. Then he hangs up and gloats to Billy that Charley’s friends are bringing him over to prove he’s not a vampire. Then he eats another piece of fruit, because you know, his mom fucked a fruit bat or whatever.
Cut to the next night, and Charley, Amy, and Ed standing across the street to wait for Peter Vincent to show up and get the party started. Why are they across the street when Charley lives right next door, you ask? Fuck you for asking questions, the movie answers. Peter shows up late, decked out in his Vampire Killer outfit, and introduces himself properly to Charley. Then he heads up to Jerry’s porch with Charley screeching that he needs his stakes and hammer. Peter points out that he has to prove Jerry is a vampire before he can kill him, and shows him the vial of holy water that Jerry readily agreed to drink.
Billy lets them into the house so that Jerry can make a dramatic entrance down the front steps, eating yet another fruit of some sort. I seriously just can’t stop noticing this shit now. He shakes hands with Peter, telling him he enjoyed his movies – he found them very amusing. Peter doesn’t seem to know whether to be flattered or insulted. Oh, well. Five hundred bucks is five hundred bucks, right?
Jerry is introduced to Ed and Amy, and he freezes for a second when he sees Amy, then kisses her hand and tells her he’s charmed. Then he comes out of whatever almost-trance he was in and tells Charley that’s what vampires are supposed to do, right? And they all laughed. Except Charley, who looks like he’d like to beat Jerry to death with one of the bananas he’s got lying around the place. Then Amy whispers to Ed that Jerry is “neat.” Really? Man, this is the eighties, but I haven’t heard a single “rad” in here anywhere! Boo!
Peter passes the vial of “holy water” off to Jerry, who now seems a bit nervous that it might be a double-cross and is in fact not tap water. He asks if it’s real, and Peter wink wink nudge nudges at him while suddenly channeling his inner leprechaun to tell everyone he “saw Father Scanlon bless it down at the church meself.” Whatever percentage of Irish I am is very offended at this accent. Whatever percentage of not-Irish I am wishes I could do this accent.
Jerry holds the vial up to the fire in the fireplace, as if there’s some sort of tell-tale holy signature floating around in the water, then chugs that bitch. Nothing happens. Charley insists that the water wasn’t blessed then, and pulls out a cross, telling them to make Jerry touch it. Jerry backs up not-at-all suspiciously while Billy starts to advance on Charley, but Peter grabs the cross away, fed up with Charley’s bullshit. Jerry points out that Charley has caused his friends enough pain; he wouldn’t want to cause them any more, would he? Hey, guys, that was an obvious threat, right? I mean, even though we know Jerry is a vampire, the way Charley is going about this makes me want to doubt him, but, like, that was very obviously a threat. Maybe pay attention to that, if nothing else.
Charley backs down, and Jerry basically forces him to say he doesn’t believe he’s a vampire. Everyone walks toward the door except for Billy, who blocks Charley’s passage in order to smile friendly-creepily at him some more. Jerry acts very accommodating toward Amy, and Peter for some reason takes out his compact mirror and looks into it. Jerry and the kids are standing behind him, but when he looks in the mirror, Jerry isn’t casting a reflection. Peter gasps and drops the mirror, breaking it and leaving a shard on the floor. Well, there’s seven years bad luck for ya.
Suddenly realizing that not only do vampires exist, but he’s in one’s house, Peter loses whatever chill he may have once had and begins stuttering and trying to usher the kids out of the house as quickly as possible. Good thing Jerry doesn’t appear to have any telepathic abilities, because I’m pretty sure all he’d be hearing is “oh shit oh fuck oh shit oh fuck he’s a vampire oh shit oh fuck.”
Outside as Peter gets into his car, Charley keeps harping on him about why he’s acting so weird, until Peter finally tells them that Jerry didn’t cast a reflection in his mirror. Peter drives away with Charley yelling after him that he has to go to the police. And tell them what, Charley? What exactly about this situation are they going to believe? And also, is it illegal to be a vampire? Maybe focus less on the vampire part and more on the serial killer part, mmkay?
Charley insists that he and Ed walk Amy home, and inside Jerry and Billy are watching them through the window. Billy comments that Amy looks just like “her,” and then says that Peter will never believe Charley now. Then Jerry walks into the other room and steps on the sliver of mirror that fell out of Peter’s compact. Jerry is capable of adding two plus two, and is like, well fuck.
While walking Amy home, Ed suggests they take a shortcut down a dark alley. Look, even with no vampires in the equation, that seems like a bad idea. Stay out of dark alleys, kids!
Charley tells him no way, and Ed starts going on about how there are no such things as vampires. Did he not hear Peter say Jerry doesn’t cast a reflection, or is he just being deliberately obtuse? Also, this alley is at a right angle to the way they’re headed, so I’m not entirely sure if it is a shortcut.
Ed takes off on his own, and Charley and Amy have barely taken two steps before Ed screams. They run to him and find him cowering on the pavement. He’s whimpering and tells them the vampire got him (. . . in the two seconds he was alone? Mmkay.) and Charley will have to kill him . . . before he gives Charley a hickey! Ed and Amy start laughing like this is actually funny or something. Goddammit, Ed, that’s the spray bottle for you again.
Charley drags Amy away, leaving Ed to yell after them again that there are no vampires, as we get an overhead POV of something watching Ed and then swooping down at him. Surprise! It was Jerry, who now begins stalking him down the alley. Despite being so sure vampires don’t exist, Ed starts running when he sees Jerry coming after him. He takes a few turns down the alley before hitting a dead end (again, how was this alley supposed to be a shortcut?). Jerry somehow pops up behind him, because vampire magic, I suppose.
Jerry tells Ed he doesn’t have to be afraid; no one will pick on him or beat him up any more; all he has to do is take Jerry’s hand. He holds the hand out, and despite his face being perfectly lovely Chris Sarandon face, his hand has those awful elongated fingers again. Dammit, I would have said yes until I saw those damn hands, Jerry!
Ed apparently doesn’t have my hang-ups about the hands, because after a dramatic moment, he takes Jerry’s hand. Jerry folds his coat around him, blocking our view, and then we hear Ed scream. Charley and Amy hear it, too, and collectively decide Ed is just fucking with them again, shouting insults down the street at him. I mean, damn, even the boy who cried wolf got three tries before people decided he was full of shit.
They hear another sound, and I guess it’s like a transformer exploding, because some of the power goes out? I dunno, I’ve never been able to figure this part out very well. Anyway, they run onto a busier street, where a line of people are waiting to get into a nightclub, and then Jerry comes around the corner behind them. They run, but every time they take a turn, Jerry appears in front of them. Can vampires teleport in this universe? Because this is some very quick-changing bat-to-human form if not.
Charley and Amy finally climb through the open window of the nightclub’s kitchen and run through the club, trying to get away from Jerry. Is the club scene the most famous scene from this movie? I feel like the club scene might be the most famous scene from this movie. They run to a payphone, where Charley says he’s going to call the police. Because they’ve been so helpful so far?
Before we get to that, however, we need to check in with Peter Vincent. He’s just chillin at his place when Ed knocks on his door in an apparent panic, saying Peter has to let him in; there’s a vampire out here! Why yes, yes there is. Ed is looking mighty pale, guys. Side note: how long does it take to turn in this movie? Some vampire media makes it out like it’s an all-night (all day?) affair, but this shit seems to have happened immediately. Anyway, Peter opens the door and pulls Ed into the apartment by his collar. So, I guess that counts as an invitation?
Peter asks what they’re going to do, and Ed counters by asking what Peter’s going to do, and pulls his collar out to show him the fang marks in his neck. Then he vamps out, all pointy teeth and bad attitude. If you thought Ed was annoying as a human, he’s like ten times worse as a vampire. Would now be a good time to refill my spray bottle with holy water?
He attacks Peter, who might be a goner except he pulls out a cross and shoves it against Ed’s forehead. It burns the cross shape into his head, which causes Ed to turn into a whiny little baby, and Peter to find his courage. Or maybe just his acting chops, as he seems to be channeling his inner Van Helsing while he brandishes the cross and orders Ed back. Ed claims that the Master will kill Peter for this, but I have my doubts that Jerry gives that much of a fuck about you, Ed. Then he jumps out Peter’s window, shattering all the glass, and the frame, too. Well, hope you weren’t trying to get your security deposit back, Peter.
Back to Charley and Amy, and Charley’s slamming the payphone down while yelling that they don’t believe him. Well, can you really blame them if you’re yelling about vampires again, my dude? Charley asks Amy if she has Peter Vincent’s number, and she yells at him that he doesn’t care; she paid him to be there tonight! Charley doesn’t care and says they have to try anyway. Because apparently a washed-up actor is their last hope. Well, that’s dire.
Jerry shows up in the doorway, sans the trenchcoat he was wearing, and what the fuck is this shirt? It takes a brave man to wear a boat neck. He stalks through the crowd, making hypno-eyes at Amy while Charley notices nothing because he has his back turned to the crowd while he calls Peter. Charley should be dead like five times over, right? Jerry gets Amy out on the dance floor, while an oblivious Charley tells Peter that Jerry has them trapped in this club. Peter is shaking and paralyzed with fear, and basically tells Charley nope, fuck that noise. My hero.
Meanwhile, on the dance floor, Amy is under Jerry’s spell, and he’s getting waaaaay too handsy with her. I mean, I know Amanda Bearse was 27 at the time (even though she looks much younger through most of the movie), but isn’t Amy only supposed to be, like, seventeen? Creepy, dude. Stop.
Charley finally realizes Amy’s not with him, and spots her dancing with Jerry. Considering how histrionic he’s been throughout this movie, his reaction is surprisingly sedate, especially since Amy’s been trying to give Jerry’s chest a hickey (now the boat neck makes total sense) and at one point dropped to her knees in front of him like she was about to blow him right there in front of everyone in the club. In case anyone needed more proof of the vampire thing, this club has mirrored walls that Amy sees herself dancing apparently alone in. She reacts like this is a surprise or something. Girl. He hypnotized you into dancing to the worst 80s music in existence. He a vampire, mmkay? Also, quick question: vampires don’t cast a reflection; good, great, sure. Why don’t their clothes cast a reflection, though? Shouldn’t this look like some Invisible Man shit, with an empty set of clothes dancing around in the mirrors?
Charley confronts Jerry, and he don’t give a fuck, kissing Amy right in front of him. Charley throws a punch, and Mr. Steal Yo Girl over here grabs his fist while still lip-locked with Amy. This is kinda awesome, but again, she’s 17, bro! And also hypnotized. There are definite questions of consent here.
Charley tells Jerry he can’t kill him here, and Jerry scoffs that he doesn’t want to kill him; he wants him to bring Peter Vincent to his place. That is, if he ever wants to see Amy again. Oh. Okay. Peter is currently a quivering mass of yellow jello, so I’m not sure why he matters to you, but okay. Sure.
Jerry starts to walk out with Amy, but Charley throws up a fuss and two security guards step in and separate Jerry from the kids. One of them tells Jerry “If you want chicken, man, you go somewhere else.” Um, this is clearly slang I don’t get. Peter Stormare says something kinda similar in Bruiser, but this is different enough that I’m still trying to make sense of it. (In that case, “chicken” was an adult woman, and “chickie” was a girl too young to mess with. Or something like that, it’s been a while since I watched Bruiser.)
Anyway, Jerry slaughters the security guards. Chaos ensues, with everyone screaming and running for the exits. Charley and Amy get separated, and of course Jerry is there to grab her and throw a triumphant “fuck you” look Charley’s way. Charley makes it out of the club just in time to see Billy and Jerry drive off in the Jeep with Amy, and Ed’s there too, hanging out the back, pointing and laughing at Charley. Is this the first that Charley knows of Ed being a vampire? That’s not a great way of finding out.
Charley shows up at Peter’s, but this time Peter has learned his lesson and tests Charley with a cross before he lets him in. Charley sees that Peter is packing up to leave, and yells at him that he can’t go because Jerry has Amy and he says he’s going to kill her unless they come to his house. Um, that’s not exactly what he said, Charley. Peter starts to run to the phone, saying they’ll call the police, but Charley screams that they won’t believe them! I mean, not if you keep screeching at them about vampires, you idiot. Maybe if you just tell them about the forty-year-old man who just abducted the underage girl, though? I mean, surely there’s a way to report an abduction without mentioning vampires?
Peter admits that Amy paid him to show up earlier, and yeah, Charley knows. Peter is surprised that Charley still wants his help, but Charley exclaims that of course he does; he’s Peter Vincent, the Great Vampire Killer! Finally, finally, Peter tells him that that’s just a character he plays, and that’s not even his real name. Charley tries a pep talk, but Peter is just too scared to help. It’s odd because he’s being such a coward, but Roddy McDowall is pretty phenomenal here.
Meanwhile, at Jerry’s place, Amy is lying on a blanket in front of a fireplace, wearing a white Marilyn Monroe-type halter dress. She acts like she’s waking up from being unconscious, which is confusing since we never saw her get knocked out or anything, and takes a look around the room. She spots the painting of the girl who looks like her, and Jerry (who is now wearing his third (?) shirt of the night, completely unbuttoned) tells her the girl is someone he knew a long time ago. Annnnnnnd that’s all the backstory we’re gonna get on Portrait Girl.
Jerry gets rid of his shirt entirely, ignores Amy’s questions about where she is and where Charley is (really, was she unconscious, and why?), and starts sexing her. It’s a little too uncomfortable to be hot, you know, with the whole she’s supposed to be 17 thing. She undoes the halter on her dress, and Jerry bites her . . . on the shoulder? My dude, you are not vampiring correctly. WTF.
Some indeterminate amount of time later, Charley (now wearing a giant cross around his neck) is creeping around the neighborhood. I dunno, it’s framed really oddly, and every time they cut to Jerry’s house in this movie it looks like it’s across the street. Anyway, Charley creeps out of some bushes and gets jump-scared by Peter, who has apparently found some backbone. He’s brought along his vampire-killing kit, and also a gun to dispatch Billy. Okay, pretty sure that’s actually going to be considered murder, but you do you, guys.
They creep up the front steps before Peter suggests they go around back and sneak in. But then the front door creaks open by itself. So . . . is Jerry telekinetic? They reluctantly enter the house, with Peter repeating to himself that he is Peter Vincent, the Great Vampire Killer. Well, I’m totally convinced.
As they’re making their way up the staircase inside, Peter suggests coming back at dawn, when Jerry will be asleep, but Charley protests that Amy will be dead by then. Yeah, about that . . . . Then Jerry appears at the top of the stairs, wearing what’s at least his fourth shirt of the night, and welcomes them to Fright Night . . . for real.
Charley demands to know where Amy is, and Jerry replies that she’s up here; they just have to get past him. Peter brandishes his cross, but Jerry just laughs, then slowly reaches out and wraps his hand (the elongated fingers again, blergh) around it, bending it like it’s nothing. He tells Peter he has to have faith for it to work on him. Oh. Whoops. Charley clearly has more faith, because he shoves his cross at Jerry, causing him to do the typical vampire thing and throw his arm up, hissing while backing away. Jerry. I thought you were better than that. Charley says they’re going to make it! . . . . But then Billy comes out of nowhere and bitch-slaps him over the railing. Peter runs out of the house while Jerry and Billy laugh at him. Great Vampire Killer, indeed.
Peter runs next door to Charley’s house, and encounters Evil Ed wearing a red string wig and pretending to be Mrs. Brewster, lying in her bed. Whatever makes you happy, Ed. (Mrs. Brewster is fine. Night shift, remember.) Peter runs from the room backwards, and crashes into a table in the hall, breaking it. Apparently Ed can shape-shift into a wolf rather than a bat (how does that work? can you be both? do you get to choose? does it just happen?), because a beautiful wolf comes running out of Mrs. Brewster’s room to attack Peter. He manages to fight it off with the broken table leg, staking it in the process and flipping it over the railing to the floor below.
Wolf Ed stays alive for an uncomfortable amount of time, crying and morphing back into a teenage boy. Peter looks on in horror and sympathy, and when Ed finally dies, he apparently turns back human? At any rate, the cross burn on his forehead disappears. I want to get in a preemptive “what are the rules?!” here, because this is not how other vampires die later. We’ll get to that.
Meanwhile next door, Jerry tosses Charley into the room where (an unconscious) Amy is, then throws him his carved fence post stake, telling Charley he’ll need it just before dawn. I still can’t tell if Jerry expects Amy to eat Charley, or if he really doesn’t give a fuck if she gets staked. Why make all this noise about her looking like Portrait Girl if it ultimately means fuck all to you?
Jerry starts down the stairs; Charley rolls Amy over and sees black eyes and fangs, and screams “Nooooooo!” Jerry smiles and continues down the stairs like the sadistic badass he is.
Back at the Brewsters’, Peter pulls the stake out of Ed. Peter, no! You have to leave the stake in or else he’ll come back to life! Don’t you watch your own movies? Then he heads out the door to go save Charley and Amy. Jerry must really like fog machines, because when Peter looks at the house, there’s fog pouring out of every crevice. The look on his face is pure “you’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”
Peter goes inside and finds Charley locked in the room upstairs. He tells Charley to make a bunch of noise so he can break the door down, so Charley starts pounding on the walls and yelling for help. Downstairs, Jerry and Billy are shoveling dirt into a coffin, and Jerry comments that she must have just opened her eyes. I feel like Ed was full vampire and menacing Peter by this time after being bitten, but maybe everyone is different.
Peter gets in the room and Charley shows him that Amy is turning. Peter says that so far everything has been like it is in the movies, so if they kill Jerry before sunrise, Amy should turn human again. I . . . don’t think I’ve ever heard that rule before. I think I heard it in Supernatural, but it was for werewolves, without the time stipulation, and it didn’t work. The Lost Boys (and maybe a few others) said if you kill the master vampire before the baby vampire drinks human blood, they’ll turn human again, but again, there was no time stipulation. (Then there’s the whole blood transfusion thing in Near Dark, which I have so many questions about.)
Anyway, Jerry (who is eating an apple again, because why not) senses something is wrong and bats out to fly around to the window and spy on Charley and Peter. Our heroes start to head down the stairs, but are stopped by Billy coming up toward them. Peter brandishes the gun, but Billy could not care less. Peter shoots him in the head, which sends Billy falling back down the stairs. Then Jerry pops up in front of them, and Charley shoves his cross at him. Momentarily thwarted, Jerry looks down at Billy and shrugs them off, turning around and going . . . I don’t know; somewhere else upstairs, I suppose.
Then Billy gets up and starts coming for them again, with blood trickling out of the bullet hole in his forehead. Hey, at least Peter’s a good shot, right? He unloads another five bullets into Billy, with no effect. Then Charley stakes him in the heart with his 2×4/fence post homemade stake, and that has an effect. Billy starts melting, pouring green goo everywhere, then sand pours out of his clothes, and finally his goopy skeleton falls to the floor and shatters. So. There are multiple theories about what Billy was, including a ghoul or a golem. I was always under the impression that he was human up until that night, and Jerry turned him sometime before Charley and Peter showed up. I really can’t say for sure.
They run upstairs to check on Amy, who is still out of it and all sweaty, and Peter stupidly sticks his head out the window, but fortunately pulls it back in before Jerry takes a swipe at him. Why he doesn’t just jump in the window and fuck Peter up, I just don’t know. The guys head out to find Jerry (literally right there, dudes) to kill him, and he stands out on the roof commanding Amy to awake and kill Charley and Peter. They realize Jerry is on the roof, and Peter runs back into the room to . . . I really don’t know the logic here. To get fucked up by Amy?
Oh, and apparently getting turned into a vampire makes your hair longer and a different color. Good to know.
Amy starts to hiss at Peter, but he shows her a cross and she throws her arms over her face and whimpers. So, does he have faith now, or does it work on baby vampires regardless? Anyway, he backs out of the room; yells for Charley; then Jerry makes scary faces at him through the window in the hall. Dude. This is your house! Why are you lurking around outside instead of coming in and fucking these fools up?
Jerry must have heard me, because he comes busting through the big stained glass window at the top of the stairs, while Amy pounds on the doors to the room she’s in, trying to get out. Sorry, did Peter lock those doors behind him? Or are baby vampires incapable of figuring out how doorknobs work?
Peter backs Jerry up to the broken window with his cross, before Jerry remembers that Peter has no faith. But then Peter sees the sun start to rise (honestly, this is maybe the fastest sunrise in history) behind him, and finds his faith. The wall of clocks start chiming the six o’clock hour, and Peter tells Jerry that he’s run out of time. Now, I’d like to point out that for sunset to be at 6PM and sunrise to be at 6AM, they would have to be living on the equator, which they clearly are not. Ha, take that, movie!
Jerry gets hit by a sunbeam, then turns into a gross bat-thing and fights Peter for a minute before biting Charley’s arm and flying off into the basement. So, is Charley in danger of turning now? Because I’m assuming this is the sort of vampire movie where a simple bite will turn you, and that’s why Jerry decapitated all his previous victims.
They race into the basement to find that Jerry is in his coffin, which is locked from the inside. That’s actually a pretty good idea. Probably get funny looks from the mortuary people when you special order that, though.
Amy comes down into the basement, all vampy now, and Charley shows her his cross. She hides her face and pleads with him pitifully, claiming it’s not her fault, and he told her he wouldn’t let anything happen to her. She guilts him enough that he drops the cross and moves toward her. Have I mentioned yet that Charley is a moron? I have? Okay, just checking. Amy has full on Monster Face, and turns around to attack Charley. This shit is not hot. Props to the movie for starting with sexy vampires, then not being afraid to make them gross.
Peter manages to hammer the lock? hinges? something off of the coffin to open it, and he’s just about to stake Jerry when Charley shouts for help, waking Jerry up. He must be the type that falls asleep the second his head hits the pillow, because it’s been literally two minutes. Peter still has his table-leg stake, and he proceeds to hammer that into Jerry’s . . . armpit? Seriously, it looks like Chris Sarandon is just holding the table leg between his arm and his side. Maybe that’s how he’s able to spring up vertically and yank the stake out. He throws the table leg across the room, putting a hole through one of the blacked-out windows and almost hitting Amy with a ray of sunshine.
Fighting ensues while Charley tries to run around breaking all the windows to let the light in, and he very uncharitably knocks Amy out while he does this. Charley and Peter throw everything they can to break all the windows, not leaving Jerry much of anywhere to run. He backs Peter into a dark corner (sloppy, Peter, very sloppy), but then Charley runs past him to yank a curtain off the one window Billy apparently never got around to painting over. The light throws Jerry across the room and sets him on fire. Charley and Peter dog-pile on top of Amy while Jerry explodes several times and is turned into a bat-like skeleton thing, and explodes and flames some more. For some reason this makes all the windows shatter even more, and everything starts flying at them like someone shot out the window of an airplane midflight. I mean, sure. At this point, why not?
Also, I lived in a basement for nearly ten years. I got almost zero direct sunlight; it would have been a vampire safe zone except for maybe five minutes around ten in the morning, when I got a few little sun dapples pop up on my wall. Seriously, I used that shit like a sundial. I always knew when it was ten o’clock.
With Jerry dead, Amy is back to being human, and Peter and Charley help her up and out of the basement, but I’m really distracted by the tuba someone has placed in this basement. Who is the tuba player? Was Jerry in a polka band?
So many questions.
They share a group hug, and then we fade out and back in to what could be the opening shot of this movie all over again – slow pan past the house next door and the For Sale sign, up to Charley’s window where he and Amy are making out while Peter Vincent hosts Fright Night on the TV. I guess he got his job back. Good for him. Rather than vampires, however, he’s showing alien movies tonight. Charley gets up to switch the TV off (see, kids, humans used to be the remotes), then looks out the window and sees a pair of glowing red eyes looking out at him from Jerry’s window. They blink out almost immediately, and Amy asks him if something’s wrong. He dismisses it, then jumps back on the bed with her. Well, at least they figured out that beds are a thing that exist.
Then we push in on Jerry’s window, where the red eyes have shown up again, and as we fade to black, we hear Ed laugh and say “Oh, you’re so cool, Brewster!”
Nostalgia Glasses Off
Okay, I love this movie, but damn do I have questions. After that ending, the most pressing is WHAT ARE THE RULES?! So, we killed Jerry and that turned Amy human again, but Ed is still a vampire? What? How? Why? WHAT ARE THE RULES?!?! Why did Ed leave a normal human-boy-looking corpse when he “died,” but Jerry exploded and disappeared, and Billy (always assuming he got turned, which I’m not at all sure is the case) melted into green goo and shattered into bone confetti? Why did killing Jerry make Amy go back to normal, but Ed is still a vamp? I’m so confused . . .
All of my confusion aside, I really do love this movie. It’s not my favorite 1980s vampire movie, that would probably be a tie between Near Dark and The Lost Boys, but it’s top five. Maybe top three, even. It was the first time I found Chris Sarandon attractive, and I love Roddy McDowall’s performance, even if it does look like his hair is spray-painted grey. Seeing Amanda Bearse in a non-Married With Children role is always a little strange for me; I keep expecting Al Bundy to show up at any moment. (That would make this movie really weird, wouldn’t it?)
I’m not sure how well all the 1980s cheese holds up today, but we’re all about nostalgia around here, right? So, I’m going to leave you with a cheesy staple of 1980s movies – the movie-specific theme song that explains the movie to you (which I did not until this very second realize was sung by the J Geils Band). Enjoy!