Fright Night on MonsterVision

Monstervision's Joe Bob Looks At

Fright Night (1985)

A teenager (William Ragsdale) is sure that his new neighbor (Chris Sarandon) is a vampire, but mom thinks he's OK and even wants to date him. Alarmed, Ragsdale goes down to the local TV-studio where a former Hollywood horror star (Roddy McDowall) hosts cheesy late-night monster movies. To humor the boy, Roddy checks it out, and eventually confronts the suave, cunning vampire, using a plastic crucifix from one of his old movies. The vampire reacts as expected, then laughs and snatches the crucifix, crushing it in one hand. He explains that the plastic prop is nothing unless its owner has genuine faith. Well, they finally take on the vampire and win, helped by Richard Edlund's great special effects. Now here's Joe Bob with those drive-in totals:

(From Joe Bob's Ultimate B Movie Guide)


Fright Night A recent escapee from the Richard Gere Charm School moves to the suburbs, sucks the blood out of prostitutes every night, and starts sleeping all day in a basement coffin. The curious kid next door happens to notice a few headless bodies stuffed into Hefty bags and concludes that the guy in the George Hamilton sweaters is a vampire. But nobody believes him, especially his Valium-head mom and his dingbat girlfriend, who says, "Charley, is this some kind of trick to get me back?"

Then one night the vampire comes over to visit, and while there he goes upstairs and starts busting up furniture, but before he can kill little Charley, he gets a No. 3 Faber wooden pencil through the hand and that turns into a werewolf on-camera. Charley goes and gets the nerd star of FRATERNITY VACATION to help him kill the vampire, but they can't do it without Roddy McDowall, who's a retired drive-in horror star who knows about wooden stakes and holy water and gold crosses and all the other stuff you need to turn Ken-doll vampires into Alpo. Pretty soon we've got the best face-eating flying vulture-bat special effects I've ever seen.
Two breasts.
Eight dead bodies.
Eight gallons blood.
Five slime-spewing vampires.
Four transformation scenes, including wolf-dog, goober-head melting-man, flying-lizard, and flaming-bat.
Two heads roll.
Hearts roll.
Electric fingernails.
Gratuitous Studebaker.
Vampire flashdancing.
Disco riot.
With Chris Sarandon as the Vidal Sassoon vampire, William Ragsdale as the kid, Amanda Bearse (on a date, the former "Married With Children" tv-series neighbor frugs with the vampire and turns into a frothing bimbo with fangs), Stephen Geoffreys as the nerd sidekick.
Written and directed by Tom Holland of Poltergeist and The Funhouse MonsterVision movies. I give it 4 stars!

Fright Night is available on video and on DVD

Joe Bob Briggs has been known to host cheesy late night monster movies, but that's not the only connection with "Fright Night." He also guest-starred on the TV-series "Married With Children."

Fright Night 2 (1989)

Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace, who also directed Halloween 3, brings back Ragsdale & Roddy in a somewhat more violent sequel. The sister of the vampire who met his grisly end in the first one is out for revenge. By 1989, Ragsdale is one of Hollywood's oldest-looking teenagers, but as they say in Mystery Science Theater 3000, it's just a movie, relax. Now here's Joe Bob again:

Fright Night 2 Since Roddy McDowall already survived Chris Sarandon's incisors, they have to make him scared again, and they do get the right combination--one transvestite killer vampire on roller skates, one surfer-dude vampire, and one vampire that looks like one of those cigarette-smoking spiked-high-heel older women you see at discos and automatically you know
a) she WOULD go home with you,
b) if she goes home with you she might turn out to be a murdering maniac who will rip your eyeballs out, and
c) it's worth the risk. This is basically what happens to William Ragsdale, back from the first movie, except he can't quite figure out what's happening because he's been in therapy for three years... with a psychotherapist vampire.

They're the worst kind. They take FOREVER to come to terms with their own death. Also, these vampires are sneaky. They don't just follow you home and suck all the blood out of your neck. They tie you up nekkid in a sheet, like a wiener sausage, and make you recite the pledge of allegiance, then do a "Solid Gold" dance routine while their eyes are flashing red laser beams into your head. It's real kinky until the end. And, oh yeah, the main vampire lady has her own TV show. Fortunately Roddy kept all his crucifixes, wooden stakes, mirrors and pencil guns from the first movie, so when it's time to kick vampire hiney, the Rodman is like a Creepshow Goodwrench.
We're talking some serious intestine goo.
Two breasts.
Twelve dead bodies.
Neck sucking.
Wrist sucking.
Perrier-drinking vampires.
Vampire limo.
Moth-eating.
Roller-skate finger-knife attack.
Railroad tie through the heart.
Innocent-coed eating.
Vampire aardvarking.
Organic-pizza chucking.
Spewing neck hole.
Stomach worm spilling.
Exploding wild bat vampire woman.
Bat-cam.
Wolf-cam.
Closeup lizard-cam.
Gratuitous bowling.
Gratuitous vampire bowling.
Heads roll.
Heads bowl.
Rose Fu.
Psychotherapy Fu.
With Brian Thompson as the vampire bodyguard and limo driver ("You're SUPPOSED to bite her on the NECK!"),
Jonathan Gries as Louie the goofy vampire dude who falls off three buildings ("Bull's eye, dude"),
Julie Carmen as the Lady Macbeth vampire ("Do you know how to use your lips, Charlie?"),
Merritt Butrick as Charlie's roommate, who has sex with two vampires, then, when his friends say he looks pale, says "I'm not an alcoholic, okay?" 
3 and a half stars

Fright Night is available on video and maybe on DVD

You know who copied this movie? Jim Carrey! In Once Bitten, Jim's not gettin any from his girlfriend, so he gets seduced by this older woman who turns out to be a vampire! While not up to the level of his Planet Of The Apes movies, these two movies are Roddy McDowall's best roles. Unless you're a fan of "Lassie" (he played the kid in a Lassie movie, before June Lockhart of Troll played the mom in the Lassie tv-series)

"Fright Night 2" was seen most recently on the Sci-Fi Channel, but don't see the 2nd movie until after seeing the first one.

2000 Joe Bob Briggs. All Rights Reserved. Not an AOL Time-Warner Company in this lifetime.

For this and other movie reviews by the artist formerly known as the host of MonsterVision, go to Joe Bob Briggs.com


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