Fright Night (1985)

What a month! Not only did I get to extol the virtues of The Lost Boys on UHD this Halloween, but what should arrive in the mail but Tom Holland’s equally classic 1985 vampire flick, Fright Night. The 80s is known for many classic horror flicks, most of which—including this one—have been remade, given sequels or milked to excess. Old farts like me will always cling to the originals as the best, but there was an intrinsic habit within that decade to take risks, to let a writer/director tell their story. The result were some really unique and wonderful movies, made by auteurs or visionaries allowed to tell THEIR STORIES, something that the corporate run studios don’t do anymore.

"This movie is a jewel from the first scene"

Writer/director Tom Holland had made inroads in Hollywood as a screenwriter, penning Psycho 2, Class of 1984 and Cloak and Dagger to great acclaim. He came up with the notion of combining Rear Window with the story of a teenage boy—a horror movie fan—who discovers his next door neighbour is an actual vampire. In those magic times, Columbia Pictures took a chance on him, let him direct and greenlit it.

Charlie Brewster (William Ragsdale) is your average American teen, muddling his way through school, trying to get into his girlfriend Amy’s (Amanda Bearse) pants and loves Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowell) horror movies. One night while making out with Amy, Charlie notices new neighbours moving in, carrying a coffin. Seems Charlie is a bit of a voyeur and pretty soon notices attractive women visiting only to turn up on the news as missing. While studying late, Charlie sees the neighbour getting it on with a half naked beauty by the window, but after the thrill of seeing boobs, shit turns terrifying quickly when his neighbour sprouts fangs. Charlie goes to the police, who threaten to lock him up upon hearing his theories and unfortunately his neighbour Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon) now knows he knows. His girlfriend and best friend Ed (Stephen Geoffreys) think he’s loosing it, but attempt to quell what they think is a delusion by paying his favourite (washed up) actor to come ‘help him’. It doesn’t go well when they all learn that Charlie is right.

This movie is a jewel from the first scene. Every character is well drawn, performed impeccably and instantly endears themselves… even the bad guys. You know right away you’re in for a good time. Holland knew what he was going for: a fun scary movie. A good ride. It’s humour being organic to the story and the characters, never making fun of the genre or falling into parody. Holland obviously has a deep love for the genre and it never wavers from beginning to end. This is tight writing and provides a great base for the rest of the production.Fright Night (1985)

And what a production, from pitch perfect casting to the Brad Fiedel 80s synth score to the make up effects, it’s all top shelf stuff. Ragsdale is such a likeable young lead, an everyman who navigates great stresses naturally and easily gains your empathy. Bearse and Jeffries also deliver great memorable performances in parts that could have easily fallen flat in the wrong hands. Sarandon is an epic vampire: seductive, menacing and also damn likeable. The stand out for this reviewer was Roddy McDowell, who turns in a perfect rendition of a washed up Vincent Price type who’s selfish hand is forced into becoming a hero. It’s beautiful to watch every time.

The effects team really used their limited budget to great effect (using a rejected puppet from Ghostbusters for one instance), the creatures are terrific. There is one severely over the top scene with a turned Amy, where she has a King Kong sized mouthful of teeth that is pushing it’s luck, but it made for a great shock moment when I originally saw it. There were no digital effects back then, everything is prosthetics, opticals or good old-fashioned in camera movie making.

This is a true classic and a credit to it’s decade. It’s infinitely re-watchable and a must have for any vampire flick aficionado. If you haven’t seen it yet, I envy you. A great time awaits.

5/5 stars


Fright Night (1985)

4k details divider

SteelBook / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital

Home Video Distributor: Sony Pictures
Available on Blu-ray
- October 4, 2022
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
: English, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Korean, Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish
English: Dolby Atmos; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; German: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Czech: Dolby Digital 2.0; Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1; Korean: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 2.0; Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: 4K Ultra HD; 2 Blu-ray Discs; Three-disc set
Region Encoding: 4K region free; blu-ray region free


WOW! This 2160p native scan from the camera negatives is how this should be done. The picture looks gorgeous, accurate (no colour timing shifts) filmic, pristine: PERFECT. The DOLBY Vision noticeably but unobtrusively gives the film real dimension. The highlights pop, the grim blacks are impenetrable (but free of artefacts or crush). Skin tones are accurate. The impressive make up effects pop off the screen in a detail never seen on home media. Utterly flawless job on this release.


AGAIN WOW. Fright Night is honoured with an up-ticked DOLBY Atmos 7.1 mix. This is an absolutely breathtaking audio experience. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, remaining faithful to the original eras sound design, but you get some very effective and judiciously placed overhead effects and environmental layers that seamlessly immerse you. I have read reports that the Atmos mix is missing the lyrics from the songs in the nightclub scene? Not on my disc; they’re there front and centre. But be aware when you receive your copy. There are also wonderful DTS HD 5.1 and 2.0 mixes provided. But if the disc mix you got has this flawed Atmos mix, then Sony should be notified and replace defective discs. But mine was A-OK.



  • One - With writer/Director Tom Holland and Actors Chris Sarandon & Jonathan Stark. Moderated by Filmmaker Tim Sullivan
  • Two - With writer/Director Tom Holland, Actors William Ragsdale & Stephen Geoffreys, and FX Artist Randall Cook. Moderated by Journalist Jeremy Smith and Filmmaker Tim Sullivan.

Special Features:

Lending a lot from the documentary feature made a few years back called You’re So Cool Brewster, this steelbook is jam packed with features. But, FOR ONCE, I get to say there is some new content. The aforementioned documentary is a truncated version (the stand alone offering is exhaustive), but you also get almost an entire second disc of never released offerings that give you literally hours from the likes of Holland, Bearse and Geoffreys. There’s a script read-through they did for the 35th anniversary, new lengthy retrospective interviews and a plethora of new crap to mine through. The steelbook is a suitably faithful matte version of the original poster with a picture of vamped out Jerry on the B side. You also get a digital copy and blu ray of the movie included as well. I’m a reviewer that is usually quite fierce with the lack of extras and/or reuse the studios commonly afford 4K releases, but Fright Night, although not immune from this practice, is jam-packed with everything you could hope for in a collector’s release. Most of the meat in these features is fairly contemporary and exhaustive. To not give them props for the set would be ridiculous. It’s amazing.

Blu-ray Disc One:

  • NEW - Deleted Scene Storyboards
  • You're So Cool, Brewster! The Story of Fright Night
  • What is Fright Night?
  • Tom Holland: Writing Horror
  • NEW - Holland/Beyda Spec Trailer with an Introduction by Tom Holland
  • Original Theatrical Trailer "R" Rating
  • Original Theatrical Trailer "G" Rating

Blu-ray Disc Two:

  • NEW! Fright Night 35th Anniversary Script Read
  • NEW! The Queer Lens: Bryan Fuller in Conversation with Amanda Bearse
  • NEW! A Novel Approach: The Splatterpunk Story of the Fright Night Novelization
  • Roddy McDowall: From Apes to Bats
  • NEW! Tom Holland and Amanda Bearse Talk Fright Night
  • NEW! Round Table with Tom, Stephen and William
  • Shock Till You Drop Presents Choice Cuts with Tom Holland and Ryan Turek
  • 1st Ever Fright Night Reunion Panel - Fear Fest 2 (2008)
  • NEW! Weekend of Hell Panel with Amanda and Stephen
  • Vintage EPK with Behind-the-Scenes Raw Footage
  • NEW! SFX Storyboard Comparisons
  • NEW! Photo Galleries

4k rating divider

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

5/5 stars

Film Details

Fright Night (1985)

MPAA Rating: R.
106 mins
: Tom Holland
Tom Holland
Chris Sarandon; William Ragsdale; Amanda Bearse
: Horror
There are some very good reasons to be afraid...of the dark..
Memorable Movie Quote: "His dinner's in the oven! MMMM-MMMM!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Sony Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
August 2, 1985
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 4, 2022.
Synopsis: 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!


Fright Night (1985)