“Oh, You’re So COOL, Brewster!” A Look Back at Tom Holland’s Vampire Masterpiece, FRIGHT NIGHT
A few short weeks ago, when I was offered the immense privilege of writing for Tom Holland’s Terror Time, I had to forcibly stop myself from gushing about FRIGHT NIGHT because I felt as though it would be “unprofessional.” Well – luckily – all that can go out the window today because today we’re here to pay homage to the 1985 vampire classic and, dammit, we at Tom Holland’s Terror Time are gonna gush.
FRIGHT NIGHT tells the story of 17-year- old Charley Brewster, an avid fan of both horror film and television; specifically, a series called ‘Fright Night’ hosted by former movie vampire hunter Peter Vincent. Once night, Charley discovers that his new next door neighbor, the enigmatic Jerry Dandrige, is a real live (well, live-ish), authentic vampire. He attempts to tell his mother, his friends, and eventually the police but all of them argue that he is simply imagining things and completely ignore claims. That night, Charley receives a visit from Jerry who offers him a choice; he can completely forget about his vampire identity and allow him to carry about his nefarious vampire business. Charley refuses, thrusting his crucifix upon Jerry. With that, the story begins and the rocky relationship between Charley and Jerry kicks into high gear.
It’s no secret that FRIGHT NIGHT is a landmark film. 31 years later, the film still has a substantial following; you’d be hard pressed to find theatres nationwide that don’t offer midnight screenings of the hugely successful cult classic.
Now, here at Tom Holland’s Terror Time, we take FRIGHT NIGHT rather seriously. Seeing as how near and dear to our hearts this particular film is, we thought we’d take some time to share with our readers what this movie means to some of our team members:
When a VCR is left on and a young girl walks by, several things can happen. For this young girl, a passion was planted. I wasn’t afraid. I was enamored. So I wouldn’t get in trouble (horror movies weren’t encouraged in a southern Baptist home), I turned the volume down but was still glued to the screen! The imagery was a magnet to me. I saw the art in it and I had to know “how did they make her look that way”, “who are the people playing these parts”, “where did they do this” I want to do this one day." A movie provoked a dream in a girl and years later, that girl became a woman. And that woman is me! Life has its way of putting you right where you belong if you don’t quit on your dreams. Every twist, turn, tear and triumph led me to working with Tom and Josh Holland. Home is where the heart is and my heart was inspired by FRIGHT NIGHT and my work-home is Tom Holland’s Terror Time!
FRIGHT NIGHT was one of those films that helped transition me from kiddie horror flicks to the adult section at the movie rental joint. Director Tom Holland took what had become a down trodden path and blazed a new trail as far as vampire movies are concerned.
Charley Brewster is the kid next door and everyone knew an adult in the neighborhood who was a tad bit shady. Of course, Chris Sarandon and Roddy McDowall formed a powerhouse duo that gave this movie serious credibility. Then there were the practical effects! FRIGHT NIGHT is everything a fun horror flick should be.
FRIGHT NIGHT was one of the first movies that my parents took away from me. As a budding horror fanatic and head case, nothing enthralled me more than going to the local Blockbuster to browse the seemingly endless rows of VHS tapes. I’d march up and down the horror section, looking for the tape with the scariest cover and try my best to convince my parents into letting me take it home. Often, the more gruesome the cover, the more likely it would be that they’d refuse my doe-eyed pout and say “No.” That is, until I found FRIGHT NIGHT. The cover was just creepy enough to satisfy my budding tastes and the star power of Chris Sarandon and Roddy McDowall appealed my mother. FRIGHT NIGHT terrified me and I loved it. However, it also made me laugh. Before long, I fell in love with the charm behind the all the bloodshed.
FRIGHT NIGHT, in short, is vampires as they should be – terrifying; with just enough humor to lull you back into your safe place before scaring you all over again. It’s awesome to see that people still find Brewster “so COOOL.”
As an 80’s baby that eventually grew up to be a major horror fan, there are some iconic films that stick out in your head for years to come. When I first came across the VHS for FRIGHT NIGHT, I was immediately intrigued, fascinated, but most of all frightened. Touché I know, given the film name; but the poster art itself has rendered to be iconic on its own. As a young horror fan, I had never thought that in my adult life, I would be exposed to be others that shared my undoubtable love for the genre. Especially with the one individual that started it all, Tom Holland. Fright Night has opened doors to filmmakers, producers and aspiring screenwriters. The traditional spin on terrifying vampires remained just that. No glittery, shining vamps here. Just some cold hearted, blood sucking demons. And, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Cheers to great films that don’t age. Literally.
Over thirty years after its theatrical release, Tom Holland’s FRIGHT NIGHT has stood the test of time as one of the great horror films of the 1980s. Horrifying, hilarious and surprisingly heartfelt, FRIGHT NIGHT embodies all the things we love about vampires while pointing the genre in fascinating new directions that leave the viewer satisfied and gasping for breath. Fan favorites Chris Sarandon and Roddy McDowall deliver superb performances alongside a game young cast and Holland’s clever, highly quotable screenplay keeps the audience guessing and on the edge of their seat. While the 1980s produced many great vampire films, FRIGHT NIGHT remains the granddaddy of them all, unmatched in its terror, style, and action packed thrills.
See? We’re pretty passionate around these parts.
So Happy 31st Anniversary, FRIGHT NIGHT. Thanks for the memories, the nightmares, the laughs, and the shrieks of unrelenting terror. The mark you’ve made on the horror genre is one that we’re fairly certain will remain for at least another 31 years.
“Welcome to Fright Night. For real.”
Jokes on you Jerry. We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
The Fright Night documentary “You’re So Cool Brewster” – The Story of Fright Night will be coming out this Oct!
You’ll be able to order the doc at www.THTerrorTime.net this October!
Love and gratitude from fans never stops amazing Tom. Tattoo art tributes below.
You can check out some awesome ‘Fright Night’ collectibles at Tom’s store @ www.THTerrorTime.net