Friends, 35 years ago tonight I was sitting beside my Father in our car at the local Drive-In, anxiously waiting for the Sun to drop behind the hills so that Fright Night could begin. For a couple of weeks while visiting the 62 Drive-In I would always check out the poster hanging in the concession stand – that iconic house, with it’s single light on and silhouetted occupant… with the full moon high in the sky to say nothing of the collection of startling phantasmagoria above the house. While I can tell you that the B.D. Fox company was responsible for the marketing of the film – I do not know the name of the artist who painted the Fright Night one-sheet. In addition unlike many of the films that I have talked about on the various podcasts and during my time writing for the Retroist and for this site – I actually had managed to catch a trailer for Fright Night on television. I totally knew going in that this was a film that would focus on a teenager who learns that his next door neighbor just happens to be a vampire.
Now I would have probably talked my Father into taking us to see it no matter what – he was an easy sell when it came to horror movies. What really had use both anticipating the film to start however was the fact that it starred none other than Roddy McDowall (Planet of the Apes, Night Gallery, The Poseidon Adventure). In my household, the likes of McDowall carried a lot of weight – looking forward to talking about seeing 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure on an upcoming Pop Culture Retrorama Podcast.
A little over an hour and a half later while the credits rolled and the Fright Night song by the J. Geils Band played – my Father just turned to me slowly, nodding his head, and asked if I wanted to see it again the following night. When all was said and done we managed to watch Fright Night four times at that local Drive-In… and countless times when it reached VHS.
I would be totally lying if I didn’t admit that Fright Night was in my top five Vampire films of all time. Of course besides a truly killer soundtrack, the reason the film is such a classic is because of it’s cast – featuring not just McDowall but Chris Sarandon (The Princess Bride), William Ragsdale (Herman’s Head), Amanda Bearse (Married… with Children), Stephen Geoffreys (976-Evil), and Jonathan Stark (House II: The Second Story). Now a heaping amount of credit for the success of the film also rests on the shoulders of Tom Holland (Child’s Play, Thinner) who not only directed Fright Night but wrote the screenplay too. In fact if you are a big fan of Fright Night I cannot recommend strongly enough that you check out You’re So Cool Brewster: The Story of Fright Night documentary. In addition it happens to feature artwork by none other than Travis Falligant – friend to the site and an amazing artist too.
If you are not able to watch Fright Night this evening to celebrate it’s 35th Annivesary… might I suggest you give a listen to the Saturday Fright podcast episodes where we covered it?