My dad loved “monster” horror movies.
I asked him why that was his favorite genre once and he talked about the horror movies that he watched growing up and how “pathetic” they were. Bela Lugosi’s “Dracula” was the main one I remember him referring to. He remembered seeing the “bat on a string” for the first time and thinking, ridiculous. He was always impressed with the groundbreaking makeup and special effects that movies continued to get better at over the decades.
The first “monster” horror picture that my dad let me watch–with his supervision of course–was “Fright Night.”
My dad loved this movie. I know because I remember “hearing” him watch it many times. At our old house in town when I was younger, our entertainment center was downstairs and very secluded. We had an iron, circle-descending staircase that led to the basement, making it impossible to sneak down and watch it with him:
We were able to peer over the first step and look down to see the television, but we could only watch it upside down and you had a few moments before the blood rushed to your head, creating discomfort. Not worth it.
I remember nagging my dad to watch that movie multiple times, and received the usual “no”.
I found out later that one of my cousins had seen it. He said that it wasn’t that scary; that it was, “sort of funny.” I told my dad this and he finally agreed to let me watch it with him (I believe I was 11 at the time–3 years after its initial release).
I was glad my dad was there to watch it with me. It freaked me out a little. For its time, the makeup and vampire special effects were amazing. The prosthetic eyes, fingers, and jaws that the actors used were original concepts in 1985 and were used in multiple horror movies that would follow thereafter.
I remember enjoying the tension of the young boy possibly being murdered by the neighbor next door. He was very vulnerable, and could not get help from anybody because vampires aren’t real. It made the odds of survival seem unlikely. The police couldn’t help him, his friends didn’t believe him, and we are setup to be the only support that Charlie has as the viewer. What the hell are we gonna do? Oh, and the villain is a vampire that can kill three giant bouncers in less-than-a-heartbeat after 80s club dancing with Charlie’s lady friend.
I found the film very entertaining and enjoyed Chris Sarandon as the villain. When a villain can scare you, but make you feel comfortable with his charm right before he attempts to strike you with a final blow…that’s villainy at its finest.
When the remake with Colin Farrell came out in 2011, I went right out and saw it. I remember enjoying parts of what they did with it, but didn’t enjoy it like I had the original.
I did a viewing of the original with some of my friends afterward and they were not impressed and felt that it didn’t hold up.
I disagree. I think it holds up fine and is a movie that knew what it was making and had fun laughing along side itself. Next to “The Blues Brothers,” its probably the movie that I re-watched the most with my dad over the years. Maybe that is why it is so special to me. Who knows?
I don’t enjoy vampire movies in general, but I did enjoy this one. It was very different from the vampire films that I was used to. It was witty, suburban, and educational. Knowing that my dad enjoyed it so much made me want to share in that enjoyment with him…which I did and will continue to do.
CAUTION: SHAMELESS PROMOTION!!!
I was so excited to see that someone had joined my newsletter today when I checked the subject line of my inbox! I immediately opened that email to see who had joined! Yeah, it was my mom…so….
Let me invite all of you to join me and mom and subscribe to the Clintington on Film Dope Sheet. There will be talk of my first novel (I will share my first chapter for sure…at some point) and discussions on the television that has influenced me as well.