Top critical review
It's Only the Vampire Story Re-hashed AGAIN But I Liked It..
on January 25, 2002
Chris Sarandon is terrific as Jerry Dandridge, the charming neighborhood vampire. In watching his performance one evening after I bought this tape, I finally understood why it was that the vampire story will never die, no matter how many stakes get driven into its heart: the near-death ecstasy and the orgasmic ecstasy are biochemically identical. Whether it is the act of creating human life or the act of taking it away- the human physical response is the same. With the tale of the vampire, when the male vampire is in the act of ostensibly making love to his victim, we get both actions [ostensibly giving and taking] the same time. The raw power of the scene in the book, "Dracula," where the vampire baptizes Mina with his own blood, adds a third element to this powerful biochemical mix: a spiritual element, a religious esctasy. We don't have this in "Fright Night", but instead we have the setting of an entirely normal central character and his friends, in an average town in Anywhere, America. This "brings it home" in an unexpected way, as the spiritual aspect is replaced by a social one. Context is the difference, one which is exploited very well. And of course, the struggle of a fatherless boy trying to grow into manhood and the man finds himself fixating on [the vampire] adds another dimension. The vampire has been a man and moved beyond it; Charley wants to be a man and finds that he is both helpless and threatened by the vampire. And of course, the vampire is just as helpless under certain conditions and threatened by almost everything in the ordinary daylight world- Charley through the looking glass.
Roddy McDowell shines in his role as the washed-up B-movie star. The supporting cast is also very good. And the music isn't even bad-- very 80's, but this adds to its charm.