Fright Night (1985)

If you thought that a vampire had moved in next door to you there would be a few questions you would have to ask yourself. Like: am I going crazy? If I'm not, then who do I report this to? How do I get them to believe me? How do I protect my loved ones?

Fright Night asks all of those logical questions, but there's a lot of valid questions it doesn't ask. Like: did a bank cosign on the loan for this house? If so, when was the paperwork signed? (After all, vampires burst into flames in sunlight and banks aren't known for their flexible hours.) Did a minion do an open house or was the house rented unseen? If it was rented unseen then what happens if it turns out the vampires got a bummer house that doesn't suit their needs? If the house is full of mold and that's a problem that sleeping in a sealed coffin can't protect them from do they kill the old owners in revenge, or do the work on fixing it during the small window when they are awake but not murdering? Vampires are evil, but do they still pay property taxes? Do they care if the local schools get funded or not? The mind boggles at the unexamined potential of this scenario.

Fright Night is similarly uninterested in asking questions about the specifics of vampire lore. A strong vampire isn't hurt by the sight of a cross unless the holder believes in it, but what does believing in a cross mean? Like 100% true believer? Does "I have vague faith but I would still claim to believe" count? What about "I don't believe now but I used to when I was growing up"? I know that asking about this stuff might seem a bit nit-picky, but every time I see a vampire movie where belief is necessary for a relic to work I want to see a scene where there's a rabbinical discussion about the nature of belief and the vampire argues his attackers into admitting that they came so late to the holy bandwagon that they don't really deserve a seat.

Because I really like juxtaposing the ridiculous with the practical I've always had a soft spot in my heart for vampires, who have always had a lot more crazy rules in their mythology than most of the other monsters. A movie like Fright Night is ideal for me because it not only makes use of all of those crazy vampire rules but because it's "vampire moves to the suburbs" plot automatically contrasts something mythological with something mundane. And yes, it doesn't do as much with that set up as I would like -  as the movie goes on it abandons it's interesting set up more and more to focus on kind of generic horror film scares - but those scares are well executed, with really great make up creating some entertainingly gross creatures. Honestly, I can't complain that this film doesn't have an undead real estate agent in it because it does have some cool unemployed undead people in it and that's still pretty good.

 

Winner: Me

Fright Night on IMDB