Well, Halloween is around the corner, and in honor of the holiday, I thought I would provide a refresher course on vampires. And while I don’t have a PhD in vampirism, I do consider myself an expert as I just watched Fright Night. In addition, I have read the entire Sookie Stackhouse series, have seen both Twilight and New Moon with the Rifftrax (and I quote from the brilliant commentary: “Eh, she’s lost already. Damn you disproportionately large high school for a town of three thousand!”), and have been bitten by a mosquito. So am I qualified? Yeah, I’d say I am pretty qualified.
In Fright Night, at first, things seem to be going just swell for teen, Charley Brewster, played by William Ragsdale (hey, I don’t name the actors, OK?). He has a girlfriend, Amy (sort of). He has a best friend, “Evil” Ed (eh, kind of… let’s just say if you have supernatural problems, you probably don’t seek out help from someone named “Charming Chet” or “Somewhat neutrally aligned Sally.” You turn to Evil Ed). Charley confides in Evil Ed because a vampire named Jerry Dandrige (Chris Sarandon) moves in next door (what?) and makes Charley’s life a living hell (Seriously, vampires are the worst neighbors to have– they call the cops all the time complaining that the music is too loud or that your lawn is too long. Talk about being both passive-aggressive and cranky). So, Charley naturally seeks professional help from the only person he can think of– Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowell), an actor who played a vampire slayer. Eventually, Jerry takes Amy captive and turns Evil Ed into a vampire (noooo! Not EVIL Ed! Gasp!). It is up to Charley and Peter to save the day. Hip hip hooray!
I found this film to be quite informative on the subject of vampires (but oddly enough not on issues of fright or night). Here are a few things I learned:
Vampires look like humans,and only when they get really pissed off or want to look all threatening do their monstrous features shine through. True Blood lied to me– those vampires are pretty all the time. Not so, says Fright Night, not so. Fright Night would argue that vampires look like a strange combination of Voldemort, psychotic clowns, and piranhas. Good to know.
When vampires reveal their true nature, they start to talk REALLY slow. And low. They speak at half speed. But they move at double speed. I guess, like the issue of neon in the 90s, it’s really about balance.
Once you are changed into a vampire, your hair becomes long, stringy, mussed, and tends to hang in your eyes. This appears to happen at a moment’s notice and is apparently how you can tell someone changed (the teeth, I guess, are not the dead giveaway like I thought).
All vampires burn green. Maybe it’s because vampires are 80% borax, or maybe they just like to go out in style.
When cornered by a vampire, stab it in the hand with a pencil. Works every time.
Hopefully, these tips are helpful. You never know when they might come in handy. As this film was made in the 80s (man, was it ever made in the 80s!), it is pretty cheesy and fun. However, a lot has changed in the field of vampires since 1985, and I acknowledge that I should broaden my horizons to learn what contemporary minds have to say about the topic. So, I plan to watch some more horror movies to fill in the gaps in my knowledge about vampires, werewolves, and the like. Stay tuned.
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