It wasn't quite the TWILIGHT or NEW MOON for Gen X movie goers, but it was a rollicking good time. FRIGHT NIGHT manages the careful balance between comedy horror and teen dramedy. Think of the film as Ferris Bueller meets the Hammer films catalog and you won't be far off. I also find it hard to imagine that a franchise like BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER could have come to fruition without FRIGHT NIGHT.
Roddy McDowall is wonderful as the combination Van Helsing and local horror movie host -- like Zomboo. More to the point as local horror movie host Van Helsing poseur who is called to combat the forces of Darkness to help a teen whose neighbor happens to be a vampire.
There's a phenomenon in horror films that I haven't written about before, and it's the underlying cause of the reason people tend to open doors when the audience knows better. Essentially, it's the fact that most characters who are in horror movies believe that they are in the real world. You know, where supernatural stuff doesn't really exist. One way that one can begin to categorize horror movies, and their characters, is how meta-aware they are that they are in a horror story.
For example, the only real difference between your typical Lovecraftian professor and Manly Wade Wellman's John Thunstone is that Thunstone knows at the beginning that he is in a horror story and he acts accordingly. In Lovecraft's horror, the breakdown of the psyche of the protagonist is often triggered at the point they realize they are in a horror tale -- this is usually the case in horror movies as well. In Wellman's Thunstone tales, Thunstone's awareness allows him to combat evil in ways that others wouldn't. One can also compare the characters in "Supernatural" to characters in most other horror films/television shows. The Winchester's meta-awareness is what sets them apart and enables them to avoid opening doors best left closed.
FRIGHT NIGHT plays with this concept a lot, and has fun with it. At first, only Charley knows he's living in a horror movie. Eventually, Roddy McDowall finds out, and though his character should know how to defeat evil the tension between real vs. supernatural makes him less effective at combating evil than he would otherwise be.
Sadly, the film cannot be viewed as an embedded film on a non-Hulu site, but it can still be viewed at Hulu at the link provided. I don't think I like these "Crackle" hosted items on Hulu because they cannot be embedded.
Click on the link or the picture and have a good time.