I cannot stress this enough: I love 80's teen vampire movies. Yes, they are cheesy as can be, but what's life without a little humor? Who says horror has to take itself seriously? In fact, I argue that horror should not take itself seriously because there is a very fine line between horror and comedy, and to walk this line is to make a truly fine horror story. When you take the emotion and the humanity out of fear, it becomes despair. There are so many modern horror films that take out the real challenge, because the main characters have no escape, they aren't being punished for past deeds, they just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Everyone loves to be frightened (admit it), but when you can't relate to a story or its characters, what's the fun in that? Where's the real, true fear?
Maybe I included this little comparison in the wrong review, because Fright Night is absolutely not frightening. At all. But it does contain quite a bit of comedy, some of it intentional. The 80's were such a carefree time for horror, because it wasn't all about amazing special effects. (Hell, it couldn't be, they didn't have them.) So they used what they had: Roddy McDowall, a puppet left over from Ghostbusters, and a great send-up of the classic Hammer films and Vincent Price. The best thing about this movie is its heart, the way it shows the nerdy outcast main character Charley Brewster as a sort of hero, but also kind of an idiot. The way it showcases a powder-wigged Roddy McDowall as a lovable, yet selfish failing horror actor. And the way it tries to make you believe (it was a good try, too) that Chris Sarandon is a sexy vampire.
You might be getting the wrong impression of me with this review, so let me clear up a few things. I'm sure when you think of horror fans, especially vampire fans, you think of some greasy haired goth girl who wants to be a vampire and makes up a silly name for herself and writes on fanfiction.net and keeps a blog (okay, so I do keep a blog, but still...), and says big words to confuse people. But I'm not like that at all! Actually, I'm fairly normal for having been raised on such inappropriate movies. I never had any problems in school, no nightmares, I have friends, I have a boyfriend, etc. I just happen to have a little side interest that involves gore, blood, and the smell of fear.
While Fright Night is not the king of the 80's teen vampire flick (that honor goes to The Lost Boys, if only for the Coreys and the best ending line I've heard in a long time), it is an essential part of a horror fan's collection, because it showcases what a horror film should strive for (but in much smaller doses): emotion, humor, intelligence, and heart.