Fright Night (1985) Blu-ray Review

You’re so cool, Brewster! 4.5 Stars

Fright Night has appeared on Blu-ray twice before, both released thru Twilight Time, and this third release, the first by its own studio, Sony Pictures (thru its MOD program), is virtually identical to the UK release in April 2017 by Eureka Entertainment.

Fright Night (1985)
Released: 02 Aug 1985
Rated: R
Runtime: 106 min
Director: Tom Holland
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Cast: Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, Roddy McDowall
Writer(s): Tom Holland
Plot: A teenager discovers that the newcomer in his neighborhood is a vampire, so he turns to an actor in a television horror show for help dealing with the undead.
IMDB rating: 7.1
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Sony
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, French 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, French
Rating: R
Run Time: 1 Hr. 46 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Case Type: Blu-ray keepcase
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: ABC
Release Date: 02/12/2019
MSRP: $24.99

The Production: 4/5

This is the third time I have reviewed Fright Night on Blu-ray for Home Theater Forum. My initial review of the movie (from 2012) is included below:

One evening, while making out with his girlfriend Amy (Amanda Bearse) and watching the late night creature feature series Fright Night on television, teenager Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) spots what he thinks is a coffin being loaded into the vacant house next door. The next day, he sees a prostitute exiting a taxi cab and entering the house next door. When the woman is found dead by police, Charley becomes suspicious, until that evening he sees his new neighbor, Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon), begin to transform into a vampire. This prompts Charley to contact the police, who laugh him off after questioning Dandridge’s roommate, Billy Cole (Jonathan Stark). Fearing for his life, Charley asks his friend, “Evil” Ed (Stephen Geoffreys), what he can do to protect himself from being attacked by a vampire. As a last ditch effort, he approaches the host of Fright Night, Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowell), seeking his protection. Peter Vincent is a former actor, best known for his Van Helsing-type roles in Hammer Studios-style vampire movies, many of which play regularly on Fright Night.

Tom Holland’s directorial debut is a genuinely fun horror film, filled with campy humor and wonderful performances, notably Chris Sarandon and Roddy McDowell. Sarandon is devilishly charming as the vampire next door, often delivering his lines with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. McDowell is also charming as the down and out actor that has been so typecast as a vampire killer that he must now assume that persona as his new career or risk being killed. William Ragsdale and Amanda Bearse show their comedic talents (both would later star in sitcoms on the FOX network) in these early roles, but the weak link in the cast is Stephen Geoffreys as “Evil” Ed, whose line delivery can be rather annoying, at least until his transformation into a slave vampire. The make-up and visual effects hold up fairly well for a film made 26 years ago, much to the credit of Richard Edlund (Ghostbusters).

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

This incarnation of Fright Night on Blu-ray makes use of the same transfer used on Eureka Entertainment’s Blu-ray release in 2017 in the UK, which was culled from a 4K transfer. There are some minor improvements over the previous Twilight Time releases, most notably an overall more stable picture. Colors are more stable, detail is slightly sharper, and contrast gets a small bump as well. It is all barely noticeable except for those with a discerning eye that also were lucky enough to have snagged one of the limited run Twilight Time releases.

Audio: 4/5

The disc contains essentially the same DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 stereo tracks as before. As I stated in my previous reviews, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is a faithful representation of the film’s original matrixed stereo surround soundtrack, but with increased fidelity and dynamic range. What was originally a front-heavy mix remains so, with limited use of surrounds and LFE. Dialogue is intelligible and clear, and Brad Fiedel’s synth score has never sounded better.

Special Features: 4.5/5

I guess the third time is the charm, as fans will feel like they’ve hit the mother load of special features with this release, which combines new material created for the UK’s Eureka Entertainment release with the fan-created ones included in the Twilight Time 30th Anniversary edition. Missing, sadly, is the isolated music-only track and collectible booklet from the previous Twilight Time releases plus the Stills Gallery from the 30th Anniversary edition.

Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Tom Holland and Actors Chris Sarandon and Jonathan Stark: Icons of Fright’s Tim Sullivan moderates this “vampires” commentary, with Holland, Sarandon, and Stark lovingly discussing the production.

Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Tom Holland, Actors William Ragsdale and Stephen Geoffreys, and FX Artist Randall Cook: Icons of Fright’s Tim Sullivan and Jeremy Smith moderate this “heroes” commentary, which is just as lively as the previous track, with all involved discussing the production with a lot of passion.

Fright Night Reunion Panel (480i; 54:32): Icons of Fright’s Rob Galluzzo moderates this reunion panel from 2008’s Fear Fest 2, featuring Tom Holland, Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Stephen Geoffreys, Amanda Bearse, Jonathan Stark, Tommy Lee Wallace, and Julie Carmen. The video appears to be someone’s home movie, shot with a single camera from the audience, using the camera’s built-in microphone.

**NEW** Tom Holland: Writing Horror (1080p; 8:51): Writer-Director Tom Holland and his cast and crew discuss the screenplay for Fright Night in a series of interviews recorded in 2016 as part of the feature-length documentary You’re So Cool, Brewster!

**New** What is “Fright Night?” (1080p; 10:39): Various members of the cast and crew discuss what made Fright Night unique and memorable in a series of interviews recorded in 2016 as part of the feature-length documentary You’re So Cool, Brewster!

**New** Roddy McDowall: From Apes to Bats (1080p; 20:50): The cast and crew discuss working with McDowall in a series of interviews recorded in 2016 as part of the feature-length documentary You’re So Cool, Brewster!

**New** You’re So Cool, Brewster! (1080p; 146:36): An in-depth feature-length documentary on the making of the movie Fright Night and its legacy.

Shock Till You Drop Presents Choice Cuts with Tom Holland and Ryan Turek (480i; 10:42, 6:52, 10:44): Shock Till You Drop’s Ryan Turek interviews Tom Holland at his home (broken down into three segments), discussing his earlier career as an actor, then as a writer (and his breakthrough script for Psycho II), directing Fright Night, and ends with a brief tour of Holland’s Fright Night memorabilia.

Vintage EPK (480i; 94:52): The entire electronic press kit, a few generations removed from the original source tape (along with tracking issues and visible time code), includes the J. Geils Band music video Fright Night (in both English and Spanish), on-set interviews with the cast and crew, and TV-safe clips from the movie.

Green-band Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 1:23)

Red-band Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 1:26)

Overall: 4.5/5

Fans of Fright Night will definitely want to get their hands on this edition, as it features a very enjoyable and in-depth documentary on the making of the film. The disc is currently sold-out at both Amazon and Best Buy, but be patient, as many of Sony’s more recent MOD releases have eventually become available again very shortly.

Published by

Todd Erwin

editor,member

29 Comments

  1. I have the UK release, which I haven’t watched yet. I saw all the extras on this set and checked out the back label on mine. Looks like it has most, but not all of the extras on this set. The UK set has the full length documentary and others, but apparently, not the two commentaries. Damn. I don’t really want to spend another $28 or so just for those. The same transfer is on both sets so I’ll settle for this one.

  2. Johnny Angell

    I have the UK release, which I haven’t watched yet. I saw all the extras on this set and checked out the back label on mine. Looks like it has most, but not all of the extras on this set. The UK set has the full length documentary and others, but apparently, not the two commentaries. Damn. I don’t really want to spend another $28 or so just for those. The same transfer is on both sets so I’ll settle for this one.

    The commentaries were produced by Icons of Fright back in 2011, independent of any disc release, and are still available for free download on their site in mp3 format.

  3. Chelsearicky

    I can no longer find it for sale anywhere, let alone rent! Does anyone know where this blu ray went?

    As I noted in my review:

    The disc is currently sold-out at both Amazon and Best Buy, but be patient, as many of Sony’s more recent MOD releases have eventually become available again very shortly.

  4. Chelsearicky

    I can no longer find it for sale anywhere, let alone rent! Does anyone know where this blu ray went?

    Like most of these MOD items, the 1st pressing sells out quickly and then usually there's a couple week wait for the next wave. Since they are pressed in small batches it seems they try to anticipate by the preorders how many to make for the 1st week sales and extremely often the item goes Backordered quickly. I would anticipate within the next 2 weeks it will return to most of the retail sites.

    A couple of the independent stores have it. Bullmoose has a few stores listing it in stock if you happen to be in (or know someone near), but no shipping. The same appears for Zia Records, but only a couple of stores list it in stock.

    This site seems like it may be the retail arm of Allied Vaughn and says it's in stock though full price. 1.99 1st item + 0.50 ea added in the US and it appears $2.99 International for the 1st item and $1 ea added item
    https://www.moviezyng.com/043396546332.aspx

    Listed in stock here, but my recollection is these guys often list OOS or even OOP items as available
    https://www.oldies.com/product-view/4338KD.html

    I

  5. David Norman

    Like most of these MOD items, the 1st pressing sells out quickly and then usually there's a couple week wait for the next wave. Since they are pressed in small batches it seems they try to anticipate by the preorders how many to make for the 1st week sales and extremely often the item goes Backordered quickly. I would anticipate within the next 2 weeks it will return to most of the retail sites.

    A couple of the independent stores have it. Bullmoose has a few stores listing it in stock if you happen to be in (or know someone near), but no shipping. The same appears for Zia Records, but only a couple of stores list it in stock.

    This site seems like it may be the retail arm of Allied Vaughn and says it's in stock though full price. 1.99 1st item + 0.50 ea added in the US and it appears $2.99 International for the 1st item and $1 ea added item
    https://www.moviezyng.com/043396546332.aspx

    Listed in stock here, but my recollection is these guys often list OOS or even OOP items as available
    https://www.oldies.com/product-view/4338KD.html

    I

    Thank you

  6. David Norman

    Like most of these MOD items, the 1st pressing sells out quickly and then usually there's a couple week wait for the next wave. Since they are pressed in small batches it seems they try to anticipate by the preorders how many to make for the 1st week sales and extremely often the item goes Backordered quickly. I would anticipate within the next 2 weeks it will return to most of the retail sites.

    A couple of the independent stores have it. Bullmoose has a few stores listing it in stock if you happen to be in (or know someone near), but no shipping. The same appears for Zia Records, but only a couple of stores list it in stock.

    This site seems like it may be the retail arm of Allied Vaughn and says it's in stock though full price. 1.99 1st item + 0.50 ea added in the US and it appears $2.99 International for the 1st item and $1 ea added item
    https://www.moviezyng.com/043396546332.aspx

    Listed in stock here, but my recollection is these guys often list OOS or even OOP items as available
    https://www.oldies.com/product-view/4338KD.html

    I

    Thank you

  7. I'm ever so curious why the people here who LOVE this movie weren't amongst the, I don't know, eight THOUSAND people who got the two pressings of the Twilight Time Blu-ray or even the UK version. I don't get it, frankly, but then there's so much that I don't get 🙂

  8. Plus many of the prior copies were purchased by speculating resellers, many of whom then charged exhorbitent prices that some fans likely did not want to pay, or were not able to.

    But, yes, it's always been a popular catalog title and I'm amazed that Sony never put it out on blu-ray themselves before now.

    Now if we can get the 1988 sequel at some point. One would think given the popularity of the original film, someone would be interested in releasing the sequel in a decent home video edition. To date, I believe its only domestic releases were on a low-quality EP VHS tape, and a full-screen DVD that was practically of unwatchable quality.

  9. haineshisway

    I'm ever so curious why the people here who LOVE this movie weren't amongst the, I don't know, eight THOUSAND people who got the two pressings of the Twilight Time Blu-ray or even the UK version. I don't get it, frankly, but then there's so much that I don't get 🙂

    I would have but they sold out so fast I wasn't able to get one in time. So I'm happy this is being released again.

  10. Randy Korstick

    I would have but they sold out so fast I wasn't able to get one in time. So I'm happy this is being released again.

    Of course there's been the cheaper Region Free Eureka version available for nearly 3 years — most people at least equivalent, many if not the majority think is better encoded. the biggest different b/w the 2nd TT and the UK is the supplements depending whether you prefer commentaries vs the longer documentary.

    Regardless there are now multiple versions available for now — $14 for the UK, $24 is about the best for the Sony for now though it will eventually be $12-14 during certain sales like all the Allied Vaughn MOD blurays though I suspect like most of the MOD the sales will be uncommon and drive people to pull their hair out waiting for one.

  11. Is the “You’re So Cool Brewster” documentary the full-length one from the Kickstarter campaign or the one cut in half for the Eureka version that doesn’t include mention of FRIGHT NIGHT PART 2?

  12. dpippel

    Er, perhaps because there are more than 8,000 people who love this movie? Just a suggestion. 😉

    Er, as someone else pointed out, it's been available in a region-free reasonably priced disc for three years from the UK (and I believe available in other countries, too). Just always intrigued that when a title is released in this fashion here people show up saying the LOVE the movie and act as if it's its first release 🙂

  13. There seems to be an aversion to ordering internationally on the part of some, for whatever reason. Also, I think people just aren't aware that certain titles are out. It surprises me that even on this forum there are often requests for titles that are already available.

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