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.
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).
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.
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)
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.
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