Fright Night (1985) UHD Steelbook Review

4 Stars Packed with special features
Fright Night 1985 Screenshot

Tom Holland’s cult favorite Fright Night makes its UHD debut in this three-disc set from Sony Pictures Home 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: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 2.0 DD, French 5.1 DTS, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: R
Run Time: 1 Hr. 46 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: 3-disc SteelBook
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 10/04/2022
MSRP: $38.99

The Production: 4/5

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 37 years ago, much to the credit of Richard Edlund (Ghostbusters).

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

Fright Night was photographed and completed on 35mm film stock. Sony has scanned the original camera negative to create a new 4K digital intermediate, and the 2160p HEVC-encoded transfer featured on this release includes both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. The first thing one will notice on this release is the improved contrast, resulting in darker blacks, and a more perceived depth in the image than on the previous domestic Blu-ray releases. Colors are a bit more robust, and overall fine detail is also improved slightly. The include Blu-ray version has been sourced from this new 4K scan.

Audio: 4.5/5

The default Dolby Atmos track is a delight, and builds on the already very good 5.1 mix (repurposed once again in DTS-HD MA). The track has a slightly more immersive feel to it, with sounds placed with more pinpoint accuracy. LFE is also a bit stronger on the Atmos track. Dialogue is clear and understandable. In addition to the 5.1 mix, the original stereo mix is also available in DTS-HD MA.

Special Features: 4.5/5

It seems that with each new release of this film, more and more new (or newly unearthed) special features are included. This new UHD release comes housed in an attractive steelbook that replicates the film’s original artwork (yay!) and a total of three discs inside – a movie-only UHD, a movie plus special features Blu-ray, and a third special features Blu-ray.

Movie + Special Features Blu-ray
**NEW** Deleted Scene Storyboards (1080p; 7:52): Writer-Director Tom Holland introduces the storyboards to a deleted scene that was deemed too expensive to shoot.

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

What is “Fright Night?” (1080p; 10:37): 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!

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.

Tom Holland: Writing Horror (1080p; 8:49): 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** Holland/Beyda Spec Trailer (1080p; 2:32): Writer-Director Tom Holland introduces a trailer that he and editor Kent Beyda had pitched to the studio.

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

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

Special Features Blu-ray
**NEW** Fright Night 35th Anniversary Script Read (1080p; 157:01): Many of the cast members, along with special guests Mark Hamill, Rosario Dawson, and Jason Patric conduct a script reading over Zoom, followed by a fan e-mail Q & A.

**NEW** The Queer Lens: Bryan Fuller in Conversation with Amanda Bearse (1080p; 42:48): The two discuss the undertones of the film.

**NEW** A Novel Approach: The Splatterpunk Story of the “Fright Night” Novelization (1080p; 8:10): Tom Holland, novelists John Skipp and Craig Spector, and publisher Mark Allan Miller discuss the novelization craze of the late 1970s and mid 1980s and how the novel came to be.

Roddy McDowall: From Apes to Bats (1080p; 20:48): 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!

Tom Holland and Amanda Bearse Talk “Fright Night” (upscaled 1080i; 29:27): The two reflect on their experiences making the movie.

Round Table with Tom, Stephen and William (upscaled 1080i; 16:33): Tom Holland, Stephen Geoffreys, and William Ragsdale reflect on their experiences making the movie.

Shock Till You Drop Presents Choice Cuts with Tom Holland and Ryan Turek (upscaled 1080i; 27:43): 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.

Fright Night Reunion Panel (upscaled 1080i; 54:34): 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.

Weekend of Hell Panel with Amanda and Stephen (upscaled 1080i; 12:52): Another fan’s home movie taken at the 2015 Weekend of Hell convention in Germany.

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.

**NEW** SFX Storyboard Comparisons (1080p; 10:14): Four sequences are featured – Evil Ed Impaled, The Final Death of Billy Cole, Bat Attack and Dandridge’s Demise.

Photo Galleries (1080p; 5:47)

Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy in UHD on Movies Anywhere.

Overall: 4.5/5

Fans of Fright Night will definitely want to pick this one up, even if they have not upgraded to UHD yet, as the abundance and quality of the special features are enough to highly recommend.

Todd Erwin has been a reviewer at Home Theater Forum since 2008. His love of movies began as a young child, first showing Super 8 movies in his backyard during the summer to friends and neighbors at age 10. He also received his first movie camera that year, a hand-crank Wollensak 8mm with three fixed lenses. In 1980, he graduated to "talkies" with his award-winning short The Ape-Man, followed by the cult favorite The Adventures of Terrific Man two years later. Other films include Myth or Fact: The Talbert Terror and Warren's Revenge (which is currently being restored). In addition to movie reviews, Todd has written many articles for Home Theater Forum centering mostly on streaming as well as an occasional hardware review, is the host of his own video podcast Streaming News & Views on YouTube and is a frequent guest on the Home Theater United podcast.

Post Disclaimer

Some of our content may contain marketing links, which means we will receive a commission for purchases made via those links. In our editorial content, these affiliate links appear automatically, and our editorial teams are not influenced by our affiliate partnerships. We work with several providers (currently Skimlinks and Amazon) to manage our affiliate relationships. You can find out more about their services by visiting their sites.

Share this post:

View thread (13 replies)
Please support HTF by using one of these affiliate links when considering a purchase.

Malcolm R

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2002
Messages
25,301
Real Name
Malcolm
Glad Sony has finally shown some love to this title which was always largely ignored by the studio until recently. The first blu-ray editions were issued by Twilight Time, and I think it must have been their biggest seller, or close to it, as it almost immediately sold out limited edition runs of 3,000 then a re-release of 5,000. I have the second TT release which looked pretty good, but have made this UHD title one of the few discs I've ever pre-ordered, which hopefully will arrive by this weekend.

Glad to hear the film/disc looks good. I usually wait for reviews, but given the way a couple other recent genre titles have sold out quickly I decided to pre-order this one as it's one of my favorite vampire films.
 

Konstantinos

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
2,826
Real Name
Konstantinos
I have the second TT release which looked pretty good, but have made this UHD title one of the few discs I've ever pre-ordered
I also have the second TT release but I'm waiting for caps-a-holic comparisons to see if it is worth it to upgrade to 4K.
I can't upgrade everything. And to tell you the truth, I have a problem selling my old blurays.
 

Todd Erwin

Reviewer
HW Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
10,498
Location
Hawthorne, NV
Real Name
Todd Erwin
This is the fourth time I have reviewed this title on disc (TT, TT re-issue, Sony BD, and now Sony UHD). The Sony UHD, from what I've been able to research, ports nearly everything from the 2017 Eureka import, plus several new items.
 

Konstantinos

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
2,826
Real Name
Konstantinos
This is the fourth time I have reviewed this title on disc (TT, TT re-issue, Sony BD, and now Sony UHD). The Sony UHD, from what I've been able to research, ports nearly everything from the 2017 Eureka import, plus several new items.
Pity it hasn't kept the isolated score though from the TT release.
The main reason I'm keeping my TT is for this, as I'm a musicologist/composer and it might prove handy someday.
 

Noel Aguirre

Supporter
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Messages
1,591
Location
New York City
Real Name
noel
Looking forward to this one. Haven’t seen it since it’s original release.
It’s been a great 2 weeks w all these 80’s fright classics being released finally.
 

JimJasper

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 21, 2004
Messages
303
Location
Oregon
Real Name
Jim
The tragedy was Ragsdale screaming all his lines 93.294% of the time as lead Charlie, although Ragsdale was otherwise well cast. ←Charlie Sheen tried for the role of lead "Charlie," but the director Tom Holland said Sheen was "too handsome." Interesting.

There are 2 scenes I'm curious about:
* one when we are POV as Jerry coming off a roof as a bat and landing on the ground that had a lot of black crush in that scene (wind whipping yard bushes etc) - wondering if that got substantially improved w/ this new transfer.
* Two, the best audio moment is 1/2 way through after Evil Ed gets taken, and Charlie & Amy are walking down the street and a transformer goes out and whirls around the room - would be fun to hear that in D Atmos. Excited to see this again with the improved transfer.


fright night horror GIF by absurdnoise
 

ScottJH

Screenwriter
Joined
Mar 27, 2001
Messages
1,038
Real Name
Scott
I also have the second TT release but I'm waiting for caps-a-holic comparisons to see if it is worth it to upgrade to 4K.
I can't upgrade everything. And to tell you the truth, I have a problem selling my old blurays.
My copy arrived over the weekend and I feel the 1080p disc included with the steelbook is a step up PQ wise over the Eureka disc. Not sure how the Eureka compares to either TT release though. Listened to the 2.0 track and there were some cracks & pops but nowhere near as bad as the Real Genuis 2.0 track.
 

Konstantinos

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
2,826
Real Name
Konstantinos
Listened to the 2.0 track and there were some cracks & pops but nowhere near as bad as the Real Genuis 2.0 track.
Does anyone remember if the 2.0 track in the TT release has cracks and pops?
I think I had always watched it with the 5.1 track.
 

Todd Erwin

Reviewer
HW Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
10,498
Location
Hawthorne, NV
Real Name
Todd Erwin
None of the prior releases had this issue with the stereo 2.0 track.

EDIT: I just double-checked the stereo track on this recent release of Fright Night and found no issues.
 
Last edited:

Konstantinos

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
2,826
Real Name
Konstantinos
EDIT: I just double-checked the stereo track on this recent release of Fright Night and found no issues.
On the UHD?
Strange.
By the way another one reports this:
Hold Up wait a Minute. I found a Flaw
icon_surprised.gif
At the 1:38hr mark. When Vincent throws the pot at the window "there is No Sound of the Glass Breaking"
icon_surprised.gif
But after that u hear sound every time the glass is broken. Slight oversight but still Good....
rock.gif
U do hear the glass break on the Blu Though...

Also:
One of the songs in the Nightclub scene has the vocals missing from a song so it just plays the music (like a karaoke version) on the atoms track.

The vocals are their on the 5.1 and 2.0 tracks.
 

Todd Erwin

Reviewer
HW Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
10,498
Location
Hawthorne, NV
Real Name
Todd Erwin
On the UHD?
Strange.
By the way another one reports this:


Also:

In both instances, on the Atmos track, those "missing" sounds are there, just not as pronounced as they are on the 5.1 and 2.0 tracks.
 

ScottJH

Screenwriter
Joined
Mar 27, 2001
Messages
1,038
Real Name
Scott
Here's some time stamps for audio cracks & pops 9:29, 17:53, 23:36, 24:18. Happens on both the 1080p & 4k 2.0 track. Replicated it on 2 different setups.
 

Todd Erwin

Reviewer
HW Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
10,498
Location
Hawthorne, NV
Real Name
Todd Erwin
Here's some time stamps for audio cracks & pops 9:29, 17:53, 23:36, 24:18. Happens on both the 1080p & 4k 2.0 track. Replicated it on 2 different setups.
I checked those time stamps one last time and found nothing worth noting.
 
Most Popular
Available for Amazon Prime