Fright Night is a 1985 American horror film written and directed by Tom Holland (in his directorial debut) and produced by Herb Jaffe. It stars Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Roddy McDowall, Amanda Bearse, Jonathan Stark, Dorothy Fielding, Stephen Geoffreys, and Art Evans. The film follows young Charley Brewster, who discovers that his next-door neighbor Jerry Dandrige is a vampire. When no one believes him, Charley decides to get Peter Vincent, a TV show host who acted in films as a vampire hunter, to stop Jerry's killing spree.
The film was released on August 2, 1985, and grossed $24.9 million at the box office. Since its release, it has received positive reviews from critics and has become a cult classic. Fright Night was followed by a sequel, Fright Night Part II, in 1988, and a remake in 2011, which was in turn followed by Fright Night 2: New Blood in 2013. In October 2020, Tom Holland confirmed that he was writing a direct sequel to the original film titled Fright Night: Resurrection that would bring back characters from the original film and would ignore the 1988 sequel.
Seventeen-year-old Charley Brewster is a fan of a horror television program called Fright Night, hosted by former movie vampire hunter Peter Vincent. One evening, Charley discovers that his new next-door neighbor Jerry Dandrige is a vampire responsible for the disappearances of several victims. After telling his mother, Charley asks his girlfriend, Amy Peterson, and his friend, "Evil Ed" Thompson, for help before contacting the authorities. Detective Lennox goes with Charley to Jerry's house to question him, but his "roommate" Billy Cole tells them that Jerry is "away on business". Charley reveals his suspicions about Jerry's vampirism, and Lennox leaves, furious. That night, Charley is shocked to see Jerry inside his house, having been invited in by Charley's mother. Later, Jerry visits Charley and offers him a choice: ignore his vampiric activities, or else. Charley refuses, brandishing a crucifix at Jerry. When Jerry tries to push him out the window to his death, Charley stabs Jerry's hand with a pencil. Jerry destroys Charley's car in retaliation and threatens Charley over the telephone.
Charley turns to Peter Vincent for help, but Peter dismisses Charley as an obsessed fan. Amy, fearing for Charley's sanity and safety, hires the destitute Peter to "prove" that Jerry is not a vampire by having him drink what they claim is "holy water", but it is only tap water; Jerry has claimed to Peter that drinking actual holy water would be against his religious convictions. Peter discovers Charley is right about Jerry's true nature after glancing at his pocket mirror and noticing Jerry's lack of a reflection, causing him to accidentally drop the mirror; Peter then flees, but Jerry learns of his discovery after finding a shard of mirrored glass on the floor.
Jerry hunts down Ed and turns him into a vampire, then Ed proceeds to visit Peter and tries to attack him, only to be warded off when burned by a crucifix to the forehead. Meanwhile, Jerry chases Charley and Amy into a nightclub. While Charley tries to call the police, Jerry hypnotizes and abducts Amy, who resembles Jerry's lost love, and bites her. With nowhere left to turn, Charley attempts to gain Peter's help once more. A frightened Peter initially refuses, but then reluctantly resumes his "vampire killer" role. Entering Jerry's house, the two are able to repel Jerry using a crucifix, though only Charley's works since he has faith in its spiritual power. Billy appears and knocks Charley over the banister, while Peter flees to Charley's house. There, he is surprised by Ed, who attacks him in the form of a wolf, only to be pierced through the heart with a broken table leg held by Peter. Removing the stake from Ed's body, Peter goes to rescue Charley and battle Jerry.
Charley is locked in with Amy, who is slowly transforming into a vampire. Peter frees him before she awakens, and says the process can be reversed if they destroy Jerry before dawn. Billy confronts Charley and Peter, and is revealed to be undead. They destroy Billy, who melts into goo and sand. Peter is able to lure the overconfident Jerry in front of a window using a crucifix, which now works due to his renewed faith in its abilities. As the sun rises, Jerry transforms into a bat and attacks Peter and Charley before fleeing to his coffin in the basement. Charley and Peter pursue Jerry; the latter breaks open Jerry's coffin and tries to stake him through the heart while Charley fights off Amy, who has almost completed her transformation. By breaking the blacked-out windows in the basement, Peter and Charley expose Jerry to the sunlight, destroying him and returning Amy to her human form.
A few nights later, Peter returns to his Fright Night TV series and announces a hiatus from vampires, presenting a film about alien invaders instead. Charley and Amy watch the program as they embrace in bed. Charley gets up to turn off the TV and glimpses red eyes in Jerry's now-vacant house, but dismisses them. Unbeknownst to both Charley and Amy, a new neighbor has just moved in.