Written and directed by Tom Holland, “Fright Night” was a surprise late summer hit for Columbia Pictures in 1985.
In the original movie, the vampire, Jerry Dandridge was played by Chris Sarandon. Our hero, Charley Brewster, was played by William Ragsdale. His girlfriend was Amy Peterson as played by Amanda Bearse.
The vampire expert, Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall), was the host of a TV time slot that featured horror movies–something like Elvira, but less sexy. Peter is hired by Amy to prove to Charley that Jerry isn’t a vampire, but Peter discovers that Jerry doesn’t cast a reflection in a mirror and runs.
Jerry knows that Peter and Charley have discovered his secret and finds Charley’s friend Ed (Stephen Geoffreys) and turns him into a vampire and he also kidnaps Amy. In this case, it’s not out of revenge, but because she resembles his lost love.
A desperate Charley goes to Peter and the two fight off the vampires.
Chris Sarandon, now 69, when on to star in other classic movies such as the 1987 “The Princess Bride” as the evil Prince Humperdinck. He was the voice of Jack Skellington in the 1993 “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (as well as the 2002 “Kingdom Hearts” and the 2005 “Oogie’s Revenge” ). He also had a recurring role in the TV series “ER.”
Sarandon had a cameo in the new “Fright Night.” His character is named Jay Dee (for Jerry Danridge) and he finds driving in the desert after dark more dangerous than he thought.
William Ragsdale is now 50 and is currently in the TV series “Justified.” The series is about law and order in a poor, rural area of Kentucky.
Between 2000-2003, he was the recurring character Charles Duff in the TV series “Judging Amy.” He played Ellen’s boyfriend in four episodes of “Ellen” (1994-1997). He played Porter Waide, a single father raising a son, in the TV series “Brother’s Keeper.”
Ragsdale was the lead character in “Herman’s Head,” Herman Brooks from 1991-1994.
Amanda Bearse is now 53 and is probably best known for her role in the sitcom “Married with Children” from 1987-1997. She was cast as the demanding neighbor, Marcy Rhoades who later became Marcy D’Arcy.
Bearse also directed episodes of various TV shows including “Reba,” “Mad TV,” “Dharma & Greg,” “Veronica’s Closet” and “Jesse.”
Bearse, is openly lesbian and married Carrie Schenken in 2010.
Roddy McDowall passed away in 1998 at the age of 70. Born in London, he died in Los Angeles. As a child actor he appeared in the 1941 “How Green Was My Valley,” and the 1943 “Lassie Come Home” with Elizabeth Taylor, the 1943 “My Friend Flicka,” the 1944 “The Keys of the Kingdom” and the 1944 “The White Cliffs of Dover.”
In the 1960s, he was part of the camp classic TV series, “Batman” playing the villain the Bookworm. McDowall later starred as the scientist chimpanzee Cornelius (and his son Caesar) in the original “Planet of the Apes” movie series from 1968-1973 and the 1974 short-lived TV series. He appeared in the 1963 “Cleopatra” and the 1972 “Poseidon Adventure.”
McDowall provide the voice of Mr. Soil for the 1998 feature film “A Bug’s Life” and the voice of Dr. Hugh Trevor in the 1999 “Godzilla: The Series” on TV. He was also the voice for Snowball in the “Pinky and the Brain” TV series.
McDowall won a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor of his role in “Fright Night.” He had previously been nominated in 1983 in the same category. He won a 1961 Emmy for Outstanding performance in a supporting role in a single program for the “Sunday Showcase” episode “Our American Heritage: Not Without Honor.”
Stephen Geoffreys is now 46. Unlike Ragsdale and McDowall, he declined to appear in the sequel. Prior to “Fright Night” he was nominated for a Tony Award (1984) for Best Actor for his role in “The Human Comedy.” His other credits include the 1985 “Heaven Help Us,” the 1985 “Fraternity Vacation” and the 1988 “976-EVIL.” According to both IMDB and Wikipedia, he acted in gay hardcore porn movies during the 1990s.
The sequel’s premise is that the Charley believes the vampires weren’t real.