Tom Holland perfectly blends horror and comedy in this popular, well-made send-up of the old "Chiller Theater"-style horror shows that could be found on late-night television in the 1960s and '70s. Holland's screenplay doesn't try to be fancy. Instead, he concocts the simple, suspenseful story of a teen who discovers an awful secret -- that his next-door neighbor is a vampire -- and then lets his actors take care of the rest. William Ragsdale does an excellent job playing the frazzled teen protagonist, while Chris Sarandon takes full advantage of his role as the ultra-evil blood-sucker. Amanda Bearse and Stephen Geoffreys also turn in solid supporting turns as Ragsdale's girlfriend and best friend, respectively, but it is Roddy McDowall who steals the show. Playing the part of aging horror host Peter Vincent (named for Peter Cushing and Vincent Price) who comes to Ragsdale's rescue, McDowall really seems to enjoy himself in the meaty role whether he's pretending to be the "great vampire killer" of his character's movie roles or just plain running scared from Sarandon's nasty vampire. From a technical perspective, Fright Night maintains a chilling, uneasy atmosphere thanks to the great haunted-house setting of the vampire's lair in which the bulk of the film's scariest scenes occur. The special makeup effects by Richard Edlund are well-done with particular acclaim reserved for the fantastic slaying of the vampire's day-walking helper (played by Jonathan Stark). Even the effects-filled finale doesn't come close to this incredible sequence. Bearse's vampire look is outlandish, but disturbing thanks to its clownish mouth full of teeth. The costumes, makeup, and soundtrack date this film a bit to its 1980s roots, as they are heavily influenced by the styles and sounds of the decade. The J. Geils Band performs the title track. McDowall and Ragsdale reprised their roles in the 1989 sequel Fright Night Part II.