1985’s Fright Night is one of the vampire genre’s classic romps, a film that broke some new ground at the time by removing vampires from the stuffy gothic castles to which they were accustomed and placing them into modern suburbia. There’s something inherently humorous about having a vampire as a neighbor, after all—particularly when his name is “Jerry.” And especially when he’s been flirting with your mother. The film has a prominent place on our list of the 100 best vampire movies of all time for a reason.
Pittsburgh-area residents, then, should have reason to celebrate this Halloween season, because Fright Night is coming to the stage near you, in the small borough of Carnegie, PA. The film has been adapted by playwright James Michael Shoberg as a stage show, based largely on the 1985 film original by Tom Holland—although it bears mentioning that the 2011 remake starring Anton Yelchin and Colin Farrell was also surprisingly solid. If you’ve never seen Fright Night, here’s your synopsis:
“FRIGHT NIGHT” tells the tale of Charley Brewster, “the boy who cried vampire.” Charley is an all-American teen and die-hard horror fan, who, upon witnessing the very strange and unsettling nightly activity of his reclusive new neighbor Jerry Dandrige, believes that Dandrige is one of the blood-sucking undead. Though he tries to convince his mother, his girlfriend, and his friend “Evil” Ed, no one will take him seriously given his taste for the macabre. They think it’s all just his imagination. This leaves Charley with little choice but to seek the aid of his childhood hero, a hammy B-movie vampire hunter by the name of Peter Vincent, whose perceived expertise Charley needs to defeat Dandrige and protect those he loves.
“Peter Vincent” is of course a dual reference to Vincent Price and Peter Cushing, the Van Helsin star of Hammer’s series of Dracula movies, which are peppered through the “best vampire movies” list above. That nomenclature is a pretty clear indicator of Fright Night’s particular sense of humor. The stage adaptation is brought to life by “The Rage of the Stage Players,” and includes Dan Finkel as Charley Brewster, Brian Ceponis as Jerry Dandridge, and Greg Crawford as Peter Vincent. As if it needs saying, the theater stresses that the play “contains mature content.” As horror geeks, we would certainly hope so.
Performances of this indie version of Fright Night run on Oct. 5, 6, 11-13, 18-20, and 25-27. Tickets will run you $25, and can be found online here. We’ll leave you with the original Fright Night trailer, which starred Jack Skellington himself, Chris Sarandon, as Jerry the Vampire.