Fright Night star Chris Sarandon nearly turned the film down based on the title alone

Chris Sarandon, who plays vampire Jerry Dandridge in Fright Night, nearly passed on the film as soon as he saw the title

A couple months ago, and thirty-nine years after they made the vampire classic Fright Night (watch it HERE) together, several members of the film’s cast reunited with writer/director Tom Holland (and were joined by special guests Mark Hamill and Rosario Dawson) for a live reading of the script that will be released as episodes of the podcast Table Read – and in fact, the first part of that reading has already been released. You can find it by clicking over to the Table Read website. A member of the staff was in attendance at the live reading, and had the chance to talk to Holland and Chris Sarandon, who played the vampire Jerry Dandridge in the film. During the conversation, Sarandon mentioned that he almost passed on Fright Night as soon as he saw the title!

Holland told that working on Fright Night was “the best experience I’ve ever had directing a film. I mean, none of them were as easy as this was, and that’s because of a whole bunch of wonderful things coming together, and I was too inexperienced to know it. See, I had Richard Edlund doing the effects, and it was the whole Ghostbusters crew that literally Columbia wanted to keep employed because they thought they were going to do a sequel to Ghostbusters right away. And of course, it was years later, so they held Richard Edlund, Steve Johnson, Randy Cook, I mean, brilliant in-camera effects guys. (The studio) thought the film wasn’t going to do any business. But they had a place on their schedule for a little film. So they gave me that idea, $9 million, and they didn’t bother me because there were no stars in it. There was not a lot of money riding on it. They didn’t expect anything. The film of the time that everybody was looking at, I think it was called Perfect with John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis. So they didn’t even think about me, and so I had no interference. They pushed me towards the very end to cut when Jerry Dandrige was on the roof and slams the chimney with his elbow. But outside of that, I got everything that I wanted. So nobody pushed me about casting … So it was an extraordinarily wonderful experience … The more money goes into a film, the more they put the executives on the set, and the more you get pressure and interference.

Sarandon said, “We did this movie at a time when the vampire movie genre was sort of in ill repute. And it had a wonderful kind of salutatory effect on the genre and also on the return of fans who love these movies … The first time I read it, it was the sample script, and I looked at the title and I said, ‘No, I can’t do a movie called Fright Night. I’m a serious actor.’ As soon as I started reading it, I went, ‘Oh my God, this is great. This is really well done, well written. I have to meet this guy, Tom.’ I flew out to California and he and I sat and talked for a couple of hours, and as soon as we finished talking, and he literally described every shot to me, he said, ‘Okay, here’s how I’m going to shoot you.’ And then he went, ‘This is the opening and this is happening and this, and I’m coming in close on this.’ … And when he finished, I said, ‘Jesus, this is a first-time director?’ He’s a cinephile and had a history of having written a number of movies and I just thought, ‘I got to work with this guy.’ It’s been a love affair ever since.

To read more of what Holland and Sarandon had to say, click over to

Fright Night has the following synopsis: Teenage Charley Brewster is a horror-film junkie, so it’s no surprise that, when a reclusive new neighbor named Jerry Dandridge moves next-door, Brewster becomes convinced he is a vampire. It’s also no surprise when nobody believes him. However, after strange events begin to occur, Charlie has no choice but to turn to the only person who could possibly help: washed-up television vampire killer Peter Vincent.

Are you a fan of Fright Night, and are you glad that Chris Sarandon didn’t pass on the film after all? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Originally published at



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