Fright Night (1985) Ad Campaign is the promotional campaign that Columbia Pictures did to promote the film. A wide variety of posters, press kits, promotional photos, souvenir programs, magazine interviews and lobby cards exist.
- 1 Posters & Advertisements
- 2 Videos
- 3 Lobby Cards
- 4 Printed Media
- 5 Magazine Articles
- 6 References
Posters & Advertisements
As with any marketing campaign, a variety of concepts were tossed around before the iconic artwork was settled upon. In 2011, three low-res photos of rejected poster art found their way online. The first is a variation of the final version with the tagline All of Charley's worst nightmares just moved in next door. The second features Evil Ed and Amy cowering behind Charley in the silhouette of Jerry's monstrous hand. The third is a generic hand opening an ominous door bursting with light.
Posters Around the World
Worldwide, artwork by the B.D. Fox company adorned posters depicting a decrepit house with the face of a vampire looming in the clouds above it. The artist who rendered the painting is unknown.
In Japan, advertisements for the movie boasted the poster art along with cut-out stills from the film. Similarly, poster art from Pakistan, where the film was titled Night of Horror, also included altered artwork with cut-outs. Interestingly in this version, the skyline has been darkened to make the face in the clouds resemble an alien with a large cranium, and a monstrous right-hand (incorrectly) reaches out from the right side of the sky beside it. This is perhaps the most unique of all of Fright Night collectibles - as well as one of the most difficult pieces to obtain.
But unquestionably the single most unique theatrical poster hails from Ghana, Africa, and was hand-painted on a large flour bag. This poster, which hung outside the theatre in the village where it screened, features a variation of the face in the clouds looming above Peter Vincent, who's placing a cross on Evil Ed's forehead. The poster later wound up in the clutches of writer/director Tom Holland and can be seen below.
Special Screenings and Fan Posters
A variety of posters exist for special screenings, as well as posters created by various artists and fans. Some of them have been printed, others are in rampant digital circulation and have been used for custom DVD/Blu-Ray covers.
Columbia did the standard promotion campaign, with theatrical trailers and TV spots which played up the horror element of the film. The J. Geils Band filmed a music video for the title song, and the press was sent a reel of 7 clips from the film for use in reviews as well as longer 95 minute electronic press kit. Additionally, a lengthy clip from the climax of the film was featured in Now Comics' 1992 Comic Trade Show Marketing Video to promote the comic book tie-in.
Columbia also put together an EPK (or Electronic Press Kit). Running nearly 95 minutes (with some redundant clips), included are a wealth of rarely seen behind-the-scenes footage and interviews. A copy of this was included on the 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray, sourced from video and with a running time-code on screen. It's split into the following chapters:
- US Review Acclaim
- Music Video (English Titles)
- Music Video (Spanish Titles)
- The Making Of…… Fright Night Music Video
- Featurette: A Vampire For The 80’s (Roddy McDowall Intro)
- Featurette: A Vampire For The 80’s (Without Intro)
- Newswraps 1-4
- Richard Edlund Feature
- Open End Interviews: Tom Holland, Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, Roddy McDowall
- TV Scene Clips (7, see Press Reel)
In July 1985, Columbia Pictures publicity department sent a U-matic videotape containing 7 clips from the film (running roughly 10 minutes) to various American TV stations to be used for movie reviews and general promotion. Charley's name is spelled incorrectly on the label. Featured clips:
- "Tomorrow Night" (1:15)
- "I Believe in Vampires" (1:26)
- "I Love You Charlie" (1:29)
- "Give You a Hickey" (1:11)
- "Take My Hand" (1:12)
- "Welcome to Fright Night" (1:43)
- "Out of Time" (1:23)
J. Geils Band Music Video
To promote both the release of the film and the soundtrack album, the J. Geils Band produced a music video for the title song which utilized many clips from the film and received minor airplay on MTV. It was the last music video that the popular '80s group released before they disbanded. The best quality version was included on the DVD collection "Spooky Videos, Volume 2," which was released by Promo Only, a company which caters exclusively to professional D.J.'s and V.J.'s. In 2015, the video surfaced in a lower-quality VHS duped format (which includes a running time code on the screen) as part of the EPK on the 30th anniversary edition blu-ray. Also included with this version is a short featurette chronicling the making of the music video.
Lobby cards are cardboard cards adorned with photographs from movies which were intended to be hung in the lobbies of theatres. Several variations of cards for Fright Night exist around the world.
American Lobby Cards
German Lobby Cards
Although many of the images were the same, the German lobby cards featured some more horrifying images than the American set. Two sets were released, each including a card with the poster art logo and German text, one which heralded the film by proclaiming, "There are some damn good reasons to fear the dark!" and the other promised, "If you love fear, this is your movie!"
In the pre-internet era when the film was made, filmmakers had to rely on print reporters to get the word out about their films. Because Fright Night landed the FX team responsible for the then-current hit GhostBusters, special attention was paid to the production by periodicals like Fangoria Magazine and Cinefex. Thanks to endless interest in the film, there continue to be occasional retrospectives and interviews published.
A press kit is a packet of promotional information which is distributed to various media outlets. The press kit for Fright Night came in a white folder adorned with the logo in bold red letters and included photographs, production information, a dissection of vampires and biographies of principal cast and crew members. The press picked from this information to promote the film, the result of which is duplicate material that was published in countless newspapers and magazines.
In Japan, a 24 page souvenir program was issued featuring color and black and white stills from the film and Japanese text. Although collectible, the programs are fairly common and generally sell for $5-$10.
In Germany, a single-page program was issued featuring some black-and-white stills from the film. This is a little less common than the Japanese program - but also less desirable - so it sells in the same price range.
- American Cinematographer - October 1985
- Cinefantastique- October 1985 - Tom Holland, author of Psycho II, makes his directorial debut and revitalizes the vampire genre by Charlotte Wolter, p.7
- Cinefantastique- January 1986 - Randy Cook on the makeup effects of Fright Night/Review, p.38-39
- Cinefex- January 1986 (#25) - Fright Night by Jennifer Benidt and Janine Pourroy, pp 54-72
- Deadly #10 - August 2015 - Fright Night Special Issue by Heather Wixon - pp. 1-38
- Forrest J. Ackerman's Monsterland- August 1985 (#4) - Fright Night by Michael Mayo, pp. 34-39
- Forrest J. Ackerman's Monsterland- October 1985 (#5) - There Are Monsters Lurking in the Shadows Waiting for Roddy McDowall' by Michael Mayo, pp. 34-39
- Galactic Journal #21 - Making Fright Night
- Heavy Metal - September 1986 - Tom Holland Interview
- Monthly Film Bulletin- April 1986 - Review
- Movie Scene #9 - January 1986 - Fright Night review (cover)
- Rue Morgue - August 2011 (#114)
- Scarlet Street - Winter 1997 (#26) - "Fright Night: Going to Bed with the Beast Inside" (Stephen Geoffreys interview) pp 52-55
- Scarlet Street - Winter 1997 (#26) - "From Collies to Werewolves: Roddy McDowall" pp. 56-61
- Starburst #91 - March 1986 - "Fright Night Preview"
- Starlog- August 1985 (#97) - Fright Night Special Preview - pp. 38-39
- Starlog - December 1985 (#101) - Roddy McDowall, Occupation: Fearless Vampire Killer by Edward Gross - pp. 52-53, 71
- Starlog Japan #12 - December 1985 - Includes a pull-out poster and color pictorial.
- Video Watchdog #59 - 2000 - Review.
Fangoria magazine extensively covered the original film and included lesser coverage of the sequel and remakes.
- June 1985 (Issue #45) - Tom Holland on Fright Night by Abbie Bernstein, pp 20-24
- August 1985 (Issue #47) - On the Set: Fright Night by Abbie Bernstein, pp 32-35
- October 1985 (Issue #48) - Richard Edlund: A Conversation with the Boss of Boss by David Hutchison, pp 20-22
- November 1985 (Issue #49) - Fright Night Jerry Dandrige poster, centerfold
- November 1985 (Issue #49) - The Vampire Next Door: Chris Sarandon by Ed Gross, pp 10-12
- November 1985 (Issue #49) - A Vampire's Brew of Terror: FX by David Hutchison, pp 19-22
- January 1986 (Issue #50) - The Postal Zone, p. 7
- September 1988 (Issue #77) - Evil Ed: Gone for Good?, pp. 52-55
- September 2011 (Issue #306) - You're So Cool Brewster: William Ragsdale Looks Back by Brice McVicar, pp 35-36
- Famous Movie Poster Rejects You've Never Seen: Exclusive, Part 1
- Famous Movie Poster Rejects You've Never Seen: Exclusive, Part 2
- Now Comics Movies - 1992 Trade Show Marketing Video
- Fright Night 30th Anniversary Edition review - bluray.com
- Fright Night and the Challenge of Limited Edition
- eBay Auction - Umatic Press Reel Video
- Promo Only - Spooky Hits Volume 2
- eBay (archived) Fright Night Japanese Movie program
- eBay (archived) Fright Night Program from Japan