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Fright Night Vs. The Lost Boys: Which Is The Better '80s Vampire Movie?

Fright Night on the left, The Lost Boys on the right
(Image credit: Columbia Pictures/Warner Bros.)

With the recent passing of Anne Rice, I’ve been on a bit of a vampire kick lately. Of course I watched Interview with the Vampire again, as well as the underrated Queen of the Damned, starring Aaliyah. But, once I got those two out of my system, I wondered what I would watch next. Sure, I could have gone with the old Universal Dracula movies, or the Hammer Dracula films, but I’ve also been in an ‘80s mood lately for some reason, so I chose Fright Night and The Lost Boys instead. Those are, after all, the quintessential ‘80s vampire movies.

But, here’s the thing. I’ve never watched them back-to-back before, so I hadn't really compared them. Fright Night got an unfortunate remake, and The Lost Boys, which will unfortunately be getting a remake, are totally different movies, but also similar in the way that they both concern teenage males fighting vampires. Both of them are really awesome at what they do, but which ‘80s vampire movie does it better? Well, you’re about to find out.

Oh, and some spoilers up ahead for some pretty ancient movies.

Corey Felman Corey Haim Jamison Newlander

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The Characters

Both vampire flicks have some memorable characters, but which film has the more memorable ones?

Fright Night’s Characters

Starring Chris Sarandon, Roddy McDowall, Amanda Bearse, and William Ragsdale, Fright Night actually doesn’t have all that many characters to carry its story along. William Ragsdale plays the young vampire slayer, and Amanda Bearse, who would later become “Marcy D’Arcy” on Married…with Children, plays his girlfriend. They’re fine, but the really interesting characters are played by Roddy McDowall, as an actor who used to play a vampire slayer, and Chris Sarandon, who plays the chief vampire. Their interaction is definitely the highlight of the movie. But, otherwise, well, there’s not much else to say.

The Lost Boys’ Characters

The Lost Boys is interesting since the vampires are kind of the main attraction here. You of course have Kiefer Sutherland as a chief vampire, as well as a few other vamps, one of which being William Stanley Preston, Esq himself, played by Alex Winter. But, you also have the two Coreys in it, one as a young vampire slayer (Feldman), and Haim as the kid who wants to rescue his brother-cum-vampire. So, yeah. There’s a bit more star power in this one. Plus, you have the suggestive sax man at the concert, which is a gif all in itself.

Which Movie’s Characters Are Better? The Lost Boys

Though I really love Roddy McDowall as the former movie star, Peter Vincent, I have to give it to The Lost Boys for having the two Coreys in it. You can’t get much more ‘80s than that.

william ragsdale Roddy McDowall on the right with a gun fright night

(Image credit: Columbia Pictures)

The Plot

Every movie needs a story, but which film has the better one?

Fright Night’s Plot

Fright Night’s story is pretty simple, but effective. A teenager who loves horror flicks notices that a vampire moves next door, and he enlists the help of a actor who played a vampire hunter to kill him. Pretty straightforward, but fun!

The Lost Boys’ Plot

Okay, so, it’s not like The Lost Boys’ plot is confusing, but it seems a little scattershot. We have Michael (played by Jason Patric) who becomes a vampire one night, but doesn’t want to be any longer. We have his younger brother, Sam (Corey Haim), who tries to help him, but then we also have the Frog brothers, Edgar and Alan, played by Feldman and Jamison Newlander, respectively, as young vampire hunters. Then we have a side story with a child and a woman who also no longer want to be vampires, and it’s just a lot. Most of it feeling unnecessary.

Which Movie’s Plot Is Better? Fright Night

Fright Night is straightforward and funny, which is exactly what I want in my horror comedies.

Chris Sarandon as a vampire fright night

(Image credit: Columbia Pictures)

Scariness

Scariness is, of course, purely subjective, but a vampire movie should at least be a little scary, right? So, which one is the scarier vampire flick?

Fright Night’s scares

Fright Night is a comedy at its heart, but it’s also kind of scary. There really aren’t all that many vampires, but when they’re destroyed, they melt in really gooey and gross ways, becoming eerie skeletons. Plus, the female vampire’s face at the end, with her extended mouth, is truly nightmare fuel.

The Lost Boys' scares

It’s strange, but The Lost Boys is somehow also more of a comedy than a horror movie. Kiefer Sutherland is just naturally scary and intimidating, and there’s a scene where the vampires reveal themselves and kill a whole bunch of people, but none of it is going to make you lose any sleep at night.

Which Movie Has Better Scares? Fright Night

Fright Night is pretty funny, but that female vampire still gives me the willies.

The Sax Man the lost boys

(Image credit: Warner Bros. )

Relevance

Both films have a legacy, but which film has a longer one?

Fright Night’s Relevance

Fright Night has always been sort of a cult movie, even back when it debuted in 1985. Yes, there is a certain community of horror fans who know about it and love it, but it’s never really been a mainstream movie. It’s the kind of flick you compare against something like The Lost Boys. You’ll rarely find The Lost Boys fans comparing it to Fright Night, however, if that makes any sense.

The Lost Boys’ Relevance

People STILL talk about The Lost Boys, and I’m not entirely sure why. Yes, I love the movie, but it kind of transcends horror, as it’s often in the discussion of best ‘80s movies, period. Again, I’m not entirely sure why, but it’s likely because of the two Coreys, as this movie always gets clumped into that category.

Which film is more relevant? The Lost Boys

Look, I know somebody who used the sax man’s gif from The Lost Boys just today, so the film is still alive and well. Fright Night, not so much.

A scary vampire fright night

(Image credit: Columbia Pictures)

Best Vampires

What would a vampire movie be without its vampires? But, which ‘80s vampire flick has the best ones?

Fright Night’s Vampires

There really aren’t a lot of vampires in Fright Night at all, as there are actually only three (I’m not really sure what the head vampire’s manservant is supposed to be, as he can walk around during the daytime). What’s cool, though, is that the vampires actually transform. One turns into a bat, and another turns into a dog, and both are pretty wicked. Plus, again, that female vampire is terrifying!

The Lost Boys’ Vampires

There are a lot more vampires in The Lost Boys, but none of them are really all that interesting. There is the mystery of just who the head vampire might be, and some gotcha moments, but none of them are that cool. I do like that they are attacked while they’re resting, though, and how pissed Sutherland's vampire gets when one of his own is slayed.

Which film has the best vampires? Fright Night

This one was a really tough one, as it was essentially down to Kiefer Sutherland vs. Chris Sarandon, but I really love Sarandon’s coolness, and also his ability to ham it up. And, again, I will never stop saying this, but THE FEMALE VAMPIRE AT THE END OF FRIGHT NIGHT SCARES THE HELL OUT OF ME.

Fright Night Vs. The Lost Boys: Which ‘80s Vampire Movie Wins?

I know many will disagree with me since The Lost Boys is far and away the more popular vampire flick, but when it comes to which one hits me harder, Fright Night gets the W (Or, the double V for vampire, if you prefer). Are we in agreement that Fright Night sucks…more blood? 

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Rich Knight

Lover of Avatar (The Last Airbender, not the blue people), video games, and anything 90s, he will talk your ear off about Godzilla, so don't get him started.