May 7, 2018

Fright Night

In the summer of 1985, I was too busy exploring my new home, West Hollywood, to bother much with movies, so I missed a lot: The Goonies, D.A.R.Y.L., Back to the Future (with Michael J. Fox), Explorers (with River Phoenix), The Heavenly Kid (with Jason Gedrick), Weird Science, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.  In fact, I only saw one movie in a theater that summer: Fright Night, about a vampire who moves in next door.  It had one of the most profound homoerotic subtexts of the 1980s, second only to Hell Night.

I didn't notice any significant homoerotic interaction between fresh-faced young horror movie buff Charley (William Ragsdale, left) and his Peter Lorre-like friend, Evil Eddie (Stephen Geoffreys, right), unless one counts an obsession with criticizing the size of each others' penises.  Nor is the vampire, Jerry (Chris Sarendon) explicitly gay; he bites lots of women, and tries to transform Amanda Bearse (center, of Married...with Children).  

But when Jerry decides to bite Eddie, he seems to intuit the boy's implicit gayness and couches the invitation in undeniably homoerotic terms: "You don't have to be afraid of me.  I know what it's like to be different.  They won't pick on you anymore, or beat you up -- I'll see to that.  All you have to do is take my hand."

Sobbing, obviously thinking that he has found a boyfriend, Eddie throws himself against Jerry's chest.  But instead of a kiss, he gets bitten (a clear parallel with Barnabas and Willie of Dark Shadows).

Later, a vampire himself, Eddie tries to bite the gay-vague host of a tv horror movie series (played by gay actor Roddy McDowell).  He is staked instead, and transforms from vampire to an amazingly muscular nude teenager.

Stephen Geoffries starred in 976-Evil (1988), The Road Raiders (1989), and a handful of other mainstream movies, and was nominated for a Tony for William Saroyan's Human Comedy on Broadway.  During the 1990s, he put his physique to work in gay porn under the name Sam Ritter: Virtual Stud (1995), Hunk Hotel (1996), Buff and Gay (1997).


  1. I've seen some of them. Hard to believe it's the same person.

  2. One more "gay connection". William Ragsdale also played Dan, Ellen's boyfriend in the TV show "Ellen".

  3. Vampires seem to be inherently gay-vague. Possibly because of Dracula, but possibly just putting a body part engorged with blood on your mouth.

    Would've thought of the 80s as demon decade, though: With the decade's obsession with money (The political consensus was literally just the regurgitated ideas of the 20s.) you'd expect binding contracts to be the big horror.

    I was born in 1983, and I've seen all those movies.


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