Up front I'm going to say I really like both of these movie, but in extremely different ways. The 80's Fright Night was undeniably gay and very much enjoyable to watch with a group of people, while the current Fright Night remake was exciting as well as fun and a tad bit self aware.
Last week I watched the 80's Fright Night because I wanted to see the remake, and also because it was mentioned once or twice in my Horror film class. I cannot say it was scary at all, but it was super enjoyable. I love the sexy music that played every time the vampire would stalk a young male, I loved the mom's line regarding the neighbor "with my luck, he'll be gay," and I loved the absurd thought process of the teenagers. The special affects were cool, and the death of Evil Ed was really great. The original has everything going for it, except terror.
And though there are quite a lot of thing that separate the original from the remake, terror may be the biggest one. I would say, Fright Night the remake had a little bit more tension to it. The opening scene was very good to establish that.
I also enjoyed the film's self awareness of the original. It wasn't too distracting, and it gave the movie a little something special for me. I enjoyed Collin Farrell as the new vamp eating the old vamp (Chris Sarandon) for dinner. I thought it was funny how they constantly poked fun at the name Jerry for a vampire. But above it all, I loved it when Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) screamed "I'm feeling a little homo right now!" Total kickback to the homosexual awesomeness in the original one.
[spoiler alert] But there's also something else special about the remake. While the original run amok with homosexual not-so-secret undertones, the new one deals with the difficulties of high school. This time around Ed wasn't popular and had just lost his best friend Charley (or Brewster) to a hot and sexy popular girlfriend (who also turned out to be sweet and kind). Though I would complain that the death of Ed wasn't as devastatingly long as the original's, it had a lot more depth and back story as to why it was so sad. Also (it may be a stretch) but by creating Charley as the killer of his old friend, it was a metaphor for him leaving behind his confused adolescence. [/spoiler alert]
Other little things that made this remake stand out was David Tennant as the vampire hunter (who also had a nice back story), and the 3D surprisingly enough. I would say see it before it leaves theaters, because I fear that will be soon what with all the horror films like Shark Night 3D coming out and hogging the horror spotlight (for better or for worse).
In the end, I love both movies the same, but very differently.
Fright Night (1985): 4/5
Fright Night (2011): 4/5