Fright Night Part 2

04/29/2019 07:30

Film: Fright Night Part 2

Year: 1988

Director: Tommy Lee Wallace

Writer: Tim Metcalfe, Miguel Tejada-Flores and Tommy Lee Wallace

Starring: William Ragsdale, Roddy McDowall and Traci Lind



Now I was turned on to the original film as my grandmother had it on a recorded VHS. She doesn’t like horror films, but one of my cousins made the copy and we would watch it when staying over there. I didn’t realize there was a sequel until college and it wasn’t actually until now that I finally got around to checking it out. One of the hosts on a podcast I listen to spoke highly of it, so I was definitely intrigued. The synopsis is Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) and Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) must face more vampires, out for revenge.

We start this one off with seeing a recap of events in the first one. We then see it is Charley having a session with Dr. Harrison (Ernie Sabella). It seems that Charley finally believes that Jerry Dandridge from the previous film wasn’t a vampire, but just a serial killer. He leaves the session, goes home and gets rid of all of his vampire hunting items.

Charley is now dating Alex (Traci Lind) and he is taking her to meet Peter. He is still hosting his late night horror show, Fright Night. We do get the idea that it is struggling though. Peter still believes that they killed a vampire and is really clinging to it. As the young couple goes to leave, Charley sees a new neighbor moving into Peter’s building. It is eerily similar to how the previous film started. He shakes it off. Downstairs Alex goes off to use the bathroom, while Charley waits in the lobby. He gets a glimpse of the new neighbors and he is entranced. There is Regine (Julie Carmen) along with Belle (Russell Clark) and their assistant, Bozworth (Brian Thompson). Charley has an immediate crush on Regine.

Back on campus, Charley tries to get Alex to come up to his room, but she needs to study. He goes back to his dorm and cuts himself shaving. It is at this time, another student is attacked by something and a creature tries to get into Alex’s room. She closes the window before it can. It falls and turns out to be Louie (Jon Gries) who is mocked by Bozworth for failing. Charley is then visited by Regine. She claims to be looking for someone else, but then goes into his room. They start to kiss and we see she is a vampire. She reopens the cut on his neck, but he wakes up in bed. There’s a knock and it turns out to be Alex. His cut is much larger now and bleeding again.

The next morning, Charley isn’t acting himself. He is sleeping most of the day; he is having issues with sunlight and garlic. He is neglecting Alex who Louie is showing interest in. Regine is all he can really think about. He is struggling with is she really a vampire or he is seeing things. Peter doesn’t necessarily think she is, that is until he uses a previous method to confirm the truth. She then reveals herself to him and who she really is. It brings the events of the previous film full circle.

This film is really intriguing to me, because a story guy, continuity is something that I really focus on. I have to say, this film is interesting in that department. I don’t want to spoil the reveal of who Regine is, but I like the idea. I actually really want to know more about the back-story, because I’m not entirely sure how it fits together. There is also a flipped duality from the original to this one. Instead of Charley’s girlfriend being targeted, it is him. There is now a female vampire who is wrecking the havoc. I found this all to be quite interesting changes to the story.

Going from here, I also like that this film is really harping on if there is really vampires or not. This is something I enjoyed from the previous film as well. We learn as viewers pretty early on the truth, but it is the characters not necessarily knowing. Charley goes through therapy to get over the events and try to live a normal life. He sees things that he thinks could mean it was real, but then sees logical explanations. Peter doesn’t believe it could happen again, but when he does, there is an issue that he is fired from his job and committed to a mental hospital. There is even Alex trying to convince Charley as she wants to be a psychologist. I find this all to be intriguing with if this is really happening or not.

This film also introduces a werewolf, which I don’t mind going a bit bigger. It is a bit odd though to have them working together. Bozworth is also an interesting Reinfield character as well. He has an extensive knowledge of insects.

To the pacing of the film, I didn’t realize this film runs almost an hour and 45 minutes. It did feel it a bit, but for the most part it does move through the events pretty quickly. I do think the tension builds throughout the film and even more for that final night. This also ramps up the tension like first did with the evil needing to be defeated from morning or Charley permanent becomes a vampire. I did think the ending was fine for what the film was going for as well.

Acting for this film is pretty solid as well. I think that Ragsdale really is Charley. Something interesting about the character here is that there is some growth from what we got in the previous one and we see him actually dealing with some deeper issues in this one as well. McDowall is solid and brings his character back to life. I like that he is a bit of a coward, but he does fight for what is his. The only issue here is that he reverts a bit from the previous film. I can see that having dealt with what they did and knowing it is going to happen again is terrifying. Lind is pretty attractive and her character was intriguing in that she really cares about Charley. The frustrating thing is the amount of chances she gives to him though. Carmen I thought is solid as the main villain. Clark, Thompson and Gries are as well. It is crazy that I never saw Gries in anything aside from Napoleon Dynamite, now I’ve seen him in two smaller horror films since. The rest of the cast rounded out the film for what was needed.

As to the effects of the film, I think they were good for the most part. I think the bit of blood and some of the wounds look solid. It is believable when someone is bit on the neck in my opinion. I’m not the biggest fan though of the vampires’ faces changes as it looks a bit fake. The werewolf design didn’t look great either. There is a really fun scene in the bowling alley I did really like. I will say how some of these creatures are defeated are good and the film is shot well.

The final thing to cover would be the soundtrack. Overall I’d say it really didn’t stand out to me, but it doesn’t hurt the film. I like the intro though to the Fright Night television show. There is also an odd dance scene with Charley and Regine, which the music used, was haunting and fit the scene. I don’t really have any issues with it.

Now with that said, I did find this to be a fun sequel. It wasn’t great, but I think it does do some good things. The story is good in that it develops these characters and has them explore the vampire mythos to see if it is real or not. I like the tie-ins to the original film as well as the mirroring of certain things. The acting is good in the character growth and there were performances were fine. I think the film runs a bit long, but the tension builds to a satisfying ending. The soundtrack really didn’t stand out for the most part, but it also doesn’t hurt the film. I did enjoy this one and I would say that this film is above average overall. I’d recommend if you like the first one and want to see that story continue. It also isn’t a bad vampire film either.


My Rating: 7 out of 10