Oddly enough there are still a lot of movies that haven’t made it to DVD or blu-ray or were ported to DVD for a short period and are almost impossible to find today. Fright Night Part 2 is one of those movies that had never been given a proper release. If you do find a DVD you can expect to pay upwards of $100 just to get it. My desire to own the movie wasn’t that high so I went the cheap route and purchased an old VHS rental of the film.
Fright Night Part 2 is one of those movies that I haven’t watched since it was originally released back in 88′. I was 11 years old and I thought it was pretty good at the time but then again I was 11 years old. So I was kind of excited to dust off the ol’ VCR and put in the flick! If you’ve seen the original Fright Night then you’d be excused to say that Part 2 is almost a remake of the first. It begins with Charlie Brewster, now a college student who has undergone years of therapy to expunge the delusion that he killed a vampire. Now he believes that it was a serial killer and his mind just made up that he was a vampire as a coping mechanism. Ok, so Charlie is now dating a much more attractive psych student named Alex, who can speed read. Peter Vincent (Roddy Mcdowell) is still hosting Fright Night on TV and Charlie still stays in touch with him though he hasn’t told Peter he no longer believes in Vampires.
The Bad: Scene after scene in this movie is lifted directly from Fright Night. Charlie sees a coffin being brought into Peters building just like before. The vampire this time around is female so Charlie basically switches roles and becomes the damsel in distress for most of the film. He’s seduced by the vampiress Regine, in a scene that’s an exact copy of the dance seduction from Part 1. We also find out the Regine is the sister of Jerry, the vampire from part 1.
Charlie’s girlfriend goes from skeptic to believer and Peter Vincent goes from coward to hero again. Its pretty much the same movie where apparently no one has grown since the first film. The story structure, some of the dialogue, motivations, you name it are all carbon copied from the first film. I could go on with the similarities but you get the idea.
The Good: Even with all the problems I still found myself enjoying this film quite a bit. I still like the characters of Charlie and Peter and even his new skeptic girlfriend Alex. Regine has a entourage of vamps and monsters that travel with her. There’s the very Michael Jackson looking vampire, The werewolf that’s also a vampire and the weird butler who eats bugs. The werewolf is actually a sorta funny character. He spends a lot of the film trying to pick up Charlie’s girlfriend leading to some awkward and weird scenes that for whatever reason I dug. Visually the film is fairly interesting. Tommy Lee Wallace (Halloween 3: Season of the Witch) directed the film and does a good job with what he’s given. There’s a scene where Regine takes over Hosting on Fright Night and does this well choreographed and shot performance art thing that was kinda great.
Fright Night Part 2 has the bright lighting all over the place where the first film I think did a better job of using darkness and shadows but its a small gripe. Looking back there seems to be a point in the mid 80’s where films in general decided to brighten everything up. You can see a lot of movies form the late 80’s up through the 90s where everything is well lit. It was like they got a lot of complaints from the home market so decided to make everything easier to see on your shitty 30 inch tube tv at home. I think most horror films still suffer from this today but it seems to have gotten better.
Is it really that bad? Rotten Tomatoes has Fright Night Part 2 at 29% which is pretty devastating. But is it really as bad as that? I have to say that with all the problems with this movie I still had fun watching it. Its bad for so many reasons but its still competently made and overall the fun movie to watch. I know I’m looking back on it with rose colored glasses on since it is a movie from my childhood and I was charmed a bit by watching it on VHS but damn it I had a good time! I think at some point this movie does deserve a proper DVD or blu-ray release and who knows maybe it will get a little love.
ON a side note, the remake of Fright Night that came out in 2011 is now getting its own Direct to Video sequel that sounds like a total remake of Fright Night part 2 with a female vampire and Charlie going to college in another country. I’m sure it will be a total piece of crap but this might be enough for me to see it.