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John’s Horror Corner: Fright Night 2 (1988), a stylish sequel to our favorite 80s vampire movie.

August 8, 2017

MY CALL:  This is a great, stylish, edgy sequel to an old favorite loaded with cool effects, sleek vampires and soft humor. Just great 80s fun!  MORE MOVIES LIKE Fright Night 2Well, after you see Fright Night (1985), The Lost Boys (1987) is similar, but more serious and mature about it. Other somewhat humorous (while still R-rated or PG-13 and bloody) 80s horror include Creepshow (1982), Critters (1986), Vamp (1986), or An American Werewolf in London (1981).

Following in writer/director Tom Holland’s (Child’s Play, The Temp, Thinner, Fright Night) footsteps, director Tommy Lee Wallace (Halloween III: Season of the Witch, It) has some big shoes to fill.  And you know what? I think he did a great job!

After years of therapy, Charley (William Ragsdale; Fright Night, The Reaping) has come to believe that his entire vampire experience was all a delusion since, of course, vampires don’t exist.  So when Regine’s fanged coven comes for him, his girlfriend Alex (Traci Lind; Class of 1999, Spellcaster) and Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall; Embryo, Shakma, Fright Night) must come to his aid.

Led by the sultry Regine (Julie Carmen; In the Mouth of Madness), Bozworth (Brian Thompson; The Terminator, Alien Nation, Nightwish), Louie (Jon Gries; TerrorVision, The Monster Squad) and Belle (Russell Clark; choreographer from Vamp) round out her vampiric team seeking revenge against Charley Brewster for killing her brother, Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon in Fright Night).

Belle is a roller-skating vampire of other-worldly androgyny (a perfect 80s vamp), Bozworth knows the taxonomy of every insect he ghoulishly eats with delight, Louie is strikingly werewolf-like (much like Evil Ed), and Regine is a walking sex pot with long sexy fangs. It’s clear that Tommy Lee Wallace is modeling this evil crew after Tom Holland’s, but that’s just fine with me. Each character has some parallels to their 1985 models, but all stand out as interesting and different.

Part 1’s tone is also largely preserved as everything is still quite sexualized and often humorous. I can’t help but to feel that this sequel is a bit more silly (or just sort of “out there”) and just a tad less effective, however it remains a very entertaining favorite.  It has injected a bit more 80s-ness and an enhanced sense of dramatic flair.

The special effects likewise parallel the original and, despite having a lower budget, the special effects are somewhat comparable to part 1.  I especially enjoyed Louie’s wolfish bat hybrid make-up and Bozworth’s entomological death was also a guilty pleasure. The “melting death scenes” lacked the delicious gooiness and lengthy elaboration of part 1’s, but I must say I was thrilled with the finale death and Regine’s creature effects (as a gargoyle-like bat hybrid and later like some skinless menace out of Hellraiser).

It seemed that the lower budget didn’t noticeably hinder this effects team too much—but it did shorten the effects scenes and how much time we spend seeing monster make-up on screen (e.g., Jerry’s various stages of vampiric transformation in part 1 got loads of screen time).

We also still get BIG toothy demon mouths!

In this sequel, we find Charley in a similar situation to his last girlfriend (in 1985). Charley’s “exposure” to Regine results in some symptoms like light sensitivity…much as we observed in My Best Friend is a Vampire or The Lost Boys, both from 1987 and both of which were clearly influenced heavily by Fright Night (1985). I guess the influence has come full circle.  The sexy dance of seduction scene (now with Charley) is done in a manner much more classical to the vampire genre.  Fright Night (1985) did this in quite the raunchy manner.

I remain VERY pleased with both the original and this sequel.  The original had more charm (perhaps stemming from its originality), and this sequel feels more sleek and stylish.  Both really went for it and they remain gratifying even today, 30 years after they were made!

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 11, 2017 12:49 pm

    Great to see this movie getting some long overdue love. Like you, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      August 11, 2017 5:36 pm

      I hadn’t seen it start to finish like this since the 90s. I feel like it’s never had a good DVD licensing so I could never buy it at a reasonable price (in the US) until recently. In the last few years I probably checked Amazon a dozen times in hopes of getting my hands on it for under $30. Having now been reminded of how GREAT it is, I wish I spent the $30 years ago!

      • August 11, 2017 8:28 pm

        $30 well spent in my opinion. I keep getting excited every time I see Fright Night 2 in my local DVD stockist until I remember it’s the sequel to the freaking remake. Good fun movie.

  2. August 12, 2017 1:14 pm

    I saw this once and cant’ remember a thing about it, but it seems to have turned into a fan favorite over the years.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      August 13, 2017 10:11 am

      OMG, go find this somehow now…after watching part 1, of course.

  3. August 16, 2017 6:40 am

    I have never seen this before but based on your review Im giving it a watch ASAP

    • John Leavengood permalink
      August 16, 2017 8:08 am

      It’s such a BLAST! I recommend buying it however you can find it.

Trackbacks

  1. John’s Horror Corner: Fright Night (2011), reflecting on the 1985 original through the lens of a remake. | Movies, Films & Flix
  2. John’s Horror Corner: Stephen King’s It (1990), reflecting on the TV-PG original before seeing the R-rated 2017 remake. | Movies, Films & Flix
  3. John’s Horror Corner INDEX: a list of all my horror reviews by movie release date | Movies, Films & Flix
  4. John’s Horror Corner: Fright Night 2 (2013), a non-sequel filled with bloody boobs paying no proper homage to the 1985 original or the 2011 remake. | Movies, Films & Flix

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