Thursday, May 19, 2011

Be Kind, Rewind: The VHS Reviews ~ Fright Night Part 2 (1989)

"The Suckers Are Back."

Synopsis: It's been a few years since the events of the original movie. Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale, "Herman's Head", "Mannequin 2: On The Move") is now in college and has a new girlfriend. After the death of bloodsucker Jerry Dandridge, Charley has settled into life as a student and rejected his former belief in the existence of vampires. Although he's busy pursuing the affections of determined coed Alex (Traci Lind, "Class Of 1999", "My Boyfriend's Back"), Charley soon falls under the spell of the mysterious and alluring Regine (Julie Carmen, "In The Mouth Of Madness", "Blue City"). Even though everything about the woman screams vampire, her feminine charms -- and her claims of being nothing but an outlandish performance artist -- lead Charley to become her unwilling servant. Torn between Regine's enchantments and his loyalty to Alex, he once again looks for help from Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall, "Planet Of The Apes", "The Poseidon Adventure"), the washed-up horror show host who assisted him in the first time around. Soon, Charley, Peter, and Alex are facing off against a new coven of bloodsuckers led by Regine, who reveals herself to be the ancient sister of Jerry Dandridge.

My Thoughts: I've always been a fan of the original Fright Night. Effectively mixing horror and comedy is pretty hard to do and where as Fright Night might not be laugh-out-loud funny, I think it's never take yourself too seriously attitude delivered by it's incredible cast made it work somehow. You would think the fact that great chemistry being the main reason for the first film's success that a sequel with just two of the original cast members and a new director would be a complete disaster. You'd be wrong.

Fright Night Part 2 director Tommy Lee Wallace ("Halloween III", "Stephen King's It") replaces the first film's great chemistry with an eerier atmosphere and some great camera-work, and still manages to keep alive some of the spirit and fun of the original. William Ragsdale and Roddy McDowall don't miss a beat bringing back their characters for a second go-around and the new cast of vampires add the comic relief that would have been missing after of the death of Charley Brewster's friend "Evil" at the end of the first film.

You might not have heard, but a Fright Night remake is scheduled to come out this summer. I would normally say sarcastically "oh great, another remake", but I think this one has some potential. First of all, I like their choices for the main cast: Colin Farrell as Jerry Dandrige (the vampire), David Tennant ("Dr. Who") as Peter Vincent, Anton Yelchin ("Charlie Bartlett", "Star Trek") as Charley Brewster ...and McLovin as "Evil" Ed Thompson. Also, I think it's the type of safe horror movie that the studios want to put out these days, so in this rare case it might actually work. You think???

My Rating: 8 / 10

Maybe the remake (coming out August 19th) will spark up enough interest to get this forgotten sequel re-released. I hope so, because as much as I like it I won't be paying $50 for a used copy any time soon. I've got my old VHS copy ...and those are even going for $15 on nowadays.

"click here to see the trailer"

"click here to see the remake trailer"

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