Fright Night Part 2

Fright Night Part 2 ★★★½

Geoff T's Hoop-Tober 6.0 Challenge
Fright Night Part 2 (1988)

My love for the original Fright Night had me curious to check this one out. It's quite commonly known that Fright Night Part 2 has not been treated well over the years, from it's extremely limited theatrical release (cremating it's death at the box-office) to a lack of availability on home video. It's a shame this film never got the chance it deserved, because I'd say this is a pretty damn good follow-up.

Several years after destroying Jerry Dandrige, a now mullet-spouting Charley Brewster is attending university with his new girlfriend Alex (I guess it didn't work out with Amy), having undergone therapy as a result of trauma from the prior events. Sooner or later however, Regine Dandrige (mind you that the name connection is no coincidence) and a group of other oddballs show up on campus. Next thing you know, Charley once again has to seek the help of horror host Peter Vincent as they come face-to-face with another group of bloodsuckers who are out to avenge Jerry's death.

Will Ragsdale and Roddy McDowell reprise their roles to good effect, though I can't feel that Charley seems a bit braindead in this one (a result of his therapy no doubt), trying to deny the existence of vampires despite all the weird shit he sees ("performance art" my ass). McDowell once again is a treat as the incredibly hammy Vincent, while the villains simply aren't as memorable this time around. Square-jawed Brian Thompson (Terminator, Cobra) is always great to see, though Julie Carmen's Regine simply can't match the greatness set by Chris Sarandon (despite her best efforts).

Tom Holland was more or less gone for this sequel. Instead, Halloween III's Tommy Lee Wallace takes over as director, and does a respectable enough job. He supplies the film with plenty of gloomy and fog-drenched atmosphere. There are moments however where it retreads the beats of the original a little too much, despite some good set-pieces including the final climax (which features some truly gnarly but standout practical effects). Finally is the synth-infused scoring efforts courtesy of Brad Fiedel (including the brilliant 'Come to Me'), which are just are killer as before if not better.

Like a lot of sequels, Fright Night Part 2 hardly matches its predecessor, but is a decently fun companion piece for what it’s worth. I think what brings this one down a little is it's somewhat uneven pacing (which does eventually pick up towards the end), but it delivers much of the same morbid sense of humour and kinetic energy throughout.

Overall, I liked this a fair bit and I hopefully imagine other fans of Part 1 can be just as satisfied.


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