Good Vampire Films: Fright Night Part 2

Well, a  touch delayed because of the sheer excellence of the Fighting post, here’s this week’s installment of worthwhile (i.e. non-tween) Vampire films. This time up, I’m doing the grotesquely overlooked and extremely hard to get hold of sequel to arguably the definitive Vampire flick of the 80’s. Welcome to Fright Night Part 2: Electric Boogaloo.Only kidding, It’s not really called that. That would be daft. Unlike, say, bringing in a sibling performance-artist vampire with a ludicrous entourage and a laughable plan. That’s clearly sensible. This time out, in a virtual retread of the first film, Charlie Brewster and Peter Vincent are being tormented by Regine Dandridge and her rollerskating tranny vamp, horny werewolf, and weird bug eating butler dude.

It doesn’t open promisingly. Charlie is now in therapy at college and has managed to convince himself that Dandridge was an ordinary serial killer. His new girlfriend, Alex, is remarkably tolerant of his foibles and he seems to be on the way to becoming a thoroughly well-balanced young man. Meanwhile Vincent has lost his marbles completely and keeps going off script on Fright Night.

Into this unpromising scenario strolls Julie Carmen’s Regine. She is, to begin with, utterly boner inducing, and she’s also got an evil plan for vengeance: She’s going to kill Vincent and infect Charlie so that she can spend eternity torturing him without ever allowing him the sweet relief of death. I have to admit, that as vengeance plans go, this is a pretty shitty one. There’s endless scope for failure and it relies on far too many different aspects going to plan.

Carnage ensues, Vincent hilariously gets fired from Fright Night before being sectioned for his own good, before an epic and truly inventive final battle where Vincent shows his mettle dispatching Regine with a piece of broken mirror. This is all good Vampiric stuff, even if it does feel a bit like you’ve seen it before. Which is easily explained, because you have seen it before: in the first fucking film.

Whereas Fright Night, the original, is a masterpiece of comic horror and a truly cracking film, Fright Night 2 gets the balance wrong. It’s essentially a comedy with the odd element of horror thrown in and much of it is frankly fucking bizarre. Charlie fluctuates from being a horny pig to a somnabulent doofus, Vincent (who is adamant that Vampires do exist) becomes completely crazed, and the horny werewolf that stalks Alex is clearly an attempt at comic relief in a comedy. Which is a very, very bad call. To be honest, there isn’t a minor character as strong as Evil Ed, and he’s badly missed, although the fastidious bug-eating Louie gets near.

It all sounds like a bit of a mess, and there’s no denying that there is no way at all that Fright Night Part 2 qualifies as a horror film. It just isn’t scary. However, it does work as a comedy, being as much of it is genuinely funny, and this is down to the acting. McDowell is simply excellent as the cowardly Vincent(particularly the asylum scene), Ragsdale is functional as Charlie, and Lin is superb as Alex. Amongst the support, Gries is great as Louie but the real star of the show is Carmen as Regine. She’s great, flipping between wonderful sensuality and flat-out vampiric psychopathy. It’s a great turn as the villain, even if it isn’t as good as Sarandon was in the original.

There are also, and I hate to say this, serious flaws to this film. Much of it is fragmented garbage, and there are myriad weird subplots and characters that just don’t work. A prime example is the roller skating tranny vampire. What the fuck? But other examples include that Regine is a performance artist masquerading as a vampire. This means that we are treated to 2 sequences of a gyrating Regine (not the worst thing to watch for a few minutes) that are both bizarre and a tad laughable. The second, when she has replaced Vincent as the host of Fright Night, is completely OTT and ridiculous. What the fuck were they thinking of?

Nevertheless, Fright Night 2 is an amusing film. There are many great lines in the script (Vincent gets most of them) and Alex’s constant protestations that Charlie is a retard hooked on melodrama ring dangerously true. Furthermore, there are also lots of nice touches (Regine doesn’t bite Charley, merely uses a fang to lift the scab off a cut he already has) that are a bit wasted in an obvious comedy, and the gore effects (particularly the bugs pouring out of Louie) are superb, even managing to top those in the first film. The thing about the effects, though, is that they are a bit wasted- in that by the time we get to see the show-stoppers (and they are good) the film is already encamped as a zany comedy.

Overall, would I recommend Fright Night Part 2? I have to say I would. It’s good vampiric fun and works well with its much more esteemed predecessor in a double bill. The problems with it are very easy to get over, and it is great fun. Carmen in particular should have got more work, and it is a real pity that Lin retired shortly after this film. At the end of the day, the pros to this film outweigh the cons by a huge amount and a Fright Night double bill could in no way be considered a waste of an evening.

Fright Night Part 2: not as good as the original, but still cracking fun. I give it 3 Changs, but with the proviso that this was watched as part of a double bill.

Twilight’s release date is coming fast, so I’ve only got a few of these left to do. I may continue it, if I can’t think of a better theme, but this is nearly the end.

Until next time,

Jarv

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

52 responses to “Good Vampire Films: Fright Night Part 2”

  1. xiphos0311 says :

    Nice review but I would say the definitive Vampire film of the 80’s is Near Dark. Like most things of this nature there is a wide variety in personal choice.

    • Jarv says :

      Meh. Either FN, Near Dark or The Lost Boys.

      You can make a good case for any of them. I’d go with Fright Night, but that’s purely subjective.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        it’s like 1 1A 1A- the argument comes in about the order. They are all great choices.

      • Jarv says :

        Yup. Totally agree.

        I originally wanted to do all of them, and shitlight is out on the 9th so I may just be able to squeeze TLB and ND in.

        I started this thinking that Faglight was out in September for some reason.

      • Continentalop says :

        FN for me is the definitive Vampire film of the 80’s as well. Mostly because it is such a tribute to Hammer vampires and Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula IMO.

        The Lost Boys led to teen werewolves, which led to Twilight. Unintended but tragic.

      • Continentalop says :

        Teen vampires I mean, not werewolves.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        I go with ND because of its reinvention of the Vampire mythos. I like how they turned them into white trash.

      • Jarv says :

        What Conti said- pretty much what I think.

        I had great visions for this series, but I’m being thwarted by the early release of the beginners guide to spousal abuse.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        The filmed ND in Arizona so I have that connection also.

    • Continentalop says :

      ND for me is always a good double feature with the Howling. Both are revisionist horror movies about classic monsters.

      ND took the normally charming and sophisticated urbane Vampires and made them red-neck butchers.

      The Howling took the savage brutal werewolf and put them in a New Age community called the Colony.

      • Jarv says :

        Heh. Never thought of that.

        I may have to do Werewolves next, which will give me a chance to revisit Dog Soldiers, Ginger Snaps, The Howling, Silver Bullet, AWIL and others.

      • Continentalop says :

        Yeah, but now I am thinking about what Xi said about Near Dark making vampires Red Necks and wondering if maybe there was a common theme in the 80s.

        It seems all horror movies during that time where basically saying that no matter what these things were monsters. Vampires weren’t classy, and werewolves could never be tamed.

        Fuck. Makes you realize how far from that we are nowadays with Twilight. Now all monsters are secretly gay – the only who doesn’t seem to realize it is the girl who loves them.

      • Continentalop says :

        Jarv, don’t watch Monster Dog with Alice Cooper.

        And I told you to watch Thundercrack!, so you know it is me saying a lot when I tell someone NOT to watch a movie.

      • Jarv says :

        Someone took Ed’s career as a guideline clearly.

      • Jarv says :

        I think I’ve seen that.

      • Continentalop says :

        You might have. Monster Dog isn’t gay porn or anything like that, it just breaks the most cardinal sin ever – being painfully boring and bad.

  2. Continentalop says :

    Nice review but I hated Fright Night II. How do you do a sequel and NOT have Evil Ed involved? You’re just ignoring the previous movie and ending way to much.

    They almost entered Highlander II: the Quickening territory by doing that.

  3. xiphos0311 says :

    I should go about trying to find this movie I don’t think I’ve seen it since it came out on video or maybe even the theater.

  4. xiphos0311 says :

    Conti if you keep up the red neck references your going to induce my Red Neck is not white trash rant.

    • Continentalop says :

      Sorry Xi. I actually know the difference. I’m carrying on with a discussion from earlier on in the night.

      • Jarv says :

        There’s a difference?

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Yeah Jarv there is a very big difference and the problem is the words have become interchangeable when they aren’t.

        Red Neck means rural blue collar. Farmers ranchers loggers guys who string electrical wire miners and the like. That’s red neck that’s me.

        White trash can be urban, suburban and rural. it means the meth out loser welfare chiselers racist bigots. It means Bikers and skin heads and the like. it means you are shit.

      • Jarv says :

        Knew I should have put I Keed, I Keed after that.

        Sorry, was tweaking your tail, I knew the difference.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        and I’ll fall for it every time. It just bugs the hell out of me what fuckers have done with words.

      • Continentalop says :

        Jarv, red neck implies working outside (hence a red neck). It was a term to describe poor southern white people who worked hard such as farmers – kind of like hard hats. They might be racist, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work hard.

        White trash just means white trash. Actually Black American Inner city culture is based more on White Trash than anything else, so that should get you an idea what white trash is like.

      • Jarv says :

        It was explained to me in great depth by a drunken red neck at a funeral in Chico, California.

      • Continentalop says :

        Damn. Xi was faster and more succinct.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        hair trigger. I felt the rant building.

    • xiphos0311 says :

      it’s one of the two things I’ll ever get touchy about. I hate that overly effete jack asses have hijacked the meaning of the word.

  5. xiphos0311 says :

    Did I drive everybody off?

  6. Jarv says :

    Nah- just had things to do

  7. Continentalop says :

    Xi, in my defense about calling the vampires in Near Dark red necks, they do actually work a little bit to kill people. I mean, car windows don’t get covered and painted over by themselves.

  8. Continentalop says :

    And they all get bitten on the neck to become vampires, so you know, it is red at some point.

  9. spud mcspud says :

    Ah, I LOVES me some FRIGHT NIGHT 2. It’s one of those movies I connect with hugely fond memories – I was 16 and it was the first 18 cert horror I ever snuck into underage. Though at 16, I wasn’t THAT under-age. But I saw FRIGHT NIGHT age 15 and couldn’t WAIT to see this.

    Great movie, as a comedy. Julie Carmen is indeed teh hotness (Jarv, again you are a man of wealth and taste) but Traci Lin! What a GODDESS!! In the weeks following FN2 I’m surprised I didn’t injure myself for life. Months later Little Spud was suffering in the name of Traci Lin. God… Perfection. With tits.

    But yeah – it’s all good, clean, camp, silly, 80s-glam vampire FUN. Something TWILIGHT has no CLUE about. And yeah, I always figured TWILIGHT was really about the forbidden love between a vampire and a werewolf, and the complete pointlessness of a pouty emo twat with no acting ability whatsoever. Basically, it’s the tale of a girl forced to choose between bestiality and necrophilia – and it’s marketed AT CHILDREN!!!

    Fuck there’s something wrong with this generation.

    But yeah, FRIGHT NIGHT 2 is geat hokey fun, and Jarv – I’m taking that idea. Part of my Hallowe’en month long horrorfest will be the FRIGHT NIGHT double-bill. Possibly on Hallowe’en itself…

    • Jarv says :

      Twilight is actually worse than that. The Werewolf isn’t about Bestiality, it’s closet Mormon racism.

      It’s vile religious propaganda and people that should know better are lapping it up.

      • spud mcspud says :

        Mormons make me howl with laughter. I love the idea that you can convert your dead relatives against their will to the Mormon religion. Apparently some of my Mormon relatives are converting me against my will, probably even as we speak…

        Hilarious stuff. Though all the Mormons I know seem to be decent upstanding folks who’ll help you out if you need it, and they do belong to a religion that promotes polygamy, so… I’m not generally so hard on them.

        Except for the ones who like TWILIGHT. Those fuckers get short shrift…

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Naw Spud you have to die first before the spiritual conversion can take place and then and only then can you be sure to join the celestial host in heaven.

  10. spud mcspud says :

    xi – I think EVERYBODY will know the intrinsic goodness of the true redneck when TUCKER AND DALE VS EVIL comes out. Alan Tudyk looks to give THE definitive redneck performance in that movie. Can’t fucking WAIT for it to get to the UK eventually…

    • xiphos0311 says :

      Tucker and Dale is one of the very few movies I’m looking forward to. I keep reading good things about it.

      • spud mcspud says :

        Oh, you should see the trailer! It’s all over youTube, and I nearly pissed myself laughing. Especially as one of the college kids – the first girl to go missing – ends up working WITH the rednecks (she says “I grew up on a farm, you help where you can”) but still the dumbass college kids think the two rednecks are trying to kil them!

        That’s one smart premise, right there. The kind of idea that makes you say “You BASTARDS!! Why couldn’t I COME UP WITH THAT!!?!”. Looks awesome…

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Yeah that trailer was funny and I got the feeling that I didn’t LEARN everything about the movie from watching it. Good work by the tralier guys.

      • Continentalop says :

        I had a chance to see that at a festival out here and I missed it. People been telling me it is awesome, so I am pretty pissed.

  11. spud mcspud says :

    And wasn’t FRIGHT NIGHT 2 released a year AFTER THE LOST BOYS?? Which makes the tranny roller vamp a cynical cash-in on trying to have a LOST BOYS style vamp in FN2. And yet it works. Outstanding…

  12. ThereWolf says :

    Nice review, Jarv.

    See, now I vaguely remember Regine and some bug eating, but nothing else. So I should probably re-watch this.

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