Fright Night Part II: Movie Review

Fright Night II
by Chris Wright,

A worthy sequel to the original “Fright Night” (1985) is simply called “Fright Night II” from 1988. This movie is barely talked about and has seemingly vanished in to obscurity. After watching this movie several times, I cannot figure why it’s become so rare that you can barely find a cheap copy.

After a very limited theatrical run in the late 1980s, this movie went straight to VHS released in 1989 by IVE (which many may know as the now defunct Artisan Entertainment). After that release, this movie never resurfaced until Artisan released a bare bones DVD in 2003, which was essentially a pan and scan of the VHS a decade earlier. If you can get a hold of either of these copies, you have rareness in your hands. It was made in 2:35:1 aspect ratio yet has only been seen stretched to 1:33:1 so the cinematic purists would likely wish to see this movie shown as it was originally shot.

Fright Night II follows the similar format to its predecessor which isn’t exactly a bad thing as the first movie is 1980s horror gold. Tommy Lee Wallace’s directing in this movie is top notch along with Brad Fiedel’s musical score (best known for his Terminator musical score around the same time).

A few years later, Charley no longer believes in vampires even after experiencing them beforehand. Peter Vincent, vampire killer extraordinaire, is still doing his show “Fright Night.” Peter and Charley’s disbelief doesn’t last entirely when a new lady shows up in town. A feisty actress named Regine Dandridge and her friends roll in to town and immediately she becomes smitten with Charley. Regine is none other than Jerry Dandridge’s sister (Jerry the vampire from the previous film) and is out for revenge on those who killed her brother.

Unfortunately for Charley, he falls for Regine’s vampiric seduction as she lures him slowly away from his current girlfriend Alex and ultimately away from Peter Vincent, whom finally was convinced after seeing a non reflection of Regine in a mirror. The best scene from this part of the movie is the dance scene with Charley being mesmerized. Moreover, Peter Vincent’s altercation with Regine is one of the best to me as well. Soon after being in the care of Regine’s henchmen (whom are rather cool in this film), Charley is bitten and slowly becomes a vampire until Regine is ready to complete the transformation.

Regine has already captivated the staff of “Fright Night” as Peter Vincent is fired shortly after talking about how vampires are real and not made up on the air. Much to Peter’s disbelief, Regine is installed as the host of “Fright Night.” Peter shows up to have a humorous altercation with Regine on air to try to stake her but only leads to him being thrown in a state hospital. Charley’s girlfriend Alex comes to the rescue as a random “accident” leads to Peter Vincent fleeing the hospital to try to rescue Charley. The whole escape is probably one of the funniest scenes in the entire movie.

In conclusion, the ending is similar to the ending of the first movie except Charley is being enticed to become a vampire by feeding on Alex. Peter Vincent saves the day by shining light from the outside using mirrors inside the building on Regine until she dies. The ending is more complex but I left out details because it’s better to just watch the movie!

Overall I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars. It’s a solid sequel with a great synthesizer score and great special affects. Tommy Lee Wallace’s directing is well done as well. The deaths of many of the vampires are really well done. It’s hard to believe this movie is barely talked about and hard to find but it really is. It’s not as good as the first but that’s not to discredit this movie at all. The acting from William Ragsdale and Roddy McDowell and even Julie Carmen is well above average in this movie. If you enjoy vampires even with some random werewolves thrown in, this is your movie. It has a 5.4 on IMDB but deserves much higher. Highly recommended and check out as soon as possible.

“Fright Night Part II” (1988)

Directed By: Tommy Lee Wallace

Written By: Tim Metcalfe, Miguel Tejada-Flores, & Tommy Lee Wallace

Starring: Roddy McDowall (Peter Vincent), William Ragsdale (Charley Brewster), Traci Lind (Alex), Julie Carmen (Regine Dandridge).

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