Fright Night Part 2

Fright Night Part 2 ★★★

Part of Hoop-tober 2018

Halloween III director Tommy Lee Wallace was a solid choice for continuing the adventures of fang fighters Charley Brewster and Peter Vincent. The former has moved on to college, a new girlfriend in Class of 1999's Traci Lind and a psychologist-encouraged belief that he imagined the first movie's vampire menace, while the latter is seeing his sanity questioned due to a fervid insistence that it was all real. Along comes Regine (Julie Carmen), some sort of famous performer with a cool, stylish gang of henches including werewolf Jon Gries and Cobra's Brian Thompson as an insect-gobbling valet. Regine happens to be the sister of Fright Night's vanquished villain, and she's here for revenge, sinking her teeth into the campus life, stealing Peter's TV horror host gig and enchanting Charley into her vampiric fold.

Somehow I'd never seen this video store staple. My memory is that it was pitched as lighter and goofier than the first. While I like Fright Night just fine, it's honestly never been near the top of my crowded '80s classics list, so I guess a tamer retread never seemed too compelling. Come to find out, Part 2 actually has a good amount of gnarly practical effects, possibly enough blood, latex, bugs and slime to have appeased my young gorehound demands, and the humor is not overbearing the way the ads sold it. Having both William Ragsdale and Roddy McDowall back gives it a comfortable core on which to hang its sequel-requisite regalia, mainly fun stuff like late '80s music video fashion and goofy lycanthrope mayhem. It's more plot-heavy than I remember the Rear Window-inspired first one being, and felt a tad too long as a result, or maybe that was due to its placement at the conclusion of a 24-hour movie marathon. I was never not entertained, though. I really should've given it a shot decades ago. Then again, I probably wouldn't have seen it for the first time via the last surviving 35mm print, so I'm pretty sure I won in the end.

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