ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Fright Night 2 (1989)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Tommy Lee Wallace

Starring:
William Ragsdale/Charlie
Roddy McDowall/Peter Vincent
Julie Carmen/Regine
Tracy Lind/Alex
PLOT-CRUNCH
Having gone through three years of therapy after his vampire encounter in the original "Fright Night", Charlie (Ragsdale) is now convinced that bloodsuckers don’t exist. Well, he’s about to get a sexy wake-up call. Regine Dandridge (Carmen), sister of Jerry (the vamp in the original) rolls into town with her wacky entourage and she’s thirsty for revenge. Let the sucking begin!
THE LOWDOWN
"Such a thing simply couldn’t happen twice, Charlie."-- Peter Vincent

This sequel to the 80’s vampire gem “Fright Night” drops the dash of old school which the first one had to fully embrace the hip, colorful and glam 80’s vibe. We’re talking a transvestite vampire on roller-skates, puffy hair and tacky outfits. Although I did miss the more “classic” ingredients that the first Fright Night sported, the lack of them didn’t kill this sequel, it just made it less unique and more in tune with the likes of "The Lost Boys" or "Vamp".

This follow-up does suffer from a bad case of “sequelite” at times, but I still found lots of slick stuff to dig here. First off, it felt great to see the boyz back in human rodents killing action again. Charlie Brewster (Ragsdale) and Peter Vincent (McDowall) are in the house ya'll and they can do no wrong. The magic is still there. Second of all, the inclusion of the new lead vamp Regine (Carmen), brings with it a very interesting subplot in respect to Charlie. I really dug her “vengeance” angle and that scenario brought poor Charlie to places he didn’t visit in the original. It’s nice to see a sequel take its lead character further.

Regine (Carmen) herself is one hot little fanged number. Although she doesn’t have the incredible magnetism that Jerry Dandridge (played by Chris Sarandon) showcased in the first, she’s still extremely pleasant to the eye. I relished her erotic dance sequences (yes, I foamed), her impressive cleavage and every time the camera would close up on her face, I would get lost in her sultry gaze. Great piece of casting there. The flick itself looks way sharp, Wallace handles his directorial tasks like a champ, the awesome score by Brad Fiedel thankfully returns and the movie is very effect-heavy; well-done effects at that! No CGI can ever do what these dudes used to accomplish in the days. Nice!

On a negative vibe, this movie’s biggest fault has to be the tedious relationship between Charlie and Alex (Lind). Their love thang bored the crap out of me. Why is she dating this chump again? I mean, he stands her up big-time! He’s always trying to get in her pants! He dresses like shite! Why doesn’t she dump his neurotic ass? It didn’t make sense to me. Also, will Charlie ever date a girl that’s NOT a virgin? I felt echoes of the first “Fright Night” there. Which brings me to this sequel’s second biggest boo-boo: it’s too much like the first one at times. Any "connaisseur" of the original will spot many identical moments in this sequel. The screenwriters SHOULDN’T have watched the first "Fright Night" so many times before putting pen to paper.

My last pet peeve is that apart from wood-inducing Regine, the other baddies didn’t do much for me. The roller skating gender bender (Clark) was boring and the werewolf duder (Gries) was somewhat funny but kind of annoying at the same time. His werewolf get-up wuz also the only weak effect in the flick. The sole entertaining supporting hoodlum was the bug-eating ogre (Thompson) who spouted the names of the insects which he ate in Latin, before gobbling them up. He got a couple of chuckles out of me and his insect fetish eventually lead to one very gruesome demise.

In the end, Fright 2 does pale in comparison next to the original but it's still an adequate companion piece. Yes, it has flaws, yes, it's very similar to the first film every now and then but the pace is quick, the performances are mostly enjoyable, the effects are well done and it's pretty much harmless fun the whole way (loved the bowling scene). Also, Regine is one delicious looking vamp and she can suck my ”bleep” any day. Welcome To Fright Night…AGAIN?
GORE
This one has enough gore to tame the blood-hungry beast inside all of us. We get teeth-ripping flesh, a melting vamp, a burning vamp, some gooey holy water damage, some kool bat effects, a cut off head and the requisite bloodsucking.
ACTING
William Ragsdale (Charlie) reprises his role of Charlie and thankfully the sequel gives him new territory to explore. Ragsdale handles the slightly more mature Charlie very well. The vamps might change but Roddy McDowall (Peter Vincent) is still the same as the eccentric, cowardly yet brave vampire killer. He’s always a hoot to watch. Julie Carmen (Regine) does imitate some of Jerry Dandridge’s mannerisms, but she eventually makes the part her own, she’s also gorgeous and that always helps. Tracy Lind (Alex) is a cutie with bad hair but she handles her part well. Whatever happened to her? She showed promise. Jon Gries (Louis) is somewhat amusing as the surfer type werewolf duder, but I got tired of his antics fast. Russell Clark (Belle) sure knows how to rollerskate, apart from that not much of a lively part. Brian Thompson (Bocworth) is fun to watch as the insect hungry fiend.
T & A
We get a gratuitous tit shot early on, Julie Carmen showing off cleavage and William Ragsdale shirtless. I really wanted to see more of Julie Carmen’s luscious body, but that’s just my horny ass talking.
DIRECTING
Tommy Lee Wallace gives this baby a very polished look. Aerial shots, vampire POV shots, slick angles, slow-mo, a very able smoke machine and all-around snazziness. I did expect Billy Idol to pop in at any second but overall, nice job dude!
SOUNDTRACK
Brad Fiedel returns with a variation on his solid “Fright Night” score. We also get some 80’s pop/rock tunes that are not as memorable as the ones in the original. I did dig Deborah Holland’s rendition of “Come to me” during the end credits and the use of “Midnight Hour” during the bowling sequence.
BOTTOM LINE
I loved the first "Fright Night" and this sequel doesn’t embarrass it. Sure. it doesn’t really aim higher than what the original established but it's still an amusing time. It could’ve been worse...much worse. I say have yourself a Fright Night soiree and watch both films back-to-back. Then call over some broads and have them do the Regine dance…in the nude. Now that’s a night and a half!
BULL'S EYE
I caught a little mistake here. When Regine picks up Charlie’s friend in her limo for a night of bloodsucking, she’s outside and it's daytime. She’s not even wearing sunglasses!

The character of Evil Ed was once included in the sequel but Stephen Geoffrey’s wasn’t too hip to doing the part again (saying it was too small) and got out of doing it to star in "976-EVIL" instead.

Jon Gries (Louis) played another werewolf in “The Monster Squad”.
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