The Horror Honeys: Vampire Month: You're Not So Cool with that Mullet, Brewster!

Vampire Month: You're Not So Cool with that Mullet, Brewster!

A Revenge Honey Vampire Month Review by Linnie

Fright Night Part 2 (1988)

Sequels can be a messy business. It's a rare sequel that manages to capture even a portion of the magic that made the original film what it was. Occasionally, we are lucky and get an Aliens or a The Bride of Frankenstein, or (because it IS technically a sequel), The Silence of the Lambs. But for every Dawn of the Dead, there are a dozen more Jaws: The Revenge's and (shiver) The Wicker Tree's. So when a sequel comes along that is entirely watchable, it's actually something to be praised.

Fright Night Part 2 is just... good. But for a sequel to one of the best vampire movies ever made, "good" is damn near spectacular.

So join me as we head off to college with Charlie Brewster, his stylish mullet, his new girlfriend (who we will call Not Amy), no Evil Ed (sob), and brand new crop of the undead in Tommy Lee Wallace's Fright Night Part 2.

The Story: Charlie Brewster (William Ragsdale) has undergone years of therapy with Pumbaa from The Lion King to convince himself that Jerry Dandridge was just a run-of-the-mill serial killer, and not a vampire. Now a college student with a girlfriend that ISN'T Amy (WHAT DID YOU DO TO AMY, YOU DICK?), Charlie is trying to live a normal life. The problem is, our old friend Jerry had a performance artist sister, and she's pissed. Armed with a cadre of blood-sucking friends, Regine Dandridge (Julie Carmen) makes it her mission to draft Charlie to the undead team, and she is determined. Will even the great Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall, who I guess wasn't doing anything better) be able to save Charlie this time?

Not Amy, Charlie, and Peter, playing with vampires...
Set three years after the original film, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Fright Night Part 2. In fact, if it were a standalone film it would probably be a really fun entry to the vampire movie canon. The problem, as it always is with sequels, is that compared to the original Fright Night, something is... missing. Now, putting aside my abiding and potentially prosecutable love from Chris Sarandon, a huge element of what made Fright Night so memorable was Jerry Dandridge. He was charismatic, sexual, complex, dangerous, almost combustable. Julie Carmen does her best to communicate all of that with Regine, and while she hits a few of the right notes, the chemistry between Regine and Charlie is never as palpable as it was between Jerry and Amy. It removes the sexual energy from the equation, and the whole film comes up wanting.

It's a good look... but you're just not that scary.
Another factor that is problematic presents via Regine's minions. One is a bug-eating limo driver, another is a goofy newbie who only seems interested in getting laid, and when you add in Pumbaa getting turned, everything gets a little overwrought. In the end, you just realize how vital Stephen Geoffreys was to the success of the original film. He did in one character what it took three to even attempt in Fright Night Part 2: convey terror, humor, and heart without sacrificing personality.

Fright Night just isn't the same without you, buddy.
Now, as I mentioned, there is still much to be enjoyed about Fright Night Part 2. The camaraderie between Charlie and Peter Vincent carries the film, and McDowall is just as hammy and fabulous here as he was in Fright Night. What is lacking in chemistry between Not Amy and Charlie is made up for in the friendship between our two male leads, and it's still great fun. Do I return to Part 2 as often as I do Fright Night? Nope. But every once in while, I do get the urge to see what Charlie Brewster and his mullet were up to, post-Jerry Dandridge. And if you haven't seen Fright Night Part 2...

All I am saying... is give the mullet a chance.

Horrifying Movie Fact: Fright Night Part 2 was distributed by Live Entertainment, which was chaired by Jose Menendez. After a particularly contentious meeting with director Tommy Lee Wallace and star Roddy McDowall, Menendez went home... and was murdered by his sons (Eric and Lyle), in one of the most high-profile murders in Hollywood history.

Revenge Honey Rating: 3 Brewster mullets out of 5

Fright Night Part II is available via YouTube and for some reason, a REALLY expensive DVD

What do YOU think of the Fright Night sequel?
Tell me on Twitter: @linnieloowho