Title: Fright Night Part 2
Director: Tommy Lee Wallace
Released: May 19, 1989 (US)
Description: Three years after the vampire was destroyed in Fright Night, his sister – in the guise of a mysterious performer – seeks revenge on the heroic duo who carried out the staking.
First of all, that description up there doesn’t do this movie the justice it deserves, but it was the best one I could find online. This is a pretty solid horror movie sequel that nobody seems to know about, and I’ll hit some of the reasons for that at the end of this recap.
While I don’t have the same attachment to this one as I do the original Fright Night, I’ve seen it a few times and really enjoy it. In this one, they flip it from Charley screeching about vampires and having no chill, to Peter Vincent being convinced there are vampires and Charley no longer believing. There are some new elements added to the mix, while still keeping the Fright Night vibe going. I can’t say I love this one as much as the original, but it’s still a lot of fun.
We get a thirty-second recap of the first movie (you can read my recap of the first movie here, but unless you’re a serious speed-reader, it’ll take a hell of a lot longer than thirty seconds), which turns out to be Charley Brewster telling his therapist the story. He goes on to say that this story was a defense mechanism provided by his brain, and that Vampire Jerry was actually Human Serial Killer and Cultist(!) Jerry, and that vampires don’t exist.
Um, I saw the first movie, and you are very wrong, Charley. But good to know you’re still a dumbass.
As Charley’s leaving the doc’s office, we find out this is his last session after three years, and he’s afraid of running into Peter Vincent. Presumably because Peter has not been in therapy for three years and still believes in vampires, despite Charley’s belief that it was group hypnosis. Oh, also, because Peter killed Evil Ed and even though it was self-defense Charley still might be a little bit in his feelings about it. The doc encourages Charley to go ahead and see Peter, whom I guess Charley hasn’t even spoken to in the last three years? Seems fake, but mmkay.
Then Charley takes off running across campus, because I guess this is the college therapist? Unclear.
He arrives at his dorm room (after nearly crashing into about a half dozen people on the way), opens a trunk full of vampire slayer paraphernalia, scoops it all into his arms, then tosses it out back in the trash. Fuck you, garlic necklace!
Then he shaves his face and doesn’t so much nick his neck as slice directly into the fucking jugular. You know, just to make shit that much easier for the vampires later on.
Cut to what I assume is the local access TV station, and Peter Vincent (The Great Vampire Killer) hosting his horror show, going on about knowing that monsters are real because he’s looked into their eyes and smelled their rancid breath. Note to self: do not let vampires breathe on me.
The . . . producers? are unhappy because Peter always throws the scripts away and is apparently ad-libbing. Honestly, I doubt his ad-libs are worse than whatever drivel they wrote up for him. I mean, have any of them looked into the monster’s eyes and smelled its halitosis? Didn’t think so.
Charley pulls up to the studio with his new (to us) girlfriend, Alex, and they stand by the side and watch filming until they go to commercial and Peter notices them. He’s very surprised to see Charley. I mean, if it’s been three years, then no shit.
Cut to Peter’s apartment, and I can’t tell if this is the same place as the first movie. I think he was being evicted from that apartment, so this might be a different building? Anyway, Charley apologizes for treating Peter like he didn’t exist for three years, while Peter pours them wine (is Charley of drinking age? I was under the impression he was only 20 here) and asks if Alex knows about the vampires. She overhears and assures him she knows all about the “vampires.”
Some time later, as the clock is striking midnight, Peter seems a bit tipsy while telling them a story about one of his movie props (a retractable stake) that didn’t work properly and made him almost stab another actor right through the heart. And since Charley now believes he and Peter straight-up murdered (in self-defense!) Ed, Jerry, and Billy (remember him?), he is definitely not amused by this story. Peter goes on to tell Alex that the best story of all is the one Charley has already told her, and fails to notice that Charley is so tense you could probably bounce stakes off him right now.
Also, Roddy McDowall’s hair still looks like it’s been spray-painted, although it’s slightly more realistic looking than the first movie. I don’t know why this is a thing I fixate on, but it is.
Peter has gotten up with Alex to . . . show her more movie memorabilia, I think (not a euphemism), leaving Charley to wander around the living room until he stops to look out the window. Outside, people are moving three large, coffin-sized crates into the building as a limo pulls in behind them. I’m sure it’s fine. Charley pulls back from the window and flings the curtains closed, actually saying out loud, “Thanks very much, but no thanks.”
See, so much trouble could be avoided by simply closing the goddamn
In the elevator, Charley apologizes for exposing Alex to the “fearless vampire killer,” and you shut your mouth, Charley. Peter Vincent is way cooler than you will ever be, you jackass. (Apparently my personality for this recap is “fearless Peter Vincent defender”.) Alex says it’s fine; Peter’s sweet . . . and eccentric, and boy he really does believe in vampires, though, doesn’t he? Well, yeah, because vampires fucking exist, you stupid goddamn –
Oh, god. Have . . . have I turned into Charley in the first movie? *hangs head in shame*
Then Charley tells Alex he’ll show her what he believes in, and they proceed to make out as the elevator descends. Insert “going down” joke here.
In the lobby, Alex slips off to . . . the bathroom, I suppose. I’ve never seen a public restroom in an apartment building lobby, but I don’t hang out at apartment buildings that have lobbies, so what the fuck do I know.
While Charley waits on her, a group of people get out of the limo and enter the building. Charley stares at them like an idiot until they get in the elevator, and the lead lady stares back at him. And if they’re not vampires, then this isn’t the movie I think it is! (Also, one of the vampires is black, and trans, and I’m impressed at a movie from 1988 being this progressive. On the downside, she’s also mute which means she gets no lines. Bummer.)
Alex pops up and jump-scares Charley, and they leave the building as something watches them from up high. They drive off in Charley’s car, a classic Mustang, and if this is the same car he had in the first movie, he’s gotten a much better paint job now – it’s solid cream-colored instead of red streaked with primer. Charley tries to mack on Alex some more, but she’s got a 7 am class she’s got to get up for. Charley and I are both shocked and disgusted that people actually go to class that early. Yeah, the earliest class I ever had was 8 am, and I wanted to die. I am not built to get up at six in the morning, friends.
We get another high-up POV shot and a sound like bats screeching, then cut to Charley and Alex making out a little in the car, despite her protestations of an early class. Then we see the lead vampire lady, Regine, laying out on top of Charley’s car, then she plays some vampire mind tricks to make Charley think he’s kissing her instead of Alex. He freaks out, Alex freaks out, nobody gets a happy ending.
Alex walks to her dorm, muttering about Charley as he peels out. Something follows her, and she slams the building door on whatever it was. Cut to the side of the building, and it was Belle, the mute vampire. A girl leaves the dorm, and she’s carrying some canvases and what’s probably supposed to be an art case, but looks like a Caboodles case to me. She stops to tie her shoes, and Belle stalks her, scraping her nails along the metal lockers in the hallway (except it looks like we’re outside, and also why are there lockers since this isn’t high school) like she thinks she’s Freddy Krueger. Then Belle appears out of the fog, fucking rollerskating toward the girl, and attacks her, biting her neck and spraying blood all over her giant sketch pad. RIP, Unnamed Girl.
We get a shot into a random dorm room window to showcase some pointless nudity as a girl comes out of the shower doing a very bad job of toweling off her boobs while her roommate tells her to pull down the shade already. Cool. Then we see whose perspective we were seeing through: Louie, the werewolf member of the new vampire contingent. See, I knew Underworld was wrong! Vampires and werewolves can get along if they really want to!
Louie continues climbing up the side of the building until he reaches the window he was actually interested in – Alex’s. Because of course. He reaches in the window to haul himself up, but Alex, completely oblivious to werewolf claws hanging onto her windowsill, slams the window down, cutting off Louie’s nails and sending him falling into the bushes below. He struggles in the bushes, now in naked human form, and the fourth member of this little group, Bozworth (who might be another vampire, except he seems much more interested in eating bugs than drinking blood, so I’m not entirely sure. Is he a Renfield? Is that a thing?), tells him he was supposed to bite her on the neck. Well, thank you, Boz, that was very helpful. And also, is that what Louie was supposed to do? Is that what werewolves do? I’m very confused as to why Louie is very clearly a werewolf, but is treated like a vampire.
Anyway, we get flying Batvision down the street, past Belle carrying Unnamed Victim, and end up in Charley’s room, where he’s awakened by someone knocking at his door. He opens it to find Regine, and immediately slams the door in her face. Then he admonishes himself that there are no vampires, that was incredibly rude, she’s incredibly beautiful, and again, there are no vampires. You’re going to invite her in, aren’t you, you idiot.
He opens the door as she’s walking down the hall. She says that he’s not Charley, he says he is, he’s Charley Brewster, but turns out she was looking for Charley Cassidy. Oh. Was he on the Partridge Family, too? And also, hahahahaha fuck you, Charley!
Regine makes it all the way down the hall before turning around and asking Charley if he has a light. He says sure, and proceeds to tear around his room trying to straighten up as she slooooooowly walks back toward his room. And now we know that if the vampire had been an attractive woman in the first movie, Charley would have died within the first ten minutes.
Regine finally makes it to his door and peers in the doorway, and Charley wastes zero time inviting her in, because Charley is a moron. A moron with a beautiful girlfriend, so I guess he’s a cheating moron as well. Way to go, moron.
Charley remembers that Regine wanted a light and finds a book of matches, then she says she’d kill for a cup of coffee, and he offers her instant. I’m more likely to kill you if you try to give me instant, but then again, I’m not prowling colleges and demanding coffee from hapless idiot boys. Then she says that he reminds her of someone who had great lips and knew how to use them, and does Charley know how to use his lips? Um, yeah, you just put them together and blow, right?
Sexy music starts playing, so we know we’re at the vampire seduction part, and sure enough, they start the kissing. This culminates with Regine peeling Charley’s Band-Aid off and scraping his shaving cut with an improbably long fang. Her eyes turn yellow, and Charley pulls back in time to see her eyes and fangs, and starts screaming . . .
. . . waking himself up with someone knocking on his door. Uh. Okay.
He desperately digs through a drawer until he finds a rosary, then opens the door brandishing it at . . . Alex. He hides it before she sees, says he was having a nightmare, they make up, and he throws the rosary across the room. Alex sees this and puts together that he thought she was a vampire. He replies that he guesses he’s not over it after all.
Well, yeah. Especially since there’s a new vampire in town gunning for you. But, if we want to go with the “rational” (read: boring) explanation, I’d say seeing Peter again brought it all back and triggered a relapse. But, I mean, we all know it’s really vampires.
Cut to a scene of the Vampire Gang in their limo. Boz gets out, knocks on a headlight to get it working again, then eats a moth caught in the grill after reciting its genus. Gross, but you do you, Discount Renfield. Inside the limo, Belle is still drinking from Unnamed Victim and offers Regine a taste. Louie, huddled naked in the back, asks for a bite, but the ladies are like, nah.
Back at Charley’s dorm room, Alex brings him a mug of what I assume to be instant coffee, then climbs into bed to cuddle, but Charley falls asleep almost immediately. Not before we find out that they haven’t had sex yet, though, proving Charley just has no luck getting into his girlfriends’ pants in any of these movies. After he falls asleep, Alex notices that his cut is bleeding more than it has any business doing. She wipes the blood and stares into the middle distance, looking worried.
The next morning, Charley wakes up to this note:
Charley smiles at the note, then opens his curtains and immediately freaks out at the sun shining on him. Oh. Um. It’s probably nothing to worry about, right?
Cut to Charley in Dr. Harrison’s office, even though I thought he was done with therapy. I guess he’s there again because of his “setback.” Also, the doc is played by Ernie Sabella, so my ears keep insisting Charley is getting therapy from Pumbaa. Hakuna Matata, bitches!
The doc tells Charley that this is all very normal, rattles off some psychobabble, then opens a drawer full of pills he tells Charley will keep him from dreaming. When Charley seems less than enthused about taking the No-Dream pills from Freddy vs Jason, the doc throws them back in the drawer and suggests Charley go bowling instead.
Cut to Alex walking into the student activities center and doing a hard double-take when she spots Charley bowling by himself. Wearing sunglasses indoors, I might add. She comments on both the bowling and the sunglasses, and seems very snobby about both. Charley defends the bowling as “doctor’s orders” and “actually kind of fun” and I hate that bowling needs to be defended. It is fun, guys! Lighten up!
Alex has tickets to the local symphony, which Charley fakes chest pain over, but then promises he’ll go and pick her up at 8. Who wants to bet he doesn’t?
Cut to Charley’s dorm room, where a guy named Richie, who is apparently Charley’s BFF but hasn’t been seen or mentioned in the first 26 minutes of this movie, comes busting in, waking him up; tells Charley it’s a quarter to eight; borrows a silk tie to impress some bohemian art chick, and dips back out again. Richie already seems exhausting. Charley freaks out because he’s been asleep for six hours and he’s about to miss the symphony with Alex.
Cut to Alex waiting outside the symphony hall for Charley, who is driving there, but gets distracted when he drives by Richie getting into the limo with Regine and Boz. Instead of meeting his girlfriend, Charley follows them. Because this best friend we’ve never heard of until literal minutes ago is Very Important, okay?
They end up at Peter’s apartment building, which I keep having to remind myself is also Regine’s apartment building, and she leads Richie inside as Boz drives off. Charley gets out of the car, then a dog barks and he starts to come to his senses and leave, but then the lights go on in an upstairs apartment so he gets back out of the car and tries to see what’s going on. It looks like what’s going on is kinky sex games where Regine and Belle have blindfolded Richie, so you should definitely spy on that, Charley.
Back at the symphony, Alex is getting more and more pissed about Charley not being there, so when Louie (who btw is played by Jon Gries, the guy who also gets turned into a werewolf in The Monster Squad) approaches her and asks if she has an extra ticket she could sell him, she tells him it must be his lucky night and hands him Charley’s ticket. Moral of the story? If you don’t want your girlfriend to dump you for a werewolf, show the fuck up on time when you have a date with her, jackass.
Charley, meanwhile, has climbed up the fire escape of the building across the street from Regine’s for a better view. And it still just looks like kinky sex games . . . until the fangs come out and Belle and Regine start biting Richie. Welp. Regine looks up and definitely sees Charley watching them. Yup.
Cut to Charley pounding on Peter’s door and apparently recapping the whole deal for him, although we don’t see it all. Peter is hesitant to help, not necessarily because he doesn’t believe it (and surely not because he’s scared, Mr. Great Vampire Killer over here!), but because these are his neighbors, and one doesn’t just go around accusing their neighbors of being vampires. I mean, especially not when it might still just be kinky sex games, right?
Charley storms out after accusing Peter of sounding just like his therapist, and grabs a stake and a hammer on his way out. Have fun storming the castle!
Peter calls Charley back, and cut to the two of them getting out of the elevator. Peter urges caution, pointing out that fools rush in, and Charley asks if Peter is so skeptical, then why did he change into his vampire killer costume? Peter doesn’t respond other than to huffily adjust his jacket, but like, what else are you going to confront potential vampires in? Your bathrobe?
They knock on Regine’s door, and a guy who looks like Lurch couldn’t decide whether to dress as a vampire or a werewolf lets them in and growls at them. Peter shrieks and cowers while covering his face, Charley brandishes his crucifix, and the guy covers his face and when he lowers his hands, his face is totally normal. He looks annoyed and tells them not to get carried away, all right?
They walk deeper into the apartment, and I’m having trouble believing this is the same building Peter lives in, because it looks like you could fit five of his apartment in Regine’s. Anyway, they walk into a room, where Peter joyfully points out it’s a party! He goes over to a giant bowl and pulls out a pair of shitty plastic fangs, delightedly chomping them at Charley. Roddy McDowall is so fucking adorable right here. Charley tells him he knows what this looks like, but Peter shouldn’t let down his guard. Agreed.
Charley points out Richie on a couch, and comments on how pale he is. I mean, I stay pale as fuck year-round, and I haven’t been playing kinky sex games with any vampires. Or . . . have I? (No. I have not.) Richie is out of it, slurring his words and insisting he doesn’t have a drinking problem. Well, I guess that depends, huh? Peter goes to the bar to get Richie some Perrier from Boz, while Richie kinda passes out and Charley checks his neck for fang marks. There are none, and Richie wakes back up, tells Charley it’s the wrong thing to do (um, huh?), then jumps up and walks away, grabbing the water out of Peter’s hands as he passes.
Charley tells Peter he guesses he was wrong and he’s sorry for dragging him into this, but Peter’s not mad. He says that a thing like this simply couldn’t happen twice! And since I know that there’s a Peter Vincent Chronicles comic book (not to mention a series of Fright Night comics that ran for two years), I’m going out on a limb and saying this actually happens quite a bit more than twice, so . . . sorry, Peter.
Peter is disappointed that Charley wants to leave so soon, and Peter never struck me as a party boy before, but who am I to argue. Before they can even make it out of the room, Belle and Regine show up. Regine sort of . . . sexy dances at Charley, and they do this movie’s version of the Jerry/Amy club dance from the first movie. Regine pulls Charley’s rosary out of somewhere, and proceeds to hypnotize him with it, swinging it between the two of them. Every time it gets near her, her face goes vampy – fangs and yellow eyes, then normal again when it swings toward Charley. Neat trick.
When the dance is over, Regine takes a bow and Charley snaps out of his vampy hypnosis. Regine takes out contacts and plastic fangs, or at least pretends to – we sure as hell don’t see them. Then a woman approaches for an autograph and asks her about performances. Yes, Regine is a performance artist. She takes it as a compliment that Charley thought she was the real thing. My skepticism couldn’t be cut with a chainsaw at this point, lady. Peter is not on the same page as me, and announces that the performance was absolutely astonishing. Good lord, how are you still alive, dude?
Charley tells Peter that she’s a performance artist, and see? there was a rational explanation after all, as if he wasn’t the one screaming about vampires once again. Goddammit, Charley. Then he suddenly remembers that Alex exists, and tears off in the Mustang to try to salvage his relationship.
Meanwhile, Peter is still at the party, apparently thrilled to be there. This is not what I would have expected based on his character in the first movie, but I can roll with it. He seems entranced when Regine and Belle start dancing together, then is somewhat concerned by the people in the corners getting their necks bit, but maybe he’s just thinking, “Oh, so it’s that kind of party.” Then he pulls out his cigarette case (a prop from his movie, Orgy of the Damned (and the first Fright Night)) and happens to notice that Regine and Belle aren’t casting reflections in the metal.
Performance artist my ass.
Peter freaks out and runs out of the apartment, where Regine is waiting down the hall from him. Vampire teleportation; don’t question it, okay?
He runs down the stairs, but she’s there waiting for him. He pulls out a cross, but Regine tells him that over the years you build up a tolerance to such trappings. Then she starts talking about how important blood is to her; Jerry Dandrige was a thousand years old when Peter spilled his blood, and oh yeah, he was her brother. She tells Peter that his punishment won’t be as severe as Charley’s; he came reluctantly (. . . I prefer to come enthusiastically . . .), and he’s a coward, isn’t he? Then she vanishes down the center of the stairwell and a second later a bat flies up and past Peter.
Okay. Couple things here. First off, how does she know Peter and Charley killed Jerry? Is there like a vampire grapevine that all the news travels through? Second, I’m trying to figure out vampire siblings. Were they siblings who both got turned? Were they born vampires? Or are they only siblings through vampire blood, ie they weren’t related as humans, but both got turned by the same vampire? I want more background, dammit!
Peter runs into his apartment and calls Charley, even though there’s no way he’s had time to get back home, and is in fact right now running into the symphony hall looking for Alex. Unfortunately for him, he’s having a real Spiderman 3 sort of moment, and the symphony doors are closed. Not that he had a ticket with him, anyway. Still trying to call Charley, Peter says to himself that he’ll just have to wait until sunrise.
Cut to a full moon, and Alex walking with Werewolf Louie, who is dancing around her and playing air-every-instrument-in-the-symphony. A dog barks at him, and as soon as Alex’s back is turned, he gives the dog wolf-face and growls at it. Alex thanks him for walking her back to her dorm; he tells her that Charley must be a real weenie for standing up a dynamite girl like her, because he doesn’t know all the other things that make Charley a real weenie, so I guess he’s just going with the first thing that comes to mind; after Alex goes inside, Boz is posted up at the side of the building and again reminds Louie that he was supposed to bite her on the neck, asshole. Louie tells him he wasn’t thirsty. Is that how it works for werewolves??? Is he some vampire-werewolf hybrid? Why is he being treated like a vampire when he’s clearly a werewolf?!
I like this movie, but fuck me this shit is confusing.
Back with Charley, which is never the most interesting place to be, he’s in the shower asking what’s happening to him. He’s a bit old for me to make puberty jokes, so we’re moving on. He also now has two Band-Aids covering his neck wound.
Cut to Charley tossing and turning in bed, but not in a fun way. The blinds are wide the fuck open, and fog starts pouring in, eventually turning into Regine. She looks at the half-started apology notes to Alex littering the bed, then smirks and tosses the papers and pen over her shoulder, then takes Charley’s Band-Aids off his neck and leans over him to bite his neck.
Meanwhile, Peter is still trying to call Charley from an alcove with multiple crosses on the wall, a giant cross in his arms, and candles and garlic bulbs in a circle around his chair. Is . . . is that really going to repel anything? I mean, just don’t invite the vampires in?
Peter wakes up to sunlight streaming in the window behind him, and the worst neck cramp in the world. Yeah, that rocking chair does not look comfortable at all. Quick story time: When my big doggie was at the end of her life, she had gone completely deaf and would bark literally non-stop all night long. The only way to keep her quiet was for me to sleep in the living room with her (she couldn’t go up or down the stairs to the bedrooms), and the only furniture I had to sleep on was a big oversized club chair. Comfortable for sitting, not so much for sleeping. I had to either curl up using one of the arms as a pillow, or stretch my legs over one arm while resting my head on the other. It sucked, and went on for weeks and weeks, and I had a cramped neck, back, and legs for that whole time. But I would much rather do that than sleep upright in a goddamn hard-backed rocking chair. Poor Peter.
Against all laws of physics, he’s able to jump up and run out of the apartment despite the night of chair-sleeping.
Back with Charley now, because the editor of this movie clearly hates recappers who are trying to make this fucking thing flow smoothly. He thrusts a bouquet of roses at Alex and apologizes. He says he hasn’t felt like himself the last few days, and she counters that maybe it’s the full moon. Apparently she’s not been herself either, since she should have been in the library twenty whole minutes ago. Charley starts to say maybe it’s because they’re falling in love, but she cuts him off and says that she came to college to be a clinical psychologist. Oooo-kaaaay, and that means you can’t fall in love, or what? I fail to see the connection between these two things. Either my brain isn’t firing on all cylinders today, or the writing in this movie is not the best ever.
Back to Peter. Apparently he jumped up and ran off to the TV studio because he wants to go on TV and warn people about the new vampires in town. Oh, honey, you really have turned into the Charley of this movie, huh? Mel, the . . . I still don’t know. Producer, director, something like that. Anyway, Mel tells Peter he’s fired as the set is being redecorated to include a life-size cardboard cutout of Regine. Huh, that was fast. Mel tells Peter that if he ever sees his face around the studio again, he’ll have him arrested and put away. Really? For what, exactly? Mel is a dick.
Back to Charley chasing Alex through campus, apologizing and trying to explain where he was last night. He says that maybe he was intimidated by “culture,” which leads to Alex insulting his taste in B-movies and him defending them, including something called Bloodsuckers from Beyond. No word on whether or not it starred Peter Vincent. Charley pretty much calls her a movie snob (agreed) and storms off. Then immediately comes back and apologizes, because he’s had a glimmer of self-awareness and realizes this is part of their issues. Nope, if someone is that derisive of your interests, you’re probably not meant for each other. Also, bad movies are fun, and I couldn’t be with someone who disagreed. (Fortunately, Boyfriend and I do not have this problem. He watches my bad movies; I watch his; we’re all good. Every weekend it’s like MST3K up in here.)
Peter comes running up on them, rambling about how it’s all happening again. Alex is visibly annoyed, and Charley tries to tell Peter there are no vampires, it was all part of the performance. Even when Peter tells them Regine didn’t cast a reflection, they don’t believe him. He probably should have mentioned that she claimed to be Jerry Dandrige’s sister out for revenge. Vampire or not, that would be something to take seriously. But instead, Peter just says he warned them, and stalks off home to start throwing everything he owns into a suitcase.
Running away. My hero.
Back on campus, Charley is getting far too interested in girls’ necks, and spits out cafeteria pizza made with a secret ingredient: a whole bulb of garlic on the pie. I don’t know in what universe garlic is considered a “secret ingredient” on pizza, but here we are, folks. Charley runs away, leaving the poor cafeteria girl disgustedly holding his plate of spit-out pizza.
Charley runs to his therapist’s office, but he’s out for the day. This gives the perfect opportunity for some exposition courtesy of the television news, and Charley finds out that Unnamed Victim’s corpse was found in a cemetery (appropriate?) and BFF Richie has been reported missing. Gee, Charley, do you think it might be vampires again?
Charley runs to Peter’s, but alas our fearless vampire killer has scarpered. Charley pulls paper and a pencil out of God knows where and writes Peter a quick note to let him know he believes him, and shoves it under the door. Then he spots Boz coming into the building and follows him, because why not. Charley is not a moth, and therefore is probably totally safe from our bug-eating friend. He follows him down to the building’s basement/boiler room and discovers not Freddy Krueger, but a coffin.
Meanwhile, Alex is in the library looking for the vampire books Charley mentioned to her – there are approximately fifteen copies of Dracula on the shelf – proving that maybe she is willing to give his interests a shot.
Back in the basement, Charley lifts the lid of the coffin and sees Belle inside. He lowers the lid carefully and breaks a leg off of a wooden chair nearby, but before he can get to the staking, Boz comes back. Charley hides behind some junk, and I’m thinking there’s no way Boz (who I’ve waited this long to mention is Brian Thompson, aka the Alien Bounty Hunter from The X-Files) doesn’t fucking see him, but he’s more interested in poking through the junk pile until he finds a tasty beetle to eat. Mmm. Crunchy.
I guess that’s all Boz came down here to do, because he leaves after crunching up the bug. Seems like a lot of trouble to go to when there are literally bugs everywhere. Charley continues exploring the basement, and comes across this area that’s part cave and part elevator shaft. I can’t make any sense out of this basement, but that seems to be a theme for me with all things Fright Night, so again, I’m rolling with it. He discovers Regine’s coffin and raises his chair leg to stake her. Her eyes open and glow red; Charley’s eyes glow red; he puts down the chair leg. Oh, cool, you’re her bitch now, Charley. Enjoy that for all of eternity, I guess.
Charley wanders out into the sunset and into the street, where he almost gets hit by a car. This brings him back to his senses, as well it should.
Back to Alex (this movie is a dick to recappers with all the jumping around, I tell you what), who is speed-reading one of the eight hundred versions of Dracula she found by running her whole fucking arm down the page as she reads. Werewolf hand reaches out for her, but when she starts and spins around, Louie is there looking perfectly human. She says he scared her, and he replies that she looks good scared. Dude. No. This is not how you hit on girls. (I’m predisposed to like Jon Gries because of his character on The Pretender, despite the fact that his movie roles are rarely as likable. He’s an almost-likable creep here.)
Louie tells Alex that her boyfriend is a lucky guy, then says he’ll swing back by at nine and if Charley has stood her up again, he’ll take her out for coffee. Alex agrees, but says it won’t be necessary – Charley will show up! And this, guys, is how you lose your girlfriend to a werewolf. I mean, he might have dog breath, but at least he’s there.
Louie meets up with Boz and Belle outside, and surprisingly Boz doesn’t tell him he was supposed to bite her on the neck. Fuck that running gag, I suppose. Louie expresses his enthusiasm for how interesting things are getting, then spots Charley heading into the library with dinner for Alex. Louie wants to take Charley out so he can take Alex out, you know, but Boz pulls him back. Charley isn’t his. Then he suggests they go bowling to get Louie’s mind off the girl.
Near Dark has the “vampires tear up a bar” scene; Fright Night 2 has the “vampires go bowling” scene: they kill the employees and proceed to roller skate into the pins (Belle); kick the balls down the lanes (Boz); and make general fools of themselves (Louie). All set to “In the Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett. This looks vastly more fun than the last time I went bowling. (It was a late-night laser light bowling thing, which should have been fun, but I went with Major Tom (last referenced in the intro of Dove and my Seed of Chucky recap), who, despite saying he was up for anything and would give anything a chance, started asking if I wanted to leave after the first game we bowled. No, motherfucker, the whole point is that you pay one price and bowl as many games as you can in the two hours it lasts! Then he just complained the whole time, while also refusing to leave because it’s what I’d wanted to do. Miserable time. Miserable dude.)
Charley meets up with Alex at the library, where she has just finished reading Dracula and compliments him on his taste in literature. Huh. Wonder if she’ll give Bloodsuckers from Beyond a shot now. She says she feels like she understands him a lot better now, and apologizes for being a jerk about his interests earlier. Aw, how sweet.
Back to Peter, who is sitting down at the bar in a pool hall that most definitely does not look like his usual type of place. He does the thing where you ask for a beer, and the bartender magically knows what brand, type, and receptacle you want it served in; then we’re back with Charley and Alex so he can tell her that there was something he was going to tell her, but he can’t remember. You know, on account of being Regine’s thrall now.
Back over to the bowling vampires, although at this point I think Belle is the only actual vampire currently in the building. Louie is emulating Bill Paxton in Near Dark, hopping up on the counter and draining someone’s blood into a beer glass before drinking it (IS THIS WHAT WEREWOLVES DO?!?!), then laughing his ass off as someone’s head is returned to Boz in the ball return. Ah, you werewolves and your wacky pranks and hijinks! The boys start to fight, and Belle shuts them up by turning on the TV where we’re now treated to Regine’s Fright Night.
At the bar, Peter also sees it, because I guess every television in town is permanently tuned to the local access channel. I can’t help but notice his beer mug is already about two-thirds empty, so it seems he was chugging that bitch.
Charley has brought a portable TV to the library to watch the Philharmonic while he and Alex eat dinner, but he, too, tunes it to Fright Night. He incredulously wonders where Peter is, because I guess Peter didn’t have time to mention he got fired amid the kids’ condescending skepticism earlier.
So, despite not casting a reflection, Regine shows up on camera. I don’t know what the rules are anymore. Rather than introducing cheesy B-movies, Regine does some weird, creepy interpretive dance routine while our heroes look on from their respective television sets. A man approaches Peter at the bar, saying he looks familiar and asking what he does. Peter glumly mutters “vampire killer,” and the man is like, uh whut? If he actually does recognize Peter and isn’t just handing him a pickup line, he should probably realize that he was in fact a vampire killer in the movies and that’s why he looks familiar, but this dude apparently isn’t that bright. I guess the two-thirds of a mug of shitty beer gave Peter some liquid courage, because his face slowly starts lighting up as he repeats that he is a vampire killer, are you hard of hearing? He kills vampires, dammit!
My . . . hero . . . ?
Peter drives away in a hurry, while everyone else in town watches this weird-ass performance. Charley starts feeling faint and turns the TV off; Alex dumps the roses out of the glass she’s using as a vase and goes to fill it with drinking water for him. As she does, we see Louie lurking. Also, I think I’ve been wrong about why Alex is in the library – she must work there, as it appears to be closed with no one else around. Then again, who the fuck knows? This movie is not concerned with the finer details.
Peter pulls up outside the TV studio, then we’re back in the library, where Louie stops being remotely likable and turns into a real asshole. He grabs Alex’s arm, tells her again that she looks good scared, then starts wolfing out on her and Charley. He chases them through the stacks, looking a little more wolfy each time he pops up, until Alex grabs the roses and shoves them into his face and mouth. This hurts him, causing him to breathe fire and jump out the window. Agreed. Roses suck. Give me a nice bouquet of daisies any day.
Then Charley, still on the floor, points and exclaims, “That was not group hypnosis!”
We never thought it fucking was, my dude.
At the TV station, Peter has gotten inside just as they come back from commercial, because I guess they don’t have the budget to hire a security guard. At the library, Alex wouldn’t have known to use the roses if she hadn’t read Dracula, and she asks what is happening?! In response, Regine-on-the-TV-that-got-turned-back-on-during-the-fight welcomes them to Fright Night, and says that like her predecessor used to say, the forces of darkness are everywhere.
Then Peter runs onto the stage, yelling and trying to stake her. Hmm. Maybe don’t try to do that shit on live TV, hon. Oh, I guess they do have the money for a security guard, because he, along with like three other people, grab Peter and drag him away.
In the library, a bunch of cops show up for Charley and Alex, too, although I’m having a hard time figuring out why. What did they do? Vandalize the library?
At the police station, Peter is raving about vampires while the cops figure out what to do with him. A cop tells him they just want to help him get better, and Peter tells them to bring the vampires here so he can kill them! Um . . . I’m now starting to think I greatly underestimated how much Peter had to drink. There’s no way a sober man could possibly think this is a good idea. Then the cops drag him off to the state hospital.
Meanwhile, Regine bails Charley out of jail, and Dr. Harrison bails Alex out, and I still have no idea who called the cops on them or why. Alex tells an officer she wants to post bond for Charley, and he tells her she’s too late – a woman who “didn’t look like she was from around here” already bailed him out. Alex tells the doc that they have to find Peter Vincent, and the officer tells her she’s late on that count, too.
Cut to the state hospital, and Peter being walked through the common area to his room. Another patient, Fritzy, recognizes him, and Peter tells Fritzy that he’s after a real vampire, but these idiots don’t believe him! I mean . . . running around yelling about vampires doesn’t exactly make you look like the picture of perfect mental health, my friend. And here I give Peter Vincent the same advice I gave Charley in the first movie: think up a damn cover story instead of screeching about vampires, you idiot.
Anyway, either Fritzy is a super fanboy, or he also has seen some shit, because he believes Peter. (I’m not going to say it’s because he’s “crazy,” because having a mental illness doesn’t make you believe in vampires, unless you are sharing someone else’s very specific delusion.)
Alex and Dr. Harrison drive toward the state hospital to try to get Peter released, but get stopped at a train crossing.. (I live down the road from several very active train tracks, and am super sympathetic to the frustration here.) After a minute, Alex says she doesn’t think there’s a train coming, then looks over to see the doc sprouting fangs.
She gasps and runs out of the car and down the tracks, but you know, teleporting vampires and whatnot. He pops out in front of her, psychoanalyzes her a bit, and fighting ensues. She hits him with a rock, then pulls up part of a railroad tie, hits him with it, then stakes him. He tells her it didn’t go far enough in; tries to talk her through her feelings, then falls forward to drive it the rest of the way through his chest himself. He is way too fucking chatty throughout this death, too. I guess it’s meant to be amusing, but this really doesn’t work for me.
Alex gets into the hospital by using Dr. Harrison’s information and telling them Peter is her patient and he’s in the wrong hospital. You know this ruse isn’t going to hold up for long, but I’m shocked it even got her in the door. Movie logic!
She bursts into Peter’s room and demands the nurse go get his transfer papers in order; Fritzy is mopping and talking to himself when he spots Dr. Harrison’s photo ID. The nurse grabs it out of his hand, wise to the ruse now, and Fritzy slams a bucket down on her head and pulls the fire alarm. Then he attacks the orderly who was with Alex and Peter, hands Peter his clothes and tells him he can go kill his vampire now. Fritzy for the win!
In the car, Peter marvels that one meets friends in the strangest of places, and I realize I would have loved a series of stories that’s just Peter and Fritzy, out hunting vampires together. Fritzy only has like a minute of screen time, but I already like him more than Charley.
Alex asks if Peter thinks Charley is all right, and Peter tells her that this is war, and they must prepare. Eh, I don’t know if war is the proper term here. I mean, it’s two vampires, a werewolf, and a . . . whatever Boz is. And Charley, who is sort of half-vamp and under Regine’s thrall at the moment. So that could be an issue.
They stop at a church to steal (or “borrow,” as Peter promises God) holy water, communion wafers, and what I think is a priest’s stole. (After some googling, I think this vestment is actually a chasuble. Whoops.) I’m not sure you really need that, but I suppose it’s all about the aesthetic.
At the apartment building, Belle and Regine are giving Charley a bath while Regine exposits that soon Charley will taste blood for the first time, and then he’ll be immortal, and Regine can torture him for eternity. Okay, but has she even told him that she’s Jerry’s sister? Because I’m pretty sure she only told Peter that. Anyway, unlike me, Charley is too out of it to question any of this.
Peter and Alex head to his apartment to load up on assorted vampire-killing weapons used in his movies – a bejeweled cross from Scream For Your Supper; a miniature stake gun from Bloodfeast on Broadway; a crossbow from Jaws of the Vampire (Peter gets a little misty over that one). He names off two or three other movies as they pour holy water and use a pencil sharpener to sharpen mini stakes, and says that they don’t make movies like that anymore. I would one million percent watch any and all of the movies he named. The titles are delightful.
They start to head out the door, then realize they forgot the rope (from Creatures from Carpathia, and now I’m wondering if Peter owns a single thing that wasn’t from one of his movies), but then he stops and wonders what they’re doing – he can’t go dangling from a rope like Tarzan! I don’t recall Tarzan dangling that much, but who knows what was going on under that loincloth, right? Alex tells him they have to try, and next thing we know, they’re edging along the ledge on the outside of the building.
Neither one of them are wearing appropriate footwear for this, by the way. Peter even slips once, nearly giving me a heart attack, but Alex grabs and steadies him. They find a convenient window to sneak in, where Charley has just been left alone on a couch, but then Richie walks in and Alex and Peter have to hide behind the curtains. This works because vampires in this movie seem to have extremely shitty situational awareness.
Charley marvels that Richie is here because he thought he was dead; Richie counters that yup, he got up off the slab at the morgue just to be here tonight. He mentions that Regine is really pissed at Charley, but she’s got a sense of humor so it’ll blow over. Seriously, has anyone told Charley that this is Jerry’s sister? Charley wants to know why Richie didn’t have puncture marks at the party; Richie tells him it was makeup. That’s some serious stage makeup to cover up the holes Regine made, but okay bro.
Richie leaves so Peter and Alex can come out and run over to Charley, but then Richie comes back in with a tea set. Oh. Whoops. Peter has one of those exterminator backpacks filled with holy water, and uses the little wand thingie to spray Richie down with holy water. The power of Orkin compels you, motherfucker!
Richie’s face and throat melt in a spray of waxy goo. Peter grabs Charley and tries to get out the window with him while Alex runs around barricading the doors (there appear to be roughly five hundred ways into this room), but Charley starts vamping out on them. Alex throws the priest chasuble around him, and this works? Okay. Charley no longer wants to bite Peter. They go for the window, but Louie is crouched upside down outside, and grabs Peter and slams the window shut. Peter is hanging onto the ledge for dear life while Louie plays “this little piggie” with his fingers. Weak, Louie. Now you’re just a douche.
Charley grabs the crossbow and fires an arrow through the window, hitting Louie right through the heart. He falls into the fountain below, turns naked human again, says, “bulls-eye, dude,” then dies. One down.
The kids pull Peter back inside and run through this labyrinthine apartment while someone, probably Boz, attempts to break down one of the barricaded doors. They encounter Belle, who disappears when they shoot the crossbow at her, then Boz grabs the mini-stakes they shoot at him out of the air. Man, how do I get reflexes like that? (If it involves eating bugs, never mind.)
Belle pops back up behind them and uses Alex as a human shield, then Regine makes her entrance, lighting every candle in the place with a flick of her cloak. She tries to get in Charley’s head; Boz knocks Peter out; then he and Belle pull Alex’s hair back to make her neck more accessible. Charley drops his weapon and the priest chasuble and we all think he’s gonna make Alex his first post-bite snack, right?
Alex tells him she loves him, which makes him pause, then appears to do nothing, as he’s got yellow eyes and fangs growing. Then he fights it, grabs Belle’s hands and pulls her Freddy Krueger nails into Boz’s stomach, ripping him open. Maggots and other bugs pour out, and he sort of . . . deflates. Was he just a skin suit filled with bugs? Because, gross. Oh yeah: two down.
Meanwhile, Peter has regained consciousness and nudged the curtain next to his hand, which made him realize there’s daylight outside. It’s on now, bitches!
A wind blows through, putting out all the candles and slamming the thousand doors shut, and Belle comes levitating at the group. Charley plays matador with the chasuble, wrapping Belle up in it. She glows from the inside, then melts away like flavorless gelatin. Three down. Regine is perched atop some architecture inside, screeching. Peter remembers daylight, and pulls the curtain aside, causing Regine to screech some more, turn into a bat, break through a door, and fly somewhere the light isn’t. I don’t know, I’ve given up on figuring out how this apartment, and the building in general, is set up.
Our vampire-killing trio make it out to the hallway in time to see the elevator doors closing. They pry them open, see the elevator going down, and Charley throws his weapon up into the workings to stop the elevator. Then Regine begins ripping the bottom out of the elevator, and Charley remembers her coffin in the basement.
Peter wants to wait until the sun gets higher, but Charley says that’ll be too late for him – the sun will kill him. The kids start down to the basement to head Regine off, and Peter stays up top in case she tries to come back up. Not sure why she would do that, but okay.
Despite not wanting to dangle from a rope like Tarzan (the rope has not thus far been used in any capacity, by the way), Peter begins climbing down the elevator shaft like he’s confused and thinks this is actually another Planet of the Apes movie. Channel your inner Cornelius/Caesar, my friend.
The kids get to Regine’s coffin first and start filling it with communion wafers in the shape of a cross, which isn’t a bit of vampire lore I’d heard of before this, but it makes sense why it would work. I guess. What if vampires are atheists?
Peter makes his way onto the top of the elevator, but has to set his cross down to open the hatch. Once he gets it open, Bat Regine is right there waiting for him. He slams it back down and backs into a corner while Bat Regine breaks up through the ceiling of the elevator. He shoves his cross in her face, and for some reason it works this time. Either he’s found his faith yet again, or she’s more vulnerable what with the sun and being in bat form? I dunno; I’ve given up on figuring out the rules.
Bat Regine flies out the floor of the elevator, freaks out at the wafer cross in her coffin, flies toward Alex, who brandishes her own cross at her, then frantically flies around like an asshole and disappears. Alex gets knocked out during this, dropping her cross in a ray of sunlight, creating more than one problem for Charley.
Non-bat Regine appears from behind a column and tells Charley she’s not letting him get away that easily. She laments the destruction of her coffin, but tells Charley one mustn’t get too attached to material things, and she knows plenty of places to hide out – nearby places, places with miles of tunnels. Then she looks toward the elevator and sees Peter climbing back up the shaft (um . . . not a euphemism?), and tells Charley it looks like his friend has given up on him. She mocks the “fearless vampire killer,” and hey! I’m the only one who gets to do that, asshole!
Regine holds a hand out to Charley, who starts to take it, but upstairs Peter has rigged up some Indiana Jones bullshit with the sunlight and part of a broken mirror, and shines a ray of light, literally and figuratively, down into the basement. Charley grabs Regine and yanks her into the light, where she begins melting, then catches fire.
Alex has regained consciousness, and she and Charley hold each other while Peter keeps the light on Regine, who finally throws herself into her coffin, where she explodes. She reaches a skeleton arm out, which drops and shatters all over the floor.
Four down, and hooray for our fearless vampire killers.
Everyone relaxes, and we cut to sometime later, Alex and Charley lying on the ground in the sunlight, crosses around their necks, recapping the movie for each other. Alex asks what if there are more vampires out there, and Charley says that forewarned is forearmed, as Peter always says, and they’ll just live their lives. Maybe get an apartment together, get married, make babies, buy a farm, and a mule, and a banjo. Okay, Charley, calm down there. Alex says it takes practice to make babies, and they pull the blanket up over them as we hear the sounds of bats squealing overhead.
And I still want to know – did anyone ever tell Charley why Regine targeted him?!
Nostalgia Glasses Off
Like I said in the intro, this is a really solid sequel. It’s not perfect, and there are things that don’t really work (the entire psychiatrist subplot seems pointless; was he part of Regine’s group, or just a rando?), but there’s enough enjoyable stuff that I definitely recommend seeking it out. It’s difficult to find, but some lovely person has uploaded it to YouTube, bless them.
I think it’s not a secret that I’m not a fan of Charley, and it’s really Peter Vincent that makes these movies for me. Chris Sarandon was a great antagonist in the first movie, but none of the vampires here are all that memorable. Julie Carmen is fine as Regine, but unfortunately not a standout. Charley’s best friend in this one, Richie, is practically a non-character. I mean, love him or hate him, you remember Evil Ed. Richie, not so much.
The first movie was originally supposed to end with Peter Vincent doing his show, introducing a Dracula movie, then looking into the camera and saying “Hello, Charley” as he transformed into a vampire, then fade to black. I think a sequel with a vampire Peter would have been interesting as hell, and now I’m really wondering what that would have looked like instead of this.
Now for the weird true crime part of the Fright Night saga! So. Once upon a time, Roddy McDowall decided he wanted to produce a third Fright Night movie, bringing Tom Holland back in to direct. Through some shuffling, the rights had ended up with Jose Menendez. Yup, that Menendez, famously murdered by his sons. Roddy had already met with him himself several times (and apparently described Menendez as the worst human being he had ever met, so that’s something), and was trying to prepare Holland for a meeting with him, as unpleasant as it would seemingly be. However, two weeks before that meeting was to take place, Erik and Lyle Menendez killed their parents. This put an end to any plans for a Fright Night 3, and also killed the marketing campaign for this movie, which did well in the two theaters it opened in in the US, but was quickly relegated to home video. Which is why to this day, there are people who are unaware of its existence.
And now I realize I’m ending this recap on a real bummer note. I apologize for that, and to make up for it, remember that I said The Peter Vincent Chronicles comic is a thing that exists? It looks very cool, and I think I’m going to have to order it with some of my Coronapocalypse stimulus money.
Welcome to Fright Night, friends.