Plot: What’s it about?
A lot of time has passed, four years to be exact, since Charlie Brewster (William Ragsdale) had an encounter with a vampire. As time has passed, he has started to think those events were just imagined and that perhaps, vampires don’t even exist. Although he was there and lived through the horrific ordeal, it all seems less real to him as time rolls past. But that is about to change, as he is soon due for a reminder of how real it all was. Regina Dandridge (Julie Carmen) and some odd friends soon move into the neighborhood and take an interest in Charlie, as well as his new girlfriend Alex (Traci Lin). Even though Charlie wants to believe vampires aren’t real, he has a tough time when he sees Regina and her friends move in. His old friend and vampire slayer Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) is over at the time, when the two witness the new neighbors hauling in some strange items, such as coffins. Now all of his sessions in therapy have been tossed to the side, as he is once again convinced that a vampire lives next door. Not just one this time either, but four of them and bizarre ones at that. And to make matters worse, Charlie can’t stop thinking about Regina, he even dreams about her at night. As he continues to be seduced by her vampiric charms, can Peter and Alex manage to save him?
The original Fright Night was by no means a masterpiece, but it was a solid movie and made for a fun experience. That film had effective doses of humor and horror, blended together by a well crafted script and some good performances. This sequel, Fright Night Part II isn’t the worst sequel I have ever seen, but it is unable to keep pace with the original. I think director Tommy Lee Wallace (Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Vampires: Los Muertos) has a hand in the failure, as his style is mediocre and he usually can’t seem to build momentum. A lot of small scenes have success, but then the film never builds on that success, so we have a lot of missed chances with Fright Night Part II, which could have been a fun picture. I do like the coven of vampires here however, as it has an odd assortment of bloodsuckers, to say the least. These weird vampires can be quite entertaining, when the material doesn’t take the characters too over the top. Roddy McDowall (The Black Hole) and William Ragsdale (Tv’s Herman’s Head) reprise their roles here, while Traci Lin (Red Meat) and Julie Carmen (In The Mouth of Madness) add new spark to the cast. So while some good moments do surface here, Fright Night Part II simply isn’t as good as it should have been. Artisan’s disc is as bare bones as it gets, not to mention a full frame visual presentation. So unless you’re a diehard fan, a rental should suffice in this case.
Video: How does it look?
Fright Night Part II is presented in full frame, instead of the proper widescreen presentation. I am displeased with Artisan’s recent tidal wave of full frame releases, as most have been films that were intended to be seen in widescreen, such as this release. Even if you look past the pan & scan issue here however, you can tell Artisan spent minimal time on this presentation. The print has all kinds of grain and debris, which results in a softer image at times. I found colors to be solid, but unremarkable, while contrast is the same, it looks decent in most scenes, but never comes off as all that impressive. In the end, this is about a VHS level visual presentation, so let’s hope Artisan gives us a proper widescreen edition at some point.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio is a step up from the video, but it still offers a rather basic experience. I didn’t detect much surround presence, but the musical soundtrack pops up in the rear channels, as well as some atmospheric elements. Not enough to be memorable, but enough surround use to keep the audio active and somewhat immersive. The sound effects are mostly anchored in the front channels, but all the elements seem in proper order here. And as I said before, the music is well handled in this track, while dialogue is clean and never suffers from volume imbalances. Not a dynamic soundtrack, but a more than solid overall presentation.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes no bonus materials.