Why Both Sequels Failed (& How Tom Holland Can Get It Right)


There have been two failed attempts at making a Fright Night 2, but creator Tom Holland is developing what could be the sequel fans always wanted.

There have been two failed attempts at making a Fright Night 2, but creator Tom Holland is developing what could be the sequel fans always wanted. The original Fright Night movie, released in 1985, is a true cult classic, and for fans of 1980s horror, is often considered the best vampire tale to emerge from the decade. When one’s competition in that regard is The Lost Boys and Near Dark, a victory is something to really be proud of.

A deft blend of horror and comedy, full of winks and nods at the genre itself, Fright Night is a movie that holds up just as well today, over 30 years after its release. Unsurprisingly, Hollywood attempted a remake in 2011, as is seemingly obligated for every 1980s horror classic. While a decent enough film on its own, especially thanks to a fun villain performance by Colin Farrell, Fright Night 2011 pales in comparison to the original, managing to not best it in any noticeable way.

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Of course, that wasn’t the first attempt to continue Fright Night‘s legacy. That came in 1989, with sequel Fright Night Part 2, which Holland didn’t return to write and direct, and it showed. The 2013 sequel to the remake was really bad in its own right, but Fright Night fortunes could be looking up soon.

Why Fright Night Sequels Failed (& How Holland Can Get It Right)

Julie Carmen in Fright Night Part 2

Fright Night Part 2, while not abysmal, was very underwhelming, with little of the original’s charm. Similarly, Fright Night 2: New Blood, was bizarrely less a sequel to the okay remake and more another increasingly soulless remake of the original. As confirmed in fall 2020, Tom Holland is back to write and direct a proper Fright Night 2, one that goes the Halloween 2018 route and ignores prior follow-ups. Holland’s sequel is called Fright Night: Resurrection, and aims to correct the mistakes made previously.

Holland believes that one of the main problems plaguing every other Fright Night since the original has been a lack of faithfulness to what made his film great. Instead of just being set in the same or a similar world, and sharing character names, a real Fright Night 2 needs to tackle similar themes, and bring back all the important characters from the original. That very much includes villains Jerry Dandridge and Billy Cole, as well as Charley Brewster’s friend Evil Ed, despite their onscreen deaths. Holland hasn’t mentioned her specifically yet, but Amanda Bearse’s Amy could theoretically return too. Of course, Roddy McDowall’s death precludes Peter Vincent, as a recasting just wouldn’t feel right. It’s certainly possible a similar substitute character could be introduced though.

Fright Night’s playful spirit and horror reverence could also return under Holland, as it’s no secret he patterned Charley after his younger self, and his own real-life horror fandom. With the creator back at the helm, Fright Night: Resurrection might finally give fans another chapter worth seeking out. Both Fright Night 2s, and to an extent the remake, felt like someone trying to approximate what made Fright Night work, but without the spark that made the 1985 film so special. Holland may be the man capable of tapping into the past to save Fright Night‘s future, freeing it from mostly bland replacement vampire villains, characters that aren’t nearly as likable, and themes that don’t resonate with the original’s down to Earth universality.

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Updated: November 30, 2020 — 10:30 pm

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