It kills me that Hudson Horror Show is only twice a year! Thankfully the torch is kept burning between show dates, with special screenings at The Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers, NY. To whet our appetites before their next 12-hour film fest, the Hudson Horror crew once again took over the Drafthouse to deliver a pair of movies featuring fearsome furry fiends: SILVER BULLET and FRIGHT NIGHT PART 2!
After battling traffic to get to the theater, my friends and I arrived with a good twenty minutes to spare. We took our seats, placed our orders, and eventually settled in for an intro by Hudson Horror frontman Chris Alo, who then called me up front to do some giveaways! After asking a handful of trivia questions, and handing out five brand new DVDs of SILVER BULLET (and one copy of CHRISTINE), I took my seat and prepared for a film that’s been on my 35mm bucket list for quite some time!
MOVIE #1: STEPHEN KING’S SILVER BULLET (1985)
When I was a kid, this film adaptation of Stephen King’s novella, Cycle of the Werewolf terrified me! I don’t know what it was about this movie that ignited my primal fear of lycanthropes, but it still has some effect on me today, as I admittedly grew a bit tense as the projector fired up. SILVER BULLET takes place in the fictional town of Tarker’s Mills, which finds itself plagued by a serial killer.
But this killer is only active during nights of the full moon, and after repeated attacks, Tarker’s Mills becomes somewhat of a ghost town. Caught up in the center of the mystery is a young disabled boy named Marty Coslaw (the late Corey Haim), who surmises that a supernatural creature is responsible for the monthly murders. Eventually Marty discovers that his theory is correct when he’s accosted by the werewolf late one night after he sneaks out of his home to set off some fireworks.
He escapes certain death by hitting the beast in the eye with a bottle rocket, then correctly deduces that the human identity of the monster will be missing an eye. Eventually, with the aid of his sister Jane (Megan Follows) and lovable drunken Uncle Red (Gary Busey!), Marty discovers the identity of the culprit, then tries to save his family, and town, from the creature’s continued lunar raids.
After having a silver bullet made, Marty, Jane, and Red prepare for a final confrontation with the werewolf on Halloween night, when the moon is full. Will they succeed in stopping the monster’s reign of terror, or will their obituaries be posted days later in the local newspaper? Watch SILVER BULLET to find out!
Boasting a great cast (which also features Everett McGill, Terry O’Quinn, and James Gammon!), an awesome score by Jay Chattaway (MANIAC COP, RED SCORPION, INVASION U.S.A., et al.), a screenplay by Stephen King, and creature effects by Carlo Rambaldi (E.T. – THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL, STEPHEN KING’S CAT’S EYE), this is one of the best werewolf flicks you will ever see! Gary Busey totally steals the show, and TV director Daniel Attias adds a lot of drama and atmosphere to the proceedings! If you haven’t seen this, be sure to give it a watch!
MOVIE #2: FRIGHT NIGHT PART 2 (1988)
After a short break, followed by more awesome giveaways (where I nabbed a cool pair of hats from Inked Up Merchandise), the night’s second film began to roll. I haven’t seen FRIGHT NIGHT PART 2 since it came out on VHS, so I was eager to give it another look. Taking place three years after the original, Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) has been given a clean bill of mental health by his psychologist.
Charley now “realizes” that his next door neighbor was not a vampire, but a serial killer, and now he’s ready to move on and start his college career. But very strange things begin happening to him when a beautiful woman named Regine (Julie Carmen) steps into his life. Soon Charley is unknowingly caught up in a plot to make both he, and horror host Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) suffer for slaying Jerry Dandridge. Charley is slowly being turned into a vampire by Regine so that his torture can be everlasting, so it is up to Peter Vincent and Charley’s new love interest, Alex (Traci Lind), to rescue him.
Along the way, they must fend off Regine’s henchmen, which include a bug-devouring “Renfield” named Bozworth (Brian Thompson), a roller-skating vampire named Belle (Russell Clark), and a comic relief “werewolf” named Louie (Jon Gries, best known as the “I’m a Werewolf!” dude in THE MONSTER SQUAD)! Will they defeat Regine and save Charley from eternal damnation? Well since this movie is currently out of print, watch it HERE to see for yourself!
FRIGHT NIGHT PART 2 is a lot of fun and I’m really glad I finally got to give it another shot. While it doesn’t live up to the excellence of its predecessor, this sequel has a lot to offer. It reunites Roddy McDowall and William Ragsdale, and turns the latter into a “damsel in distress.” While nothing new (see also ONCE BITTEN), it is a nice flip on typical genre conventions. Julie Carmen’s Regine proves to be a capable villain that typically uses her feminine wiles, rather than brute force, to deal with her enemies. She illustrates this beautifully by literally stealing Peter Vincent’s TV hosting gig in the movie’s third act!
And Regine’s gang of monsters really help raise the bar here because they are a lot of fun to watch, particularly Jon Gries’ Louie. Intended to be a stand-in for Stephen Geoffrey’s “Evil Ed,” Louie is kind of a goofball and seems mostly harmless, until he wolfs out. And his instantaneous transformations make for some perfect jump-scares, as evidenced by the young girl sitting two seats to my left in the theater. All in all, FRIGHT NIGHT PART 2 is a solid followup to a heralded classic, and it’s a shame that it bombed when it hit theaters back in 1988.
Once the film ended, I bid several of my Hudson Horror pals goodnight, then embarked on a long, (and thankfully uneventful) three-hour journey home. Looking back, this was definitely another win for the Hudson Horror gang, as the theater seemed to be almost filled to capacity. No one was thrown out for being disruptive, our food and drinks arrived in a timely manner, and both 35mm prints (especially FRIGHT NIGHT PART 2) were in great shape!
With this event now a fond memory, many are looking ahead to the next thrilling chapter of Poughkeepsie’s famous Hudson Horror Show! The upcoming fourteenth edition of the beloved film fest promises some really heavy hitters in its lineup, and I for one cannot wait to partake in the cinematic madness! On Saturday, December 3rd, those of you that are brave enough to buy tickets, will be privy to SIX 35mm prints of some amazing Cult, Horror, and Sci-Fi films!
Along with a mystery movie (provided by Vinegar Syndrome), there will be screenings of Roger Corman’s DEATH RACE 2000 (which is getting a legit sequel next year!), THE HITCHER, Meir Zarchi’s I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, THE HOWLING (which is being sponsored by yours truly), and Pal Verhoeven’s ROBOCOP! It truly is a lineup to die for! So save the date, then head over to www.hudsonhorror.com to secure your tickets now, and I’ll see you there Vault Dwellers!