– by Gig Patta

frightnightThe “Fright Night” franchise is not dead yet. Not at all.

The somewhat sequel “Fright Night 2: New Blood” is released today on DVD and Blu-ray. In this movie, actress Jamie Murray plays the vampire seductress Gerri who preys over Charley.

This sequel is kind of a remake of the original movie re-introducing the main fan favorite characters of Charley Brewster, Peter Vincent, Ed Bates and Amy Peterson. And the primary adversary is a female vampire instead of suspicious vampire neighbor Jerry.

The horror comedy film introduces a new cast to star alongside Murray with Will Payne, Sean Power, Sacha Parkinson and Chris Waller.

Here’s the synopsis: By day Gerri Dandridge is a sexy professor, but by night she transforms into a real-life vampire with an unquenchable thirst for human blood. So when a group of high school students travel abroad to study in Romania, they find themselves ensnared in Gerri’s chilling web of lust and terror. Charley and “Evil” Ed must stop Gerri from drinking and bathing in the blood of a “new moon virgin,” which just so happens to be Charley’s ex-girlfriend, Amy. They enlist help from Peter Vincent, the vampire hunting host of a reality show called “Fright Night,” to drive a stake through Gerri’s plan and save Amy from a fate far worse than death.

Latino-Review had an exclusive interview last month via telephone with director Eduardo Rodriguez on this DVD/Blu-Ray release.

So buy your copy this week.

Check out the interview below.

Latino-Review: How were you approached to this project?

Eduardo Rodriguez: How was my approach? Basically, when I had the script…..I was a big fan of the original “Fright Night.” My main concern with the whole project was how we can keep true to the idea that this was no straight horror movie—but it combines comedy with horror. There’s a fine line of being too funny or not scary enough. When you’re laughing you’re not really that scared. It’s the same that if you’re scared, then you’re not really laughing much. To me, that’s always the biggest question mark. How can we work this as a whole and the idea that it’s not a straight horror since it has comedic elements?

That was my first time doing that and that’s probably my biggest challenge.

Latino-Review: This “Fright Night 2” seems to be a remake of the first “Fright Night,” which was a reboot of the original “Fright Night” from the 1980s. Why did you guys do that rather than a straight-up sequel?

Eduardo Rodriguez: [Laughter] I never really saw that. That’s really complicated. To me, not from the studio, my point of view is to never saw it as a remake or a reboot or a re-imagining of anything. When I read the script, I felt like this is kind of cool.

It’s like every James Bond movie. Every movie, even if it’s played by different actors, it’s always James Bond. It’s always his adventure. That’s how I felt about these [Fright Night] movies.

To me, it’s all in the world of “Fright Night.” The story is played by different actors. They’re all called Charley. They all have their girlfriends named Amy. And they all have Evil Ed as their friend.

So I never really approached it as doing a sequel. So to make it confusing, number two feels like it should be the second movie for “Fright Night.” It really never meant to be a sequel. It’s just another story of a kid who discovers a vampire and no one believes him. This is the core constant of the “Fright Night” series. You will see it in the original. You will see it in the sequel of the original. And you will see it on the remake.

I remembered at some point we got together and said, “Shoot! Should we change the name of the characters?” I think it was cool to keep the name of the characters. So it’s like a comparison to James Bond. So the characteristics applied to James Bond also applied to Charley as well and his friends.

Or maybe I’m just overthinking the whole thing.

Latino-Review: [Laughter] Yeah, it was a bit confusing, but I completely understand. This one is a little different, because rather than a male vampire—you used a female vampire similar to Lady Bathory. Did you do a lot of research and why did you choose a female antagonist instead?

Eduardo Rodriguez: We did [do a lot of research]. Matt Venne, the writer, helped a lot with the research and all the details. When I got approached by the studio, I’ve seen the original but never saw sequel until I got approached by it. I pitched the idea of a female, because the original script was actually Jerry the male vampire. In a crazy route, to do a sequel, you add more creatures to the story. So in this one, you’re main opponent is still Jerry, but let’s make it a female. And then I watched the sequel to the original. And of course, it was a no-brainer.

It was just a simple idea of adding another element to story and keeping the same core idea.

As for Elizabeth Bathory, I’ve been a big fan forever. So it was an easy pick. If we’re going to make the vampire female—why don’t we link her to the Elizabeth Bathory mythology? There’ll be a lot more bloodsince she bathed in blood and all.

Latino-Review: What are the common themes you tried to keep up with the “Fright Night” series? And what did you want to do that’s different from the past movies?

Eduardo Rodriguez: The common core with the original and remakes is that you want to be a part of the group or family. It’s a theme that’s so basic. You tell them something and they simply don’t believe you. You feel that rejection. You feel that disconnection. He’s a kid begging to be a part of his core family and friends. I think that’s part of the story in all of the “Fright Night” movies.

But to make it different—I don’t know. We added more blood. We added more boobs. We added more scares. That’s basically everything I liked.

Out of all the movies, this one has the smallest budget and resources. We tried to always keep it moving. We try adding as many scares as possible and keeping it fun. In a movie like this, you want the audience having fun—by being scared and laughing. You don’t want them to get bored.

One of the main thing I worked with Matt is to keep the story always moving.

Latino-Review: Since this is a small budgeted film. Did you decide to go with CGI special effects or traditional makeup and physical special effects? It seems like you did both.

Eduardo Rodriguez: I like both. I was always been a big fan of [Steven] Spielberg. He’s the one who could make both work. I was always a big fan of combining CG with practical in the most efficient way. We tried to do it here. We had a really small budget. We had a tenth of the budget of the remake. We didn’t have as many resources.

The bad thing about that is that we’ll complain a lot on stuff that we can’t do. The good thing about this is that it makes you think harder. You have to be more creative. How can I convey this idea with the resources out there in the time that I had? In a way, you don’t get lazy and just rely on being able to anything to expensive pros.

Latino-Review: Most of the filming was in Romania. Was this for budgetary reasons? Or was this a coincidence that you changed the plot to fit Romania?

Eduardo Rodriguez: No, it was actually great. The city in Romania was awesome. People were super cool and super nice. They were real professionals. I had fun shooting in Romania.

But, that’s a good question. The script was already set up in Romania when they sent it to me. I did a movie a couple of years ago called, “El Gringo.” It was set up in Mexico, but we shot it in Bulgaria for budgetary reasons. And that was the big challenge for us. How the hell are we going to make Bulgaria to look like Mexico?

Unlike that movie, this was cool because we saw the whole actual city. The castle we got for Gerri looked amazing. Yes, we had a small budget, but the locations look so good on the movie. So yeah, it was Romania for Romania.

Latino-Review: So that castle at the end of the movie was actually a real castle? Not a set?

Eduardo Rodriguez: No, the interior of the castle with the pool of blood was a set. That’s how talented the Romanian crew are. The production designer was able to build that whole thing with zero money. To me, it looked great.

The exterior of the castle was a real location. We were pretty far from Bucharest. We drove there and shot a couple of scenes with the castle.

Latino-Review: Okay, terrific. Thank you for the interview and hopefully I’ll get the chance to talk to you again.

Eduardo Rodriguez: That would be awesome. Thanks so much, Gig.

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Gig Patta is a journalist and interviewer for LRM and Latino-Review since 2009. He was a writer for other entertainment sites in the past with Collider and IESB.net. He originally came from the world of print journalism with several years as a reporter with the San Diego Business Journal and California Review. He earned his MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management and BA in Economics from UC San Diego. Follow him on Instagram @gigpatta or Facebook @officialgigpatta.