Out on Blu-ray and DVD October 1st, Fright Night 2: New Blood features Jaime Murray (Defiance, Dexter) as Gerri Dandridge, a professor and vampire whose bloodlust may claim the life of a teenager’s (Will Payne) innocent ex-girlfriend (Sacha Parkinson). Fright Night mainstay (and television star) Peter Vincent is also back for some vampire hunting, and this time he’s played by Sean Power.
The Romania set story, though straight to video, has its share of impressively shot set pieces, and considering its low budget filmmaker Eduardo Rodriguez manages to pull off an intriguing horror flick. There’s an animated sequence I really love that’s smack dab in the middle of the picture, and Fright Night 2’s denouement is also pretty interesting (and surprisingly understated).
We talked to filmmaker Eduardo Rodriguez over the phone to talk about the feature. Here’s what he had to say:
Outbreak: The movie has its share of visually interesting moments. Do you start constructing these sequences right away?
Rodriguez: When I’m reading a script, the images come into my mind. Those are the scripts that I’m attracted to – the ones that, right away, as soon as I read it, the images start showing up. I think that’s part of it, but also the more you shoot, the more you get a visual sense of what works and what doesn’t. For example, a movie like Fright Night 2, we only had 23 days to shoot so you really need to know what will work and what won’t work.
Of course sometimes, you go for something and then it’s like ‘Oh man, I wish I would have shot it a different way’ or ‘We don’t have the coverage for this and we have to (fix it) in post.’
Outbreak: Fright Night 2 is also not just a one dimensional horror film.
Rodriguez: Matt Venne did a really good job with the script. He made the characters relatable. This is the first time I made a horror/comedy movie and that’s a very strange line to follow. In my experience it’s hard to make a film scary when there’s laughing. Matt had it in his script in the beginning. He was able to balance the scares and the funny elements and that helped me a lot to tell the story and make it about the kids. Of course you want to have the scares and the gore. Everybody who loves horror loves those elements, but at the end of the day, people relate to characters. They don’t relate to cool looking shots, or awesome visual effects.
In my opinion it also comes down to the actors. If you have talented actors, then they are able to make those lines their own and pull it off and create people that are alive on the screen. Everybody did a really good job so that helped tremendously.
Outbreak: Having Jaime Murray as your vampire must have been a huge asset to the production.
Rodriguez: Of course. She commands the screen. She’s a really strong woman and super, super cool person. She made things a lot easier for everybody because she knew her character. She prepares really well. She knew what she wanted to do with the Gerri Dandridge character and basically we came to the same page and I think she did a really really good job in terms of the balance. She couldn’t just be sexy the whole time – she needed to have that presence and be frightening.
Outbreak: Before you moved to features, you had experience directing short films as well. Other than the length and scope, there must be other obvious differences.
Rodriguez: When you’re making a short film, you’re making the movie completely out of passion with your friends. There is something in the real world, when people are working for money, it becomes a different creature. Making a short film is such an amazing experience because it’s something you do out of 100% love. And I think that’s harder to replicate in the real world. Especially nowadays when you don’t need a lot of money to make short film – you can even use your cell phone and you don’t even have to invest in a camera. It doesn’t have to be 15 or 20 minutes. It can be a five minute short. You practice and you polish your craft. Making short films prepare you for the real world in terms of going from an idea to a final product.
Outbreak: Do you have any advice for novice filmmakers?
In terms of advice, I don’t know. I’ve always been from the school of just follow your heart. Do whatever you think is best. At the end of the day, everyone has a different path. The other thing is you can’t get discouraged. Everybody is making movies, especially with the internet there are a lot more venues. You just have to be strong you have to think, ‘I have nothing better to do, so I’ll just keep on doing it.’ Just keep fighting. That’s what I’ve been doing.
***Special features on Fright Night 2: New Blood include commentary from Rodriguez and producers Alison Rosenzweig and Michael Gaeta, Fright Night webisodes and the featurette Dracula Revealed.
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