Horrortoberfest ’22 Day 20 – Fear Street Part Two: 1978 (2021)

We saw the Camp Nightwing killer in the first part of this trilogy looking like Baghead Jason and trying to kill Sam, Deena’s girlfriend. This time around, we get to go back to 1978 and actually see what happened at Camp Nightwing and get some more backstory on what exactly is happening with the witch, Sarah Fier (pronounced like fear, do you get it?). The worry going into this was that it would ape the Friday the 13th series overly much and fall into the same boring traps that a lot of late 70’s/early 80’s slashers did. Thankfully, the series not only manages to pay homage without ripping off but also feels much more cohesive than the first installment.

Deena and Josh, the survivors of part one, go to see C. Berman, the only survivor of the Camp Nightwing massacre, in order to see if she has any insight into how to cure the now-possessed Sam. Berman then spins them a yarn about what camp was like in 1978 and get just as many rapid fire late 70’s hit songs as we did early 90’s in part one. We also get to see just how intense the rivalry between Shadyside and Sunnyvale really is. The main final girls in this one are Cindy and Ziggy, the Berman sisters that don’t get along real well. Nurse Lane, mother of one of the Shadyside murderers we saw in part one, says she saw Cindy’s boyfriend Tommy’s name on the witch rock and he’s gonna go all murder happy. They don’t believe her but, yup, Tommy gets possessed and it’s fuckin go time on some campers. Like for real, this movie kills a bunch of actual, straight up like 13 year olds. Brutal.

With a focused location, a single killer (until the very end), and a very good cast; Part Two ends up being more engaging than its predecessor. I like that Tommy doesn’t get his potato sack mask look until near the very end of the film. The movie isn’t in a hurry to rush those horror references in as fast as possible and lets the story unfold naturally. In addition to the standard camp slasher plot, Cindy and friends also uncover that Nurse Lane was even deeper into figuring out this Sarah Fier stuff than Josh was in the first film. We get more information about how to stop the curse and set up part three with information about the original settlement that eventually split into Shadyside and Sunnyvale. It’s a nice supernatural cherry on the otherwise straightforward slasher.

The way the film was shot changes from the first film in order to more feel like those classic slashers with steady cams and lots of voyeur shots from outside cabin windows. We also get more of a focus on sex and drugs, again harkening to the slashers of the time, unlike the first that had more of a snarky, self-aware feel like Scream. The Shadysider’s still have that same nihilism from being cursed like the first film but I like them more in part two as they seem more genuine and vulnerable about what crushing poverty and lack of opportunity can do to a person. And if you’re in this for the kills and don’t care about personal growth and character development; the film has plenty of blood but, thankfully, never shows any of the younger campers that get killed being hacked up on screen.

This trilogy is fuckin rad so far and I am super pumped to finish out this series. All three movies were filmed back to back and feel like a bingeable mini-series but without sacrificing any of the polish you get from a full length movie. Definitely recommend.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

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