In Search of Darkness (2019)
Director(s): David A. Weiner
Writer(s): David A. Weiner
Starring: Everyone and their mothers from 80s Horror but yeah, Jeffrey Combs is in it for sure!
Pure, nostalgic 80s HORROR Fuel.
That pretty much sums up this incredible documentary that clocks in over four (4) hours long but then this would be such a short entry for the vault, right Kiddos? As I’ve talked about many times this year, the Shudder horror streaming channel is worth every penny for the original content alone (send DEM checks) but the great documentaries that are available on the channel are what keep me in awe. The sheer length/content of some of these docs would seem intimidating at first, like the six (6) – Plus hour doc on Friday the 13th flicks (CLICK HERE) or a whole documentary dedicated to Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2 and its ties to the gay community but rest assured no matter the length or niche subject matter, the docs always come through to be interesting and worth every second of your time as a horror fan.
In Search of Darkness takes a whole new approach however; where it’s not the length of time spent on one flick or the uniqueness of the subject matter but rather, CRAMMING AS MANY MOVIES in a 4-Plus hour period for an era of horror flicks that can be argued as the greatest of all time. I’m sure my opinion is biased as someone who was born in 1984 and spent most of the 90s watching horror flicks from the local video store but right off the bat, I loved how the documentary explained this bias. It’s quite simple folks; the 80s was when direct to video became quite the trend and so now studios can crank out horror flicks without having to spend the time/money to reach the theaters first and as a result, studios can now reach their SPOOK-TACULAR audience at a much faster rate…and also make a profit just as quickly. What this documentary points out at various points was very much like the 80s in general, the horror scene around that time revolved around the idea of excess. However, the this kind of particular excess was one that connected with horror fans such as an abundance of practical effects, gore and enough horror icons to fill your monthly horror blog (wait, that just got Meta)!
With an environment that shouted Greed is Good and the direct to video craze giving creators a lot more slack for going nuts, the kinds of movies that came out were a lot more bold in the kinds of stories they wanted to tell or they would go the complete opposite direction and take something that exists and just try to add another chapter that would keep the fans happy (albeit some goofy premises). It was a wondrous age of horror that tried to cater to every type of fan without necessarily finding a trend (besides the UBER nostalgic synth music that came with most entries) and the doc does a wonderful job in the showcasing a wide variety of horror flicks that forever defined the genre.
Some notable mentions in the total of 80-Plus flicks that caught my attention due to some fun factoids (don’t be surprised if some of these gems are presented from the VAULT):
- Fade to Black: Completely forgot this somewhat oddball flick about a slasher who likes to emulate classic horror icons
- Halloween 3: Not enough love goes out to this flick whose only crime was being called Halloween without any ties to Michael Myers (besides that weird cameo via television)
- Night of the Creeps: A ridiculously fun horror flick with plenty of one-liners to keep you quoting the thing for days…in an annoying way of course
- StepFather 2: The series itself is pretty SOLID and I’ve always liked the idea of someone wanting a perfect family so bad, they’d kill for the dream.
The format itself was quite enjoyable in the sense that you didn’t have to watch the whole thing in one sitting; each entry/film had about 5-10 minutes of screen time where they miraculously found a way to introduce the flick, give a short history, state some fun factoids and somehow throw in some colorful commentary that was both insightful and humorous at the same time! Really, I truly felt that each entry of the flick had all those elements and the overall tone of the doc itself remained in that sweet spot where it was respectful of the era, yet definitely poked fun at the nostalgic esthetic that reflected what the 80s was in general; excess on top of strange sprinkled around absurdity.
Life is FAR more interesting when we take interest in things that scare us.