10/16/2019

In Search of Darkness (Review)


Title: In Search of Darkness
Writer/ Director: David A. Weiner
Cast: Cassandra Peterson, Bill Moseley, John Carpenter, Keith David, Caroline Williams
Min: 260
Year: 2019

In Search of Darkness is a documentary about 80's horror, one of the most beloved eras in genre history. It is broken up by year in the decade and a couple of movies from each year. For example for 1980 we get: The Fog, The Changeling, Friday the 13th, etc. There are cool clips from these and many more movies. We also get segments on make-up FX, the VHS era, holiday slashers, and more. These parts come up between some of the years. The interviews are made up of those who worked on the movies and other horror celebrities, as well as genre writers and experts.

The documentary aims to be the definitive 80's docu. But, is it? No, but while it misses that mark, it comes close. Thankfully it is fun and made with much love and reverence that most of what it does, it does with great success.
The docu is off to a great start as the intro is cool as fuck! All of interviews are excellent. They come off as fun, informative, and revealing. It is also great that aside from the expected folk (John Carpenter, Tom Atkins, Barbara Crampton, etc), we get some cool surprise guests like James (The Angry Video Game Nerd) Rolfe, Corey Taylor of motherfucking Slipknot(!), and the gorgeous Katie Featherston of the Paranormal Activity movies. On a side note, why is this beautiful and talented woman not in more genre fare? That was one of my first thoughts watching this.

Anyway, some of the highlights include: James Rolfe saying that it takes several viewings to appreciate The Shining (so true!). Michael Gingold explaining why The Howling transformation is indeed better than the one in An American Werewolf in London. Joe Bob Briggs clearing up and saying that Tobe Hooper did indeed direct Poltergeist and to stop with the fucking rumor that Spielberg did! Yes, Joe Bob! You truly are one of my heroes! Elvira herself Cassandra Peterson and Darcy (The Last Drive-In) The Mail Girl are also awesome in the section on sex and nudity in 80's horror. These are just some of many awesome parts. I also like that aside from the classics they cover unexpected movies like Ghost Story, The Hunger, The Company of Wolves, and even freaking The Burbs from Joe Dante!

Unfortunately, there are some weird omissions, which bring the docu down from being definitive. The biggest one being Aliens. This becomes terribly clear whenever a movie featuring cast members is discussed like Near Dark and Pumpkinhead. And, even more so when the talk is about horror heroes and final girls. How in the fucking hell do you have this discussion and not mention Aliens and Ellen Ripley? I was honestly flabbergasted! And, don't tell me it is not a horror film, cause that is ignorant. It is certainly more so than The Burb. Which I want to point to out, I am happy to see mentioned but...

And, then there is the omission of foreign movies. How in the fuck does it not talk about Argento and Fulci movies like Phenomena or City of the Living Dead (AKA The Gates of Hell) or stuff from other directors like Stagefright, Demons, Anthropopgaus (Grim Reaper), and Cannibal Ferox (Make Them DIe Slowly). This becomes most apparent when discussing Brain De Palma's Dressed to Kill which is, rightfully, called an American giallo. Yet we don't get talks on Tenebrae or Opera. No documentary can cover every movie but at least some of these should have been here.
In Search of Darkness isn't perfect, but it is damn fucking good. The film is made with such love and affection for the genre, that it made me smile so many times that I lost count. The interviews and those chosen to take part in them are great. Throw in some gory clips and monstrous creatures and you have a winner. Despite, it's lengthy duration at 4 hours and 20 minutes, it is always a blast for horror fans to watch. Even though there are some head scratchily odd omissions, I enjoyed the bloody hell out of this!


3.5 out of 4

2 comments:

Unknown said...

I agree, I am a backer of the project and pointed out these flaws but they said the documentary would focus only on american horror films and Aliens is more of a scifi movie than horror, which it was a huge letdown for me as well

Giovanni Deldio said...

I am glad to see that I'm not the only one who felt this way. I had a feeling that they thought that about Aliens, which I think is a huge mistake.