4/25/2021

In Search of Darkness Part II (Review)

Writer/ Director: David A. Weiner
Cast: Nancy Allen, Tom Atkins, John Bloom, Doug Bradley, Clancy Brown, Lori Cardille
Year: 2020
Min: 263

This follow up to 2019's In Search of Darkness continues that documentary's deep delve into 80s horror. This time around it focuses on a bunch of genre movies from that decade that weren't touched upon in the previous film. The set-up is the same as previously as movies as certain movies are picked from each year (for example 1980 features Alligator, the criminally underdiscussed Altered States, etc.) and various people talk about them.

And, also like it, in between each year, there are focused segments on different topics within the genre. Some of them include: children in horror, horror comedies, and, maybe coolest of all, segments on horror icons of the decade like Robert Englund, Linnea Quigley, Nancy Allen, and more. As a matter of fact, the documentary opens with a look at the influence of the past on the decade. Driving it all are the interviews with actors from horror films (many legends) and experts, lovers, and critics of the genre. There are various returning stars and genre experts, from the preceding film, as well new ones.

Right off the bat, this one improves on one of my issues with the first one, as it actually talks about, quite heavily at that, Italian horror. There is even a segment all its own, on these films. And, among the flicks from Italy covered here are: Dario Argento's Inferno, double the Lucio Fulci with City of the Living Dead and The Beyond, Lamberto Bava's Demons, and motherfucking Cannibal Holocaust from Ruggero Deodato! Any and all discussions on these movies are major highlights, with the later film, having former WWE/ WCW and current AEW star Chris Jericho talking about that controversial classic, as well, as Faces of Death

And, we don't just get movies from Italy and, obviously, the US, but we also get movies from Australia (Razorback), New Zealand (Peter Jackson's Bad Taste), and Spain/ US with the wild classic Pieces! Plus, from Hong Kong we get The Seventh Curse, a film I never even heard about before this. But, now I have to see it! It has, in a small role, Chow (The KillerHard Boiled) Yun-fat, and it sounds absolutely wild! I also love that it embraces the darker and more extreme side of horror. As, decidedly non-politically correct movies like Humanoids from the Deep, The Beast Within, Nightmares, and more talked about. It also covers more obscure flicks like The Being, Nightbeast, and more. All of this along with the more mainstream, home grown horror like John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness, Wes Craven's Shocker, etc. This really helps it in making it feel much more complete than the first one. 

There are countless of specific highlights that really made me love this film, further. For the segment on the excellent The Entity, Linnea Quigley gives much deserved praise to Barbara Hershey's acting in it. As well as, Matt Winston talking about his father Stan Winston's impressive work on it. Specifically, in reference to the ghostly hands fondling Hershey's breasts during one of the rape scenes. Garetta Garetta discussing the amazing FX of Demons. Corey Taylor saying that Nightmares is crap, which this critic mostly agrees with. Darcy the Mail Girl and Fangoria editor in-chief Phil Noble on the amazing Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II, brining in their love and modern perspective on it. And, two of horror's loveliest and most awesome ladies, Barbara Crampton and Katie Featherston, discuss one of the best horror flicks ever in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. These are just some of many memorable moments containted in the docu.

Other amazing highlights come from the topic specific segments, Aside, from some of the aforementioned ones we get a cool on on 8-bit horror (horror video games). They talk about games like Halloween, Elvira, Monster Party, Alien (which I had never heard about and is apparently like fucking Pac-Man except with xenomorphs!), and more. The ones on various horror celebrities' are great, as well. Nancy Allen chatting about her career is incredibly honest, which I very much appreciated. Robert Englund is always great to hear in interviews, especially in terms of his movies and experiences, making his segment fascinating.  

But, it is Linnea Quigley's section on herself, that is my favorite of these. Like many, I grew up having a major crush on her, and she remains one of my personal favorites within our beloved genre. I love that she talks about Savage Streets, and that she even discusses Linnea Quigley's Horror Workout

I really don't have many complaints, beyond the fact that they still don't mention Aliens. But, so much was corrected here, in terms of covering genre material from other countries, that I think I can let slide this time around. Besides, I feel that there is enough material for a third entry. Maybe, along with James Cameron's superior sequel, they could also talk about The Hidden, Jaws 3&4 (how much fun would it be to talk about those shitty, fucking movies?!), Santa Sangre, Phenomena, and more.

In Search of Darkness Part II is an excellent and superior sequel. It definitely tops the first and fills in many of the missing gaps. I love that it touches upon Euro and Asian horror, something that was painfully missing in the preceding movie. I also enjoyed the hell out of it digging into darker, more graphic, and more obscure horror. The opinions and words of horror stars, legends, and experts are welcomed, interesting, fun, sometimes, educational, and, above all, always entertaining. The segments on specific horror topics or stars on themselves are especially good. It's an all around great documentary and, when combined with the first one, paints an almost complete look at 80s horror. I say almost complete, cause there are still movies I would love to see covered. I do so hope that they make a third one. I know they want to do something on shot on video 80s horror, so bring that on, too! And, hey maybe they'll finally talk Aliens in a future sequel! In Search of Darkness Part II begins streaming on Shudder on April 26, 2021.



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