Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Review: In Search of Darkness: A Journey into Iconic 80s Horror

While I am known to occasionally moan about 80s nostalgia veering into hyperbole if there is one thing I would agree on, it would be how important that decade was for horror.

Perhaps it was the political landscape, the rise of mall Cineplexes and video stores, the advances in practical effects but there was something spooky in the air. The sheer volume of output is impossible to dismiss, in fact, it should be discussed, at length.

That's what In Search of Darkness: A Journey into Iconic 80s Horror, the new documentary from former Famous Monsters editor (and Pod Stallions regular) David Weiner sets out to do.

Clocking in at 258 minutes, In Search of Darkness is about 2.5 times longer than many of the films it is celebrating and as it continues, you completely understand why it had to be.

Thematically, ISOD lays out all the subject matter almost as if someone is placing VHS movies on the floor ordered by year and gives a special insight into each one. 

Commentary and special insight from genre notables such as John Carpenter, Joe Dante, Cassandra Peterson, Lloyd Kaufman, and Joe Bob Briggs to name but a few really help to give the documentary an even keel, it never completely aggrandizes or debases its subjects, it just has fun.

The brisk pacing means it also never lingers too terribly long on any subject, that fairness moves you through multiple sub-genres including horror-comedies, a personal favourite of mine.

Along the way, memorable horror trappings such as soundtracks, practical effects and the 80s obsession with bare breasts are interjected into the film providing an important pallet cleanser.

One of the more interesting effects ISOD had on me was that it changed my mind. While I've always freely admitted it was a successful era, I personally thought it too predilected with gimmicky slasher pictures. I now consider that opinion entirely short-sighted.

In Search of Darkness properly showcases just how an inventive time it truly was with slashers bumping elbows with monsters, aliens, demons, zombies,  killer toys, ghosts and most importantly, completely risky ideas and concepts. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I'd like to put on some leg warmers, chill a bottle of New Coke and watch "Night of the Creeps".

 In Search of Darkness is available on Blu-Ray or DVD at the movie's official website. This limited run of the movie will only be available until Oct. 31 with expected delivery for November 2019. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great review and and equally great closing!

Yeah, leg-warmers were the fashion contribution of aerobics, kinda like yoga pants are today. This Anon was kinda surprised you gave a shout-out to "Night Of The Creeps" instead of "The Lost Boys" which always seemed like the quintessential 80s horror film.


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