14th Oct2020

‘In Search of Darkness’ Review (Shudder)

by Chris Cummings

Featuring: Tom Atkins, Doug Bradley, John Bloom, John Carpenter, Stuart Gordon, Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Nick Castle, Heather Langenkamp | Written and Directed by David A. Weiner

I do love a documentary. I love a horror documentary, too, and so when I signed up to Shudder I couldn’t resist a chance to check out In Search of Darkness. An epic, four hour and twenty minute long look at 80s horror films, this is a phenomenal film, a love-letter to the genre we love so dearly, the genre that has given us nightmares and excited us with blood and guts for our lifetimes.

Director and writer David A. Weiner has compiled a mass of interviewees here as we make our way through the 1980s as various actors, directors, fans and horror creators discuss a whole tapestry of films. From John Carpenter, Stuart Gordon, Joe Dante, Mick Garris and various other directors, to horror actors like Doug Bradley (Pinhead from Hellraiser), Nick Castle (Michael Myers from Halloween) and Heather Langenkamp (Nancy from A Nightmare on Elm Street), there’s a huge array of names here, and all of them offer something insightful, funny, interesting or relevant. I thought the gathering of talent was fantastic.

For four hours and twenty-four minutes we hear these dozens upon dozens of names talk about a whole mass of horror films. Whether it’s Halloween 3 or The Stuff, whether it’s Motel Hell or the Friday the 13th series, the interviews talk about the responses to these movies and what they all meant to the genre and to fans. I loved just how many titles were covered in the film. It’s fun to see a horror movie you love pop up, and hear these guys talk about it. There’s a certain passion that comes with horror, with those who love it, and those who have created it. It’s a beautiful thing.

For hours, this is a bloody brilliant look at one of the greatest film decades of all time, looking into countless horror films, looking at the VHS generation, at the way the consumption of film has changed. It is mostly, though, a pure and breezy chit-chat about all these genre-defining flicks. From Chopping Mall, Day of the Dead, Sleepaway Camp, The Fog, The Howling and The Toxic Avenger, to Return of the Living Dead, Silver Bullet, Cujo, The Shining, Poltergeist and tons more, this was incredibly entertaining, wonderfully made, and packed with scenes out of your favourite horror movies. The interviews are great, and I learnt a thing or two along the way about how certain scenes were done, or about what certain films went through in order to get made. This right here is worth a subscription to Shudder alone, and one that I’ll enjoy revisiting again in the future. It is the definitive 80s horror documentary, and possibly the very best horror documentary I’ve seen.

***** 5/5

In Search of Darkness is available to watch on Shudder now.

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