You and I both know that the 1980s was a glorious time for horror, especially for practical effects. Now, I wasn’t a horror fan until later in my life. I got freaked out easily from the iconic characters like Freddy, Pinhead, and, of course, Chucky. Being 5 years old horrified by a killer doll that basically was the same height as me didn’t fly. Through the years, I slowly started watching horror movies with a comedic touch like The Evil Dead, The Thing, and The Fly once I started attending college. Then by my mid to late 20s, I really started getting into horror. Now, I’m starting to dive into underrated, trashy, and more underground horror movies from the 80s thanks to companies like Severin Films and Vinegar Syndrome.
When the first In Search of Darkness premiered at Beyond Fest in 2019, I, unfortunately, missed it. Luckily, I caught it on Shudder not too long after. A 4 ½ hour documentary celebrating ’80s horror and the people behind the movies…you’d think that’d be overkill. But nope, it flew by quickly. My only complaint was that I wished they had more time to talk about the plethora of movies they didn’t discuss. That’s where IN SEARCH OF DARKNESS PART II comes in. Another four and a half-hour-long documentary continuing to celebrate ’80s horror by going through each year from 1980-1989 with the movies they didn’t get to in the first one. By the way, don’t let that run time scare you. IN SEARCH OF DARKNESS PART II has so much information about films like Alone in The Dark, Graduation Day, Inferno, and Terror Train just to name a few that you won’t have time to look at your watch.
There are so many great stories and appreciation featured in IN SEARCH OF DARKNESS PART II. From the people who worked on the films to people from Fangoria, Daily Dead, and Cinemassacre chiming in on their thoughts on what makes these movies so much fun, there was so much to take in. Not only that but, in between the decades they go through, they have extended interviews spotlighting icons like Linnea Quigley (The Return of the Living Dead, Night of the Demons), Nancy Allen (Dress To Kill), legendary SFX makeup artist Tom Savini, and, of course, the man behind Freddy Kruger himself – Robert Englund. I’ll get back to the interviews in a bit, but I also wanted to spotlight some of the cool featurettes that were also featured in the film.
There were two featurettes, in particular, that got my attention. One was about Unmade Horror projects and the other was about horror video game adaptations in the ’80s. I personally love hearing about projects that could’ve been. Writer Mick Garris talks about how his draft of The Fly II was very different from the one that was shot and released. Also, SFX makeup artist Tom Woodruff Jr. talks about his idea of a Pumpkinhead prequel that never came to be, and how actor Bill Moseley wrote a treatment for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 but, in this version, The Sawyers Take Manhattan. With the horror video game segment, they, of course, talk about the LJN’s A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday The 13th video games. Cassandra Peterson (Elvira) also talks about the video games based on her. In particular, she discussed how one of them had nothing to do with her except using her likeness. What made me laugh was that Atari made a video game based on the first Alien that was basically just PAC-MAN.
Circling back to the extended interviews, there were a lot of fun stories that I’ve never heard before from Savini and Quigley. But Robert Englund was my favorite one of the interviews because of his stories looking back on being a trained actor who’s done Shakespeare and how he initially made himself known for playing sidekicks and supporting roles before his big break in the 1983 miniseries “V”. Englund even talks about the only movie he’s ever directed 976-EVIL and the troubles with dealing with a producer that pretty much didn’t know what he was doing. I’d love to see him direct other projects but he’s bummed no one has asked him mainly because he’s a horror guy. He says towards the end of the interview that he’d love to direct something dramatic with no horror like Tender Mercies. So, fingers crossed for a future film project directed by Englund.
There’s so much information in IN SEARCH OF DARKNESS PART II that thankfully it didn’t feel overwhelming. It was a fantastic time seeing everyone talk about these gems. There’s STILL a bunch of ’80s horror movies that they didn’t talk about in this documentary, which is not surprising. Hopefully, we’ll see Part III sometime in the future. If you’re a horror fan, this is the documentary to watch. There were so many great stories that were both funny and fascinating. There’s no weak link and, despite its 4 ½ hour runtime, it goes by fast.
IN SEARCH OF DARKNESS: PART II, the sequel to the worldwide ‘80s horror documentary hit In Search of Darkness from CREATORVC, is now available to the public for a limited-time flash sale from February 5th through midnight Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2021 at 80sHorrorDoc.com.