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In Search of Darkness: Part II Review

February 6, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
In Search of Darkness: Part II
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In Search of Darkness: Part II Review  

Directed by: David A. Weiner
Written by: David A. Weiner

Nancy Allen
Tom Atkins
Doug Bradley
Clancy Brown
John Carpenter
Jeffrey Combs
Barbara Crampton
Sean S. Cunningham
Keith David
Robert Englund
Stuart Gordon
Kane Hodder
Chris Jericho
Bill Moseley
Cassandra Peterson
Linnea Quigley
Tom Savini
Corey Taylor
Gedde Watanabe
Alex Winter

Running Time: 276 minutes
Not rated.

There is no horror quite as nostalgic for many of us as 1980s horror. Sure, the genre has been a staple of filmmaking since the medium’s very birth going back to Georges Méliès’ reels in the 1890s. But there’s something about horror from the ‘80s that has always hit differently. It’s the decade when the genre really exploded, where the rise of the slasher film really took place and home video allowed horror to reach a new audience. Bad horror films of the ‘80s were often still good horror because they could be appreciated on a different level; it was when audiences started to truly embrace their horror fandom.

Fans of 1980s horror were given quite the treat in late 2019 with the release of In Search of Darkness from CreatorVC. The expansive documentary was a love letter to horror of the 1980s and raised almost $500,000 through crowdfunding to be produced. The film featured dozens of horror luminaries running through the decade year by year and covering some of the biggest and most iconic horror films from each year.

At four and a half hours, you might imagine that the documentary covered pretty much everything there is to say about horror from that decade. But you would be wrong. If anything, the one minor flaw about the first film is that while it covered most of the iconic ‘80s films, there was still a lot left untouched particularly among the weird, offbeat and lesser-known movies. That’s where In Search of Darkness: Part II steps in. David A. Weiner’s second foray into the topic goes deeper, leaving the films everyone knows behind in favor of a journey into the more marginalized subgenres and movies.

If you’re familiar with the first film, you will immediately recognize the format of Part II. Weiner separates his look at the films by year, covering a handful films from 1980, 1981, and so forth. Interspersed between the years are segments looking at specific actors like Linnea Quigley or Robert Englund or elements of horror like horror comedy or horror video games. Weiner uses his experience putting together the first film to fix some minor speedbumps in pacing and flow for a smoother experience that makes the four and a half hours fly by.

Along the way, Weiner’s interview guests – featuring everyone from Englund and Quigley to Cassandra Peters (aka Elvira), Friday the 13th producer Sean S. Cunningham, Slipknot singer Corey Taylor and AEW star Chris Jericho – expound on a true wealth of films. Part II digs into topics with something to offer for even seasoned horror fans, covering everything from Italian masters of Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava and Lucio Fulci to the history of using children in horror. Along the way, Weiner covers everything from classics like Suspiria and Little Shop of Horrors to more obscure gems such as Tobe Hooper’s lesser-known The Funhouse and Vamps.

One of the nice aspects of In Search of Darkness: Part II is that it doesn’t shy away from the fact that there was some bad horror in the decade. Most of us horror hounds love ‘80s horror. It’s where our hearts lie because many of us – even those who grew up after the decade – got our start with watching these movies on VHS, basic cable, or the like. But even with those rose-colored glasses on, it’s also hard to deny that there were some terrible movies from the era. Weiner includes some of those, and the guests don’t hold back from talking about the issues with them. But it’s never done in a way that seems mean or vicious; the film is very good at acknowledging the flaws of horror in the decade without punching down at them.

Make no mistake; this is a film that will require no small amount of time investment, especially for a movie that devotes a not-insignificant amount of time to Silent Night, Deadly Night 3 and The Beast Within. I certainly wondered going into it how, even with the topics the first film only brushed over, there would be enough to fill the runtime. But it’s 276 minutes that fly by, with Weiner handling the pace remarkably well and breezing his way from film to film. By the end of the movie, you may find yourself wondering where the time has gone, but if you’re a fan of the horror genre, you won’t even remotely feel like the time was poorly spent.

In Search of Darkness: Part II is available for a limited-time flash sale from February 5th through on Valentine’s Day, February 14th.

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
In Search of Darkness: Part II takes the lessons learned and the few gaps from the first film to create a follow-up that manages to top even that fairly impressive affair. David A. Weiner's documentary may have a length that looks intimidating, but it's more than worth the time spent as it takes an in-depth look at the deeper levels of 1980s horror film. Equal parts love letter and educated examination of the horror scene of the era, this is an absolute must-watch film for horror fans.