“In Search of Darkness” and Finding the 1980s

I was an adolescent and teenager during the ’80s which meant it was a naturally awkward time for me. I didn’t appreciate all the excess and magic of the decade until much later. In Search of Darkness 1 & 2, brings it all back in full view.

I backed both of these editions via their Kickstarter campaigns since everyone knows I’m a strong advocate for physical media. For horror fans, I believe this is especially important since most streaming services don’t offer the rarer films I enjoy, There’s also nothing preventing the ones that do from editing material they deem offensive. One of the recurring themes of In Search of Darkness Part Two is how few of these movies could be released today. It’s unlikely any modern filmmakers would feature a villain whose sole motivation was the slaughtering of infants (The Final Conflict) or a murderous transsexual like the one in Brian DePalma’s Dressed to Kill. For better or worse, the ’80s ain’t ever coming back which is part of its allure.

The documentaries go year-by-year and I’ve got to hand it to these guys, they have great Chapter Selection options. If you’re looking for commentary on a specific film, you’ll have no trouble finding them.

Whereas the first documentary highlighted the more popular horror classics, Part Two spotlights unfamiliar and International movies. As a fan of Italian Giallo, this easily made it my favorite of the two.

I’ve been watching and collecting horror films for as long as I can remember so it’s always a pleasure to discover movies from this era I’d never heard of before. I found myself constantly grabbing my phone and making notes of titles to seak out later. Also included on that list were movies I knew existed but had no interest in until seeing the footage and commentary here. Many of the same commentators from the previous edition are seen again (wearing the same clothes so I’m guessing outtake material) along with fifteen new ones including Nancy Allen, Tom Savini, Robert Englund, and Clancy Brown. Peppered throughout the movie discussions are featurettes including one on vintage horror video games and Keith David, Nancy Allen, Tom Savini, Robert Englund discussing their work in the horror genre.

I guess the only negative in my view was the price. They were Kickstarters, so I didn’t mind spending more to support them but I think it would have been nice to have offered a cheaper, bare-bones version for fans with smaller budgets. I purchased the Elvira editions which ran me $80 (each) – about $10 more than the standard version. There were several special edition options revolving around different celebrities & commentators such as Linnea Quigley, Bill Moseley, and Kane Hodder. The latest came with a limited-edition slipcover (a.k.a. catnip for physical media collectors like myself), a collector pin, and four posters. I’m not really into pins and already have a closet full of Blu-ray special edition posters, but chose the Elvira sets because I’m a fan of hers and hoping to one day have her sign them. Part One’s Elvira edition offered 15 extra minutes of extra commentary, but Part Two is standard for all versions. In fact, some of the extra Elvira material from the first edition made its way into this one. I know this irked a lot of people who paid extra for her version but I wasn’t bothered by it.

If you missed out on the Kickstarters, have no fear. The standard version of Part One made its way to the Shudder streaming service and I have no doubt this one will eventually get there as well. Whether your jam is streaming or Blu-ray, I urge you to watch both of them. They’re like documentaries on steroids – which is a tribute to the 1980s in and of itself!

Dave

4 thoughts on ““In Search of Darkness” and Finding the 1980s

  1. Dude, I cried when the last Silver Screen Video in our, then town. It was Beta that I first had and rented.

    • I totally understand. Before this one came along we had a mom & pop video store which we’d go every weekend and get a stack of movies. Half the time you had no information on them and only the covers to go by which made it all the more fun.

  2. I also just finished this MONSTER of the 4+hour documentary! And I, like you, also grew up during the glorious 80’s. But I lived less than a 1/2 from my local theater. Mostly played 2nd run films but not always. But no matter the movie of the week me and my buddy would see them all. And if was good we would go multiply nights. I thought I caught all the good slashers, but watching this doc and it’s predecessor It was clear I missed a few. And what I love about these doc’s I can pause and write them down and go hunt them. Lucky for me many are available on one or another of the many services my home subscribes to and I have gone and bought a few. But I’m fortunate I have a few friends that have even MORE movies than I do and they will loan them to me, and for that I am grateful!. So not only did this bring back fond memories it got me back on the SLASHER bandwagon!! I hope they make another one of these documentaries.

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