Monday, April 26, 2021

In Search of Darkness: Part II, on Shudder

Is there a more fitting way to pay tribute to 80’s horror than with a sequel? After all, there is no shortage of films to be discussed. Even with four hours, they couldn’t fit absolutely everything in the first doc, but obviously, the biggest franchise-launching hits have already been covered. It isn’t quite the same, but there is still plenty of good stuff in David A. Weiner’s In Search of Darkness: Part II The Journey Into ‘80s Horror Continues, which premieres today on Shudder.

The coolest thing about Part II is the greater focus on international cinema, particularly Italian giallos, but there is also a good treatment of Shinya Tsukamoto’s
Tetsuo: The Iron Man. However, that perversely means there is a lot explicit eyeball trauma early on. In fact, the first half-hour or so features some surprisingly violent clips, including a long creepy (and not especially necessary) segment on the less than classic grindhouse flick Mother’s Day.

There are a lot of good films that did not make the cut the first time around that get their just due in Part II, particularly Michael Mann’s
The Keep and Alan Parker’s Angel Heart. Appropriately, the original horror movie doc, Terror in the Aisles also gets its turn in the spotlight. Yet, some of the best parts are sidebar sequences examining the careers of Nancy Allen and Robert Englund, as well as a survey of 8-bit 80s video games based on horror movies (such as the notorious Texas Chain Massacre game, in which players chased down victims with a unfortunately phallic-looking chainsaw).

In Part II, Clancy Brown offers some of the best commentary. It is also nice to hear more from Englund, Joe Dante, Tom Atkins, Barbara Crampton, Jeffrey Combs, Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, Tom Savini, and Cassandran “Elvira” Peterson. Linnea Quigley’s fans will also probably be thrilled with her considerable screen-time.

Anyone who was a fan of the first
In Search of Darkness will most likely enjoy Part II too. However, if you only have four and a half hours to spend, then Part I is the one to watch. Granted, both films are fan-service, but they are both lively, well-put-together nostalgia trips. Like Part I, the sequel passes a crucial test, by making viewers want to re-watch or catch-up with many of the films it covers. Recommended for horror fanatics and those who remember the greatness of the 1980s, In Search of Darkness Part II starts streaming today (4/26) on Shudder.