by Steven Wandling
It’s amazing that a documentary that clocks in at about ten minutes shy of 4 and half hours feels like such a breeze to get though, but In Search of Darkness never outstays its welcome. If anything the documentary only skims the surface of the behemoth that is 1980s horror, but it leaves the viewer with the ultimate viewing guide and collection of interviews from the people who were actually there. The film was entirely funded by and made for the fans, and that love definitely does do the documentary every favor. Directed by David A. Weiner and executive produced by Robin Block at Creator VC Studios, In Search of Darkness is an absolute must-see for anyone that grew up in the wild west that was 1980s horror.
From The Fog (1980) to Phantasm II (1988), the documentary goes year by year through the iconic decade interviewing just about every luminary any fan would want to see and hear from. If, by chance, they aren’t interviewed for the film, their work is still celebrated and championed by the others throughout. In Search of Darkness is truly a product of love from start to finish, and the fans that have brought this comprehensive documentary to life should really feel proud of what they have accomplished here.
So many interviews with said genre luminaries talk warmly and openly about so many different films from each specific year throughout the 1980s. The year by year structure is paired along with specific themes that were prevalent and came to define the different subgenres, like the slasher, throughout that decade. Sections about pop culture, politics, and sex really shine a bigger light not just on horror, but what American life was like throughout the so-called decade of excess. Apparently for the horror community, it was also the decade of love and plenty. Over and over again, the mantra that anything seemed possible keeps popping up, and the wide variety of films on display only reaffirm that assessment.
When I say that just about every genre star from every corner of the community participated in this thing, I in no way want you to think that your head ghoul would exaggerate or over inflate how many people actually took part in Search of Darkness. I mean, so many are involved in the interview process that there’s no real way to recount them all without an actual PDF attached. The doc features filmmakers like the great John Carpenter (Halloween, The Fog) and the late great Larry Cohen (The Stuff, Q: The Winged Serpent), journalists like Fangoria editor-in-chief Phil Nobile Jr., actresses like Caroline Williams (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Stepfather II) and Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, From Beyond) and their male counterparts such as Tom Atkins (Night of the Creeps, Halloween III: Season of the Witch). And that is just the slightest of samples.
Everyone is involved with this documentary, and the joy of hearing people recount the experiences of these films in accordance with the times in which they came out; these first hand experiences are more than special for those that were there, and a window into a completely different cinematic landscape for those that weren’t. As the run time goes on the ever prevalent theme seems to be that horror acted as a reflection of every day fears that ran through Western society throughout the decade of the 1980s. In Search of Darkness shines a true and needed light on the fact that artists in one way or another express exactly what is going on in the real world around them through their work, whether it’s intended or not. You can’t help but insert some of your own worldview into whatever you’re creating, and it shows in specific films from a specific time period.
This is why horror is possibly having such a resurgence in the mainstream multiplex today. Artists and filmmakers are using the horror genre as a means to discuss social ills in a way that cannot be comfortably done or perhaps expressed outside of hiding their message within a genre film. To me, that’s one of the most beautiful things about the horror genre as a whole, whether it’s the 1980s or the 2010s. Horror is a dark, twisted, yet true mirror held back up to ourselves. That Search of Darkness the title refers to is really one that we find out lies within ourselves: as horror fans, as seekers, as people of the world who don’t mind staring in the abyss, even if it stares back.
In Search of Darkness is a once and a lifetime opportunity to see so many people come together and talk about so many different facets of the decade so many fans pine for now, but it also shows the passion of the performers, directors, writers, and most of all fans within the horror community that were unmatched in the 1980s and will be unmatched forever. Happy Halloween from everyone at http://www.creepylovely.com!!! Follow us for all things dark&strange in cinema&beyond! Check out In Search of Darkness immediately! As always, stay creepy!
Thanks for reading! In Search of Darkness is a completely crowd-funded documentary! It is a must-own for fans of 1980s horror and you still have 15 hrs to act and get your very own physical copy by Christmas at http://www.80shorrordoc.com Don’t wait though! You don’t not want to miss this. In Search Of Darkness is the very definition of special. Please follow creeepylovely on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you would like to write for us, just shoot us a private message, DM, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org Stay creepy!