In Search of Darkness III Review
Credits: VC Creator
In Filmmaker David Weiner/Creator VC 's third and final installment of the 80's retrospective Horror Superdoc, In Search of Darkness, leaves no gravestone unturned, as our colorful cast of commentators, from the previous ISOD docs, John Carpenter, Joe Bob Briggs, Doug Bradley, Geretta, Geretta, Kelly Maroney, Jackie Kong, Corey Taylor, Cecil Trachtenberg of Good Bad Flicks and James Rolfe (Angry Video Nerd/Cinemassacre) among a few others, There are also, a few unfamiliar faces as well, like Richard Newby, Screaming Mad George, Kathleen Whitholte, Tracy Thoms, Sam Wineman, David Gregory, etc. So, is the third time a charm? Let's find out!
Following a quote from Director John Carpenter, there's that prelude, followed by the documentary's intro theme courtesy of Wayward Pines, the commentator segments still have that VH1 "I Love the 80's” format, with copious amounts of trivia when dissecting a random selected film from ISOD's "Poster Wall" primary examples include:
- Which actor opted out of a sequel only to be replaced by a close relative of a very well-known rock star.
- Which Director opted out of a promising sequel to direct a underperforming film, starring Whoopi Goldberg?
- The VHS Explosion :How the Horror Movie industry were saved by the home video Mom and Pop stores, resulting in many from the so called "Moral Majority” witch hunt (Concerned parents, the news media, religious fundamentals, and of course, Politicians who subscribed to the theory that Horror films can have a very negative impact on children who watch them.
As with the previous installments, we go through the 80's timeline from 1980 to 1989 discussing films that were either obscure, cult classics, or schlock movies that were very vilified for being Video Nasties, or just very bad flicks.
Within the first 2 hours, I couldn’t help but laugh at those Gene Siskel's scathing critiques from Sneak Previews, that comes off like an ongoing dig, whenever they would interject his commentaries and disdain for various horror films.And during the first 20 minutes, it seems that Weiner and Co. Are "scraping" at the bottom of the barrel when discussing lesser known, overlooked films such as, Deathship, The Children" Fear No Evil, Phenomena, and various foreign movies.But there were plenty of films left over to cover, even those from Dario Argento and the Godfather of Gore, Lucio Fulci. That said, some of my favorite segments, were:
Culture Shock, which cites the influences from Asian Horror
Adrianne Barbeau on Adrianne Barbeau and Dee Wallace on Dee Wallace: Two iconic actors discuss their respective careers and give accolades to the directors they worked for, along with personal anecdotes.
Visionary Horror Directors:
Giving a shoutout to the inventive minds within the genre's industry. Now, I wished there were more coverage on this segment, as it could have been a documentary of its own.
Beneath the Surface:
Diversity & Marginalization in '80s Horror, where our commentators discuss representation or lack thereof and common stereotypical depictions of Black, Asian and LGBTQ people.
I took a bit of umbrage with Phil Noble's comments about how "Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason, because there is a lot of truth to them."
One would call bullshit on that sentiment as not all Black people are (Insert stereotypes here.) However, he is correct about Black people in films are usually the first to get killed off, and that the great George A. Romero did not get enough credit for pioneering Black horror leads in mainstream cinema. William Lustig (Maniac) got it right when referring to Night of the Living Dead character, Ben who was not cast as black for symbolism, but he was a man trying to survive a Zombie Apocalypse, who did not adhere to stereotypical tropes.
In the segment that serves as the closer for this documentary, I understand why someone would champion the films that they cherish, as I often have, but there were some awfully bad ones throughout the 80's that are beyond defending, so it's somewhat fair that they fall by the wayside. But that's just my opinion, yours may be different. Joe Dante and William Lustig, give interesting thoughts about the current landscape of cinema with home video having eclipsed the theatrical experience. While Sam refers to the common trend of gatekeepers, who decide what is good or what is terrible.
At the end of the day, it's” all about the Benjamins,” as Joe Briggs elaborates on the filmmakers' endgame. As always, it is the commentators whose opinions and personal connections to the horror genre, that serves as the "meat and bones," and as with all good things, the series’ comes to a close.... ...well, not exactly, as Mr. Weiner has hinted that future installments of ISOD will shift forwards into 90's Horror.
Overall, Pt. 3 was very entertaining and informative. While I didn't care for many of the odd choices of films they covered, it's the social commentaries, trivia and spit takes that served as the "meat and bones " for this near 6-hour entrée. However, I managed to compile a list of must-see films, either I wasn't aware of, or just skipped altogether. Personally, I’m going to take a hard pass on The Video Dead and a few others like Guinea Pig and especially "Things!"
So yes, the final 80's retrospective of Horror, gets my recommendation, as Critic jeremy Jahns would say, "No alcohol required" but having a couple of brews, gets the watch party, going!
I would be remiss if i didn't mention that, there are three hours’ worth of bonus content. Weiner, Block and Creator VC had put some "extras on it!"
As a kid growing up in the 80's, there is that connective tissue between me and the films within that era of Pop Culture dominance. In Search of Darkness Trilogy is a brilliant nostalgic trip, and I am happy to be among the many, many supporters.
Among Screaming Mad George's many practical effects, one film he worked on called, The Guyver, was based on a hit Superhero Manga and Anime series. As a recurring gag from Nightmare on Elm Street 4, Mark Hamil's character, is transformed into a giant Cockroach.
1985's Sweet Home, along with George A Romero's Night of the Living Dead, was the sole inspiration behind Capcom's Resident Evil videogame.