In 2019, horror fans witnessed the epic 4 hour and 24 minute documentary all about 80’s horror, In Search of Darkness. Yet, that wasn’t enough. The 80’s were such a huge decade for horror films, the filmmakers decided it was time for In Search of Darkness: Part II.
David Weiner returns as the writer and director of this documentary sequel. In Search of Darkness: Part II is another 4 hours and 23 minutes, every minute overflowing with fun facts and behind the scenes information for horror fans to devour. You might think it’s impossible to have almost 9 hours worth of interviews and clips about 80’s horror films, but you would be wrong.
The film has interviews with a mix of familiar faces from the first documentary, as well as a few new ones. With some of the interviews, it’s clear the footage is overflow from the first film, while others returned to provide more delightful information. These are people who work in front of the camera, behind the camera, write about horror, podcast about film, and everyone one of them clearly loves the genre.
In Search of Darkness: Part II follows the same general format as its predecessor. The narrative goes from year to year, starting with 1980 and going to 1989, highlighting specific films from each year. Thrown in the mix are also segments highlighting specific trends, phases, and influential aspects of horror films in the 80’s. Some examples of these segments are Italian giallo horror, children in horror, comedy in 80’s horror, and even horror video games. There are also segments highlighting individuals who had a great impact on the genre during that time. Every deep dive provides wonderful incite into the films of this era.
What I love about this documentary is that it really takes the time to show viewers what influenced 80’s horror, as well as how it influenced later horror. This was such an innovative and explosive time for horror. A lot of the information told throughout the documentary might be familiar to the more diehard horror fans out there, but some of these deep dives and interviews reveal things even the most avid fan won’t be familiar with. It strikes a great balance in this regard, appealing to any level of horror fan. I watched this with my husband, who only watches horror films when I make him (even though he typically likes what I show him). He was completely engrossed in the documentary because many of the films and the history explored were entirely new to him. There were also quite a few films discussed that I either haven’t seen yet or haven’t even heard of. No matter who is watching, you will likely learn something you didn’t know and find hidden gems to add to your watchlist.
In Search of Darkness: Part II manages to showcase even more great horror of the 80’s as told by people who love the genre. It’s amazing to see how influential the 80’s were on the horror genre as a whole and the ways the industry was able to thrive and grow. From the biggest hits to the most ridiculous bombs, horror wouldn’t be what it is today without the films of the 80’s. And on a more personal note: this documentary only deepened my love of Tom Atkins, both as an actor and a human being. This documentary is something every film enthusiast and horror lover should watch, whether they consider themselves beginners or experts.