I often suffer from ‘fear of missing out’, yet also like to wait until certain titles leave the public conversation as to avoid boarding the hype train, which is why I’m only now penning my thoughts on the follow-up documentary In Search of Darkness: Part II. CreatorVC was generous enough to send me a screener link to the 276-minutes epic, specifically the standard edition, that was enjoyed and digested over three nights.
Naturally, the previous installment took a very mainstream approach in regards to its commentary on 80s horror with many of the decade’s most beloved and popular classics discussed and critiqued. In Search of Darkness: Part II takes a look between the hits while also exploring the sequel territories of the Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street franchise to name a few. I personally got the most enjoyment out of the obscure and lesser-known titles that were singled out, in addition to several new segments that were placed throughout the feature, from video games adaptations to an Argento deep dive. I felt personally attacked when Don Mancini mocked, Omen III: The Final Conflict, one of my favourite horror sequels, but there was much to enjoy from his contemporaries, and Chris Jericho, who almost had me sold on Halloween 5 and spoke out against the blatant use of rape as a plot device in 80s horror.
Every year my partner and I bask in the holiday terror that is Silent Night, Deadly Night, and each time we ask with frustration why Quigley is answering the door topless, during the dead of winter no less. Of course, the simple answer is, “horror movies and the 80s,” but Quigley bares all regarding her mass-market appeal during those exploitative years. While she neither condemns nor condones the salacious appetite for nudity, shared by both the filmmakers and audience, she appreciates her fans and looks back at the many titles she appeared with fond memories, despite some occupation hazards. Quigley is the unofficial star of this retrospective as was Barbara Crampton in the previous feature, who talks about “aging out of horror” at age 35, but after a hiatus from acting, has since found her place in the sun via the independent scene. She not only seems like a lovely person but is without a doubt one of the genre’s most adored personalities, practically royalty.
Most, if not all, of the talking heads return, such as John Carpenter, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Cassandra Peterson, and Joe Dante, to name some of the biggies, but we get to see more from the likes of Nancy Allen, who gets her own segment and Clancy Brown joins the list of names, who I didn’t know played an incarnation of Frankenstein’s monster. Robert Englund gives his take on 976-EVIL and Phantom of the Opera, which was a nice break from his usual Elm Street role, which I think he’s beginning to grow tired of; granted he’s earned the right.
In Search of Darkness: Part 2 is currently streaming on Shudder, the standard edition as mentioned above, and if you’re still craving more, In Search of Darkness: Part 3 is currently in the works with the official crowdfunding campaign set to begin appropriately in October.
IN SEARCH OF DARKNESS: PART II
(2020, director: David A. Weiner)
production stills courtesy of CreatorVC