In Search of Darkness: Part II (2020) Movie Review
Written By: Angela DiLella
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: David Weiner
Producers: Robin Block, Jessica Dwyer, et. al.
Writer: David Weiner
Date Released: October 6, 2020
Nancy Allen as herself
John Carpenter as himself
Robert Englund as himself
Cassandra Peterson as herself
Tom Savini as himself
Rating = 4/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Following on the heels of 2019’s In Search of Darkness, CreatorVC delivers a second dive into eighties horror to have a closer look at some movies and topics that fans wanted to hear a bit more about.
As this documentary features horror movies from 1980 through 1989, it pretty much contains a “greatest hits” reel of some of the goriest moments from the cult classics of the decade. Each featured movie is clearly introduced (its theater poster is shown at the beginning of its segment), so you will have a bit of warning before you see anything you’re not ready for.
The Grave Review
In Search of Darkness: Part II takes its viewers on a second trip through eighties horror, year by year, taking occasional pauses to focus on specific topics or actors’ and actresses’ careers in their own words. Each segment is clearly identified, and on the DVD and Blu-Ray editions, you can even skip directly to a particular year, movie, or subtopic in the chapter sub menu. Every topic that comes up is discussed thoroughly, and even if there’s a movie you may not have heard of or seen—I’m a bit embarrassed to say this as a horror fan, but Part II delved into many more of the hidden gems of this era that fell into those categories for me—the conversation is still engaging. It covers the gamut from casting choices, writing decisions, acting experiences, makeup and special effects, and much, much more from a wide variety of over fifty interviewees, so there’s something for everyone.
Of course, one of the most exciting parts of In Search of Darkness: Part II is seeing this group come together. There is a good portion that returned from the first documentary, such as Robert Englund, John Carpenter, Heather Langenkamp, and James Rolfe, and many new faces as well, with Jackie Kong, Shinya Tsukamoto, and Tom Savini being particular standouts for me. I admit that my anticipation for Part II was tempered a little by concerns that it would only be the “B sides” of part one, but this was unfounded. Although it appears that some old footage was used, it is used meaningfully because there was something left that was worth sharing, never for the sake of padding. More often than not, new footage was recorded with returning cast members, and new interview footage made up the vast majority of Part II. The conversation is just as varied and insightful as it is in part one.
That said, a great group is only as good as their subject matter, right? Fortunately, the subject matter here is very good. As I mentioned earlier, this documentary seemed to focus more on hidden gems or cult classics of the era, so movies like Alligator (1980), The Being (1983), Razorback (1984), and Angel Heart (1987) got their dues, though more mainstream titles did get the nod here and there, like later additions to the Friday the Thirteenth and Halloween franchises and Beetlejuice (1988). There were many subtopics that got to shine as well, touching on horror influences, the giallo boom of the eighties, classic horror videogames and how that has changed in more recent years, horror movies that never came to be (torture in its own way!), and a slew of others. As I said earlier, the conversation is always illuminating in some way or another, and as a backer, seeing these segments was fun because backers got to weigh in on what they would like to see more of in Part II. I don’t remember what movies I wrote in, but I threw up a little cheer when the giallo and videogame segments began.
All in all, I would say this is a solid documentary and a must for hardcore eighties horror fans, though I would recommend checking out In Search of Darkness (2019) before watching In Search of Darkness: Part II so you get the full scope of coverage. Downsides are only few and far between: I wasn’t intimately familiar with many of the movies discussed which meant I wasn’t always as invested as I could have been, which, of course, is not the fault of the documentary at all and really, just gives me a list of new movies to check out, and that the documentary breaks four hours, so it may be tough to take in a single sitting. Although this documentary was initially only available to preorder for a limited time, it will be getting another limited run from February fifth through February fourteenth, so if you missed it the first time around, you may still have an opportunity to give Part II a watch. If not, though… The limited run is the biggest downside of all!
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives In Search of Darkness: Part II (2020) four graves out of five graves.
Do you agree with our review of In Search of Darkness: Part II (2020)? Comment below.