In Search of Darkness: A Journey Into Iconic '80s Horror ★★★★

I'd had a bout of horror films that I just did not enjoy for various reasons before starting this, and as such it could not have come at a better time for me. I adore horror for all it's greatness and faults, but my mood was low between the stint of ones that frustrated me more than thrilled me, as well as simply everything else happening at this point in time.

This documentary reminded me, gleefully, of why I do love horror so much, and why it means everything to me. While I'd been dying to see it since I first heard about it, I'm glad it was made available to me when it did (thank you Shudder!).

Though, unlike many in this doc, I didn't grow up watching 80s horror, it remains one of my favorite eras of horror for so many of the reasons discussed in this film. The practical effects, the original and wild stories, the willingness to just go for it and make the best of what you had on hand to create your vision. I think that's why the recent film Host also stands out, and a lot of indie and short horror, because they're following in those footsteps. 80s horror is by no means perfect, and there's a lot of really important work being done today in current horror, but there's so many lightning in a bottle type films that came out of that era that this doc highlights so nicely.

I loved getting to hear from a wide variety of voices from filmmakers to actors to people like me who are passionate about horror enough to dedicate themselves to it. Having them talk about what scared them, what excited them, bringing up the exact things I loved about a certain film, or learning something entirely new. It brought so much joy to me that even at a hefty 4 and a half hours, I was still sad when it ended.

Unfortunately, we are losing creators from this era. Every time Stuart Gordon was shown was bittersweet, his death was a huge source of heartbreak and a monumental loss to horror. We just recently lost John Saxon as well, although he wasn't in this, I thought of him every time Nightmare was spoken of. Same with Wes Craven himself, of course. I'm very grateful because of this to have this doc to have the thoughts of all of these excellent contributors to horror captured somewhere for good.

Also, Lori Cardille and Caroline Williams both made me so emotional talking so warmly about gender fluidity and the future of horror in queer hands. What fucking cool ladies. Also Tom Atkins remains one of the funniest and cutest guys in horror.

tw/cw: typical blood/gore for horror scenes shown