In Search of Darkness II: The Journey Into ‘80s Horror Continues is another look into one of the greatest decades in horror. Another examination of 1980s fright flicks may seem a little pointless. And with loads of clips and interviews, there is plenty of terror based nostalgia. But does it stand out enough from similar documentaries?
Very quickly, the documentary shows it will not be a rehash of the previous installment. The opening montage shows films that were barely touched upon – if at all – the first time around. The era may be the same, but In Search of Darkness II has a different agenda. This immediately will draw in the audience since repetition is a legitimate concern.
In Search of Darkness II spends a lot of time discussing special effects. This makes a lot of since the 80s were the decade of practical effects. Some of the most memorable and infamous scenes are highlighted. Sprinkled throughout are also examples of some of the worse effects of the period. It is a fun and informative look at the genre.
The other major overarching thread are Italian horror movies. As expected, Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento heavily factor into In Search of Darkness II. This is more than just a look at these two icons, though. It goes more into the influence of the films and the extremes they went to. There is a deep dive into the trademark style and extreme gore that was used by the Italians.
One thing In Search of Darkness II carries over from the first film is the use of segments divided by year and topic. It is less intrusive than the first installment. The flip side is dividing it by year seems even less important. The interviews are varied and are just as good as the clips at showing how influential horror has been. From legends of the genre to famous fans, everyone talks with knowledge and love about the movies These parts of In Search of Darkness II are akin to sitting around talking with friends about favorites.
Arguably, the most interesting parts of the documentary examines the more personal aspects of actors’ lives. These are some of the most fascinating moments from In Search of Darkness II. This includes Kane Hodder being a cartographer and Tom Savini not initially wanting to be in special effects. It also adds a personal touch that adds to the grounded feel of the film.
The main question becomes, was this installment necessary? In Search of Darkness II may focus on make ups and actors, but at the end of the day it is about 80s horror movies. Can there really be anything said that was not stated the first time around? Especially when many of the same people are interviewed.
The answer is an empathetic “YES!” While the film deals with a very specific period, it deals with topics that are barely mentioned in In Search of Darkness. Where the first documentary was an homage to scary movies, part two deals in particular moments and memories.
This not only makes In Search of Darkness II necessary, but superior in many ways. While the first part was a fun look at how horror evolved during the decade, it also suffered from redundancy and a sometimes aimless approach. This was especially noticeable since it ran for four hours.
The sequel is about the same length, but is much more palatable. By being so focused, it is also more captivating. The wistful reminiscence is still there, but there is more substance to the whole endeavor. It maintains the fun while providing more information. This may end up making this even more friendly to those who do not normally watch these types of films.
In Search of Darkness II: The Journey Into ’80s Horror Continues premieres on Shudder April 26
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