In Search of Darkness 2019 ★★★★★
Pure joy for me, from start to finish. It’s a 4-hour+ documentary about ‘80s horror films, so there’s almost no way that it wouldn’t be. Horror is my favorite genre, and it’s the horror movies of the 1980s that I came of age with. Couldn’t even put into words the feelings I have for many, many, many of the films briefly but lovingly profiled here. Sure, of course nostalgia plays into it. But watching this I realized there really is something special about the horror films of the ‘80s. The combination of exaggerated color palettes, glorious excess and creative freedom, pop music, synthesizers, social commentary critical of Reagan-era politics and consumerism, celebrations of classic-era monsters in new contexts as well as the creation of brand new monsters...all of this and more create an amazing spread of films that are horrifying and FUN in ways quite unlike any others. Perhaps more than anything else, what set this decade of genre films apart was the huge leap forward in special effects in both quality and quantity. The effects were bigger, bolder, and more imaginative than prior decades, AND they were all practical, in-camera effects. I have nothing against well-done CGI, but there’s just no substitute for in-camera effects, because of the time and effort and love that goes into them. Because of all of this and more, the 1980s really were a pretty magical time for horror films that is worth celebrating, and this movie does an incredible job of that. Of course, you could a make whole other 4-hour documentary about all your favorites that are left out, but choices have to be made with films like this, and while there’s the occasional questionable inclusion, there’s just so much awesomeness flying at you at all times that it’s hard to complain. I sure ain’t going to. I blind bought the Blu Ray but it’s coming to Shudder on July 31st!