Third and supposedly final documentary in this series, from producer/creator Robin Block and writer/director David A. Weiner, focusing on 80s horror movies. This installment runs a mammoth five hours and forty-one minutes and sets it’s sights on more obscure flicks, including a welcome look at some foreign titles, especially from Italy and Asia. As some of the titles are lesser known, this chapter relies a little less on commentary and interviews with 80s horror icons and more on that of authorities and experts, most of whom don’t seem old enough to have even been alive in the 80s… all the more indicative of the magic of this era. It’s still a fun journey and any fan of this prolific time of horror will really enjoy the trip down morbid movie memory lane. It’s not quite as magical as the first two installments and one might feel the length of it’s almost six-hour runtime a bit, this time around, but ultimately, it’s a fun and entertaining finale to a wonderful documentary series. Now streaming on Shudder!
In Search of Darkness and its sequel were four-hour documentaries about 80s horror films from producer/creator Robin Block and writer/director David A. Weiner. Now the duo are back with a nearly five-hour documentary about 80s science fiction films called In Search of Tomorrow! The 80s was a great time for science fiction flicks and filmmaker David A. Weiner presents a host of movie footage and interviewees for in-depth coverage of some of the all-time classics, while also focusing on some of the decade’s more obscure films.
New documentary follows the format of the others, covering each year of the decade and some of the films made during that that year. It’s Weiner’s best yet as this flick really holds one’s interest firmly, delivering a fun and informative look back, that keeps the audience engaged for almost five hours! It’s a true love letter to 80s science fiction cinema!
Weiner rolls out a multitude of guests discussing classics, cult classics and some well-intended bombs, from a decade that cranked out sci-fi at a fever pitch! We get scenes from a great number of films, including classics like The Thing, The Terminator, Robocop and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and cult films like Buckaroo Banzai, Galaxy of Terror and Earth Girls Are Easy. We also get interview subjects such as Peter Weller, Nicholas Meyer, Clancy Brown and John Carpenter, to name just a scant few, and we also get some new perspectives like those of journalist Angélique Roché and podcaster Dr. Andrea Letamendi. Actors, directors, FX legends, production designers, along with contemporary journalists and 80s experts, all provide their own point of view and share dozens of personal on-set anecdotes. It makes for a nice variety of perspectives. It’s a wonderful retrospective that really does not feel as long as it is and is delightfully uncensored in both scenes shown and commentary made by its multitude of entertaining guests.
As with the In Search of Darkness documentaries, this one has an extensive running time at four hours and fifty minutes. It sounds like a long-haul but goes by very quickly and if you are a fan of 80s sci-fi flicks, or even better, old enough to have been there at the time, then watching this is a great way to spend a lazy afternoon, or a Saturday evening on the couch. In Search of Tomorrow is available for pre-order starting today and running till 3/27 at www.80sscifidoc.com. There were a lot of films not covered, so bring on In Search of Tomorrow part II!
MZNJ PERSONAL NOTE: As I said with the last documentaries…Being old enough to have been in a theater for a lot of these flicks, not only did this documentary take me back to my favorite era of movies, but actually brought to my attention a couple of flicks I missed. Bravo again, Robin Block and David A. Weiner!
In Search of Darkness was a four hour documentary about 80s horror films from producer/creator Robin Block and writer/director David A. Weiner and you’d think after that lengthy runtime, they’d have said all there was to say about horror of that era…you’d be delightfully wrong. The 80s was a prolific time for horror and filmmaker David A. Weiner and his parade of interviewees are back for another four plus hours of in-depth coverage and this time, profiles some of the more obscure films, as well as, some of the classics that got left out in the last documentary.
Sequel documentary follows the format of the first one, covering each year of the decade and some of the films made during that that year. Weiner and his illustrious guests also cover sub-genres of 80s horror, such as nature run amok, Italian horror, Hong Kong horror, horror/comedy, kid centric horror and even acting techniques, while discussing another host of classics, cult classics and hilarious misfires, from the most prolific decade in horror. They even cover horror video games! Once again we get scenes from a vast number of films, including some of the more lesser known flicks like The Boogens, The Being, Alone in the Dark and even Don Dohler’sNightbeast. A lot of the interview subjects return from the previous part, such as Robert Englund, Barbara Crampton, Kane Hodder and Fangoria Editor in Chief Phil Nobile Jr, but we also get some new perspectives like those of actors Robert Rusler, Gedde Watanabe, Clancy Brown, Nancy Allen, director Jackie Kong and rocker/wrestler Chris Jericho, for example. Actors, directors, FX legends, along with contemporary horror critics and bloggers, all provide their own point of view. As with the last installment, the mix of 80s personalities with some of the new generation horror fans, who have embraced the horror films of this decade, makes for a nice variety of perspectives. The stories from filmmakers and actors of the time are a lot of fun and informative, as are the tales of discovery and analysis from the new generation of horror lovers, such as Daily Dead’s Managing Editor Heather Wixson. The documentary even covers some more controversial subjects, such as the proliferation of gore and violence, nudity, sex and the extensive use of rape scenes as plot devices in numerous films. No tombstone goes uncovered. It’s a wonderful retrospective that really does not feel as long as it is and is delightfully uncensored in both scenes shown and commentary made by it’s multitude of guests.
As with the last In Search of Darkness, four and 1/2 hours sounds like a daunting sit to do all at once…not that you have to…but if you are a fan of these movies, or someone who is old enough to have been in a theater seat during this awesome decade of horror, then it is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening. This second chapter…and yes, we’d sit through a third!… is almost more interesting and involving, as it covers some of the more obscure titles and foreign films, so even the most hardcore horror fanatic might see footage, or hear of a title, for the first time. A must watch for horror fans of any age and a sequel that is an equal in some ways and surpasses it’s predecessor in others. As said before, bring on In Search of Darkness part III!
Both documentaries are available on Blu-ray for a brief time at https://80shorrordoc.com/ and the first documentary can be watched on Shudder.
MZNJ PERSONAL NOTE: Being old enough to have been in a theater for a lot of these flicks, not only did this documentary sequel, once again, take me back to my favorite era of movies, but actually brought to my attention a couple of flicks I missed. Bravo Robin Block and David A. Weiner!
In Search of Darkness is a four hour documentary about 80s horror films from writer/director David A. Weiner and producer/creator Robin Block. It might be one of the most comprehensive documentaries there is about one of the most prolific decades in horror film history. Weiner covers each year of the decade and some of the films that best represent that year. He also covers the main franchises that are now legendary and some other subjects such as scoring, FX and sound design. He accomplishes this, not only with scenes from a vast number of films, but with some impressive interview subjects from both the era itself, along with some contemporary talents and experts, too. We get legendary filmmakers such as John Carpenter, Joe Dante, Tom Holland and Sean S. Cunningham. Actors like Doug Bradley, Heather Langenkamp, Kane Hodder, Kelli Maroney and even Paranormal Activity’s Katie Featherston. There is also commentary from horror aficionados such as Dead Meat’s James A. Janisse, the legendary Joe Bob Briggs and Cassandra “Elvira” Peterson along with former Fangoria Editor in Chief Michael Gingold and current Fangoria Editor in Chief Phil Nobile Jr, to name a few. It creates a vast amount of knowledge and experience to share, as well as, some really interesting anecdotes and stories from the talent who where part of this great era. Perfect examples of this are Kane Hodder’s gleeful recounting of almost being killed by a fire stunt in his first outing as Jason and John Carpenter’s apparent dislike of 80s hair fashion. Who knew? It’s a lot of fun and for the uninitiated, offers a large selection of movies to catch up with and is a virtual history lesson of this great time in horror.
The documentary’s flaws are minor and few. While never boring, four hours is a long haul, but if you can sit still for such a period of time, it is well worth it. The documentary only covers the mainstream titles, so if you were there during the era or well versed in the flicks of the time, there is nothing obscure or surprising for you. There was also a little too much commentary from the host/creator of Youtube’s Dead Meat, James A. Janisse. While one can appreciate the enthusiasm for films of this era from someone who doesn’t look old enough to have even been alive during the 80s, his over-animated delivery starts to get grating after a while and by the third and fourth hour, you wish he’d take it down a notch. The amount of footage of him used also seems uneven compared to the contributions from the other interviewees. Other than that, if you have a healthy attention span and love this era of horror filmmaking, this is definitely a recommended watch.
Take it from one who was there in the 80s and saw most of the films discussed, in a theater, this was a wonderful trip back to a favorite decade for horror films. It was great to hear stories and facts from the filmmakers and personalities involved and heartwarming to see some of the new generation horror fans embracing the style and films of the time. Four hours well spent returning to a treasured time and many a favorite classic. A must for horror fans of any age.