A Review of "In Search of Darkness--The Ultimate '80's Horror Documentary"


My parents thought there was something wrong with me.  In retrospect, placing a poster of a head explosion from Scanners from my latest issue of Fangoria was not a smart move.  After all, I was a teenager in an evangelical pastor’s home during the Reagan era. 

I saw nothing wrong with it at the time.  I was (and am) into metal and horror.  I discovered the former via MTV and the latter from afternoon creature features then sleep overs at friends’ homes who had premium channels on cable. 

I’m still not sure why they speak to me.  Yet, here I am a 47 year old pastor myself blogging about them and recording a podcast with my 16 year old son about them as well.  

So, when I saw the ad to support the ultimate eighties horror movie documentary, In Search of Darkness, on Indiegogo, I couldn’t resist.  When I received the email link to watch the documentary, I marked half of my day off and settled in.  I was not disappointed. 

The film moves year by year through the eighties.  Along the way, the filmmakers interview several of the most notable figures within the genre, including John Carpenter, Barbara Crampton, Keith David, Greg Nicotero, etc.  The documentary takes several notable detours addressing the advances made in special effects, the importance of video stores, fanzines and on and on. 

Some will nitpick that In Search of Darkness omits focusing more deeply on some of their favorite films.  I was disappointed that Friday the 13th Part II didn’t receive more attention.  Others will complain that it is just another “talking head” documentary that dominates special features on prized DVD’s and Blu-Rays.  While I understand these objections, they are not completely fair to the filmmakers for that would be a nearly impossible feat for an independent production born out of love rather than studio cash. 

Many young genre enthusiasts will find In Search of Darkness a wonderful primer to the eighties. By the way, that decade has clinically been proven to be the greatest in human history thanks to studies conducted by reputable online community colleges…would a pastor lie to you?

As a middle age horror nerd, I learned very little new information from In Search of Darkness but that’s not the point.  First of all, it was as close to a walk down memory lane as I’m going to get this side of a DeLorean with a flux capacitor.  Second, it is always heartening to watch and listen to those who have worked in horror and speak about it with respect and joy.  

I spent more than four hours watching In Search of Darkness and was enthralled the entire time—in fact, only my bladder rebelled.  $59.99 might seem like a steep price but it is worth every penny.  I recommend you pick up a copy before they are gone.  You can pre-order at https://80shorrordoc.com.  You only have until Halloween.  

Matthew Rawlings