In Search of Darkness: A Journey Into Iconic ’80s Horror Written and Directed by David Weiner
Featuring Cassandra Peterson, John Carpenter, Heather Langenkamp, Keith David, Alex Winter, Tom Holland, Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Don Mancini, Larry Cohen
Runtime: 4 hours, 20 minutes
Release date: October 6, 2019 (Beyond Fest)
The ’70s were a time of shocking and visceral thrills for horror audiences, giving us era-defining classics like The Exorcist, Jaws, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Alien. The 1980s, however, was a decade of excess and that went for horror films as well. The normal expression is “less is more,” but in ’80s horror MORE was more. More blood, more nudity, more controversy, more slasher icons, more films to choose from, and more sequels. David Weiner‘s phenomenal new documentary, In Search of Darkness: A Journey Into Iconic ’80s Horror, gives the decade a comprehensive overview. As someone who grew up in the late 1980s and was eased into the genre by my love of the video store horror aisles and Freddy Krueger in 1987’s A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors, this documentary hit me in all the feels. It works both as a passionate nostalgia project and a genuine look at film history.
Hellraiser: Judgment Blu-ray | DVD
Director: Gary J. Tunnicliffe
Screenwriter: Gary J. Tunnicliffe
Cast: Heather Langenkamp, Randy Wayne, Rheagan Wallace, Paul T. Taylor, Damon Carney
Not Rated | 81 Minutes
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Hellraiser: Judgment is the 10th (!) film in the horror franchise, a series that once dripped of promise. The original film, which celebrated its 30th birthday last year, was written and directed by Clive Barker, adapted from his own novella The Hellbound Heart. The original quickly became a horror classic and spawned a great sequel in Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), and subsequently two more theatrical sequels, each with diminishing returns. The series fell into direct-to-video territory as the new millennium arrived, but at least iconic Doug Bradley remained as lead Cenobite, Pinhead. That was until the awful 2011 Hellraiser: Revelations, a film which Bradley passed on, made solely to keep the Hellraiser property at Dimension Films.
Hellraiser: Judgment debuted a pretty cool trailer and looked a lot more promising than what Hellraiser fans have come to expect from this once great franchise. Gary Tunnicliffe, an acclaimed makeup and effects wiz, wrote several Hellraiser shorts before scripting Revelations, and now serves as a jack-of-all-trades on this one. Judgment debuted on Blu-ray and digital last week, and while not a great film, it far surpasses Revelations, as well as the other direct-to-video sequels.
Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy Netflix l Blu-ray l DVD l Amazon Prime
Directed by Daniel Farrands & Andrew Kasch
Written by Thommy Hutson
Starring Heather Langenkamp, Wes Craven, Robert Englund, Robert Shaye, Lin Shaye, Sara Risher, Rachel Talalay, and David Chaskin 1428 Films/ Panic Productions
Not Rated | 240 Minutes
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Horror movies were becoming one-dimensional and sequel-crazy. By mid-1984, three Halloweens, and four Friday the 13ths had come out. Then along came Freddy Krueger.
Freddy was different from all his horror icon predecessors. Whereas Michael Myers and Jason were silent masked stalkers, Freddy had personality. A child killer murdered in an act of town-coordinated vigilante justice, he unfortunately becomes a dream demon and stalks the children of his killers while they sleep. His grotesquely burned face left nothing to the imagination, and his ability to work within the dream world made him limitless as a killer and gave the filmmakers the freedom to go crazy with off-the-wall kills.
A Nightmare on Elm Street Blu-ray Edition (1984)
Starring Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, John Saxon, Ronee Blakley
Directed by Wes Craven
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Release date: April 13, 2010
What gives the original 1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street such a potent effectiveness is its character Freddy Kruger. Director Wes Craven conjured up a character in Freddy who is unacquainted with reality, but has a sufficiently perceptive realization to a world where he is the embodiment of malignancy. He reigns supreme in the world of dreams, always constructing, devising, and manipulating situations that make it impossible for anything else that is not evil to prosper. Psychology may not seem like the appropriate term to equate Freddy with, but he knows his limitations, victims’ weaknesses and the little ways he has to seize his victims in order to satisfy his urges for human flesh. He is self-appointed to this world and this world only. The devilish delights he finds here come at the expense of those doing the dreaming. This is what makes Freddy the most plausible of all modern day horror characters; He endures in a world where anything goes, where humans become unconscious and succumb to the illogical sequences that dreams are known to possess. Freddy integrates himself into any dream in which he believes could further advance his infatuation with preying on the weak minded.