Terror in the Aisles ★★★★

'cos sometimes you just want Donald Pleasence and Nancy Allen to guide you through the best bits of the movies you can't watch in full till Halloween lol. Can never really figure what makes this feel so much classier than the million other clip-based "horror history study" docs (if you can even call some such things 'docs') but it is, big time.

8th August, 2011:

I've reviewed a bunch of horror documentaries here and though I might just be leaping at the opportunity for a short review (trying to get back into writing more regularly here), this one should really be no exception as it's among the most notorious. Coincidentally it finally hits blu-ray this Halloween as an extra on a new release of Halloween II; I only just heard about it very recently (despite its seeming notoriety lol) and was surprised I knew nothing about it.

There's very little of social or historical commentary as you find in other horror docs here - at only 80 minutes with the list of films it shows clips from (let's just say too many to list here; and just about any horror movie you can name that had been made before the film came out in 1984). What you get is Donald Pleasence and Nancy Allen sitting in a movie theatre talking solemnly about how horror movies (or terror movies, as they're called here; a great move allowing the inclusion of such nightmarish movies as Marathon Man and Midnight Express) make us <u>feel</u>.

What strikes one most about this one is not just the array of movies included but the slickness of the whole thing. The editing is top notch - cutting together, say, door slams or something, a dozen or more at once from different movies. The whole opening sequence is a relentless montage of "alone in the house" scenes. We see this kind of thing all the time now but it's strangely impressive to see it in a production so old.

Suddenly, after describing the movie, I realise it doesn't sound like much, but it's one of very few of these horror documentaries that I'll likely watch again and again, just for the sheer assault of content it provides. It'd be something great to have on in the background on a scary movie night, or on an iPod to watch a little of on a long journey, etc when you want that atmospheric je ne sais quoi that all these movies provide but you either haven't the time for a full movie or can't decide what movie to watch. If you love horror, chances are you don't need me to tell you all this; but if you love horror, really, drop everything if you haven't seen this yet.