Into the Darkness (1986)

Originally published in Bleeding Skull! A 1980s Trash-Horror Odyssey.

“OH SHIIIIIT! I just got off the horn with Donald Pleasance’s agent. Dude’s gonna be in our movie.”

“WHAAAAT!!! That’s insane, dude. Are we gonna rip off Halloween?”

“Nah, fuck that. We need to go Italian neo-realist. I am feeling the Olmi.”

“I am feeling THAT. Let’s fuck this fuckin’ shit.”

The genesis of Into The Darkness didn’t play out that way. For one, it’s British. And Brits don’t talk like that. But the film has Stupid American written all over it. So what better way to introduce this ticket to unconsciousness than with some bro-versation? Plus, I entertained myself while writing it. If you were entertained by reading it, we’ve both got one up on this film.

Into The Darkness is the rare SOV that tries to convince its at-home audience that they are viewing a real film. Following in the footsteps of Blood Cult and most of the Emmeritus Productions filmography, the filmmakers keep the technical textbook close by. Darkness is well lit, populated with legit thespians, and hot for static shots of faraway lands that probably took hours to set up.

The plot is negligible. A damaged man (his mom was literally a daytime whore) is assuaging his kill-urges during a photo shoot for a fashion magazine. The photo shoot features ninjas, bikinis, and tennis rackets. It’s the best part of the movie. After some time in London, we travel to Malta. Everyone complains about money. Roughly half of the runtime is dedicated to padding of the worst kind — airplane rides, car trips, photo snapping, swimming, sight-seeing, a parade, and Donald Pleasance removing a pair of Indy 500 sunglasses several hundred times.

Obviously, you want to milk Donald Pleasance for all he’s worth. In other words: SOV HALLOWEEN RIP-OFF. We all want to see it. But no. Ye olde Donald serves as a red-herring while spouting off fifteen minutes of nonsense. The filmmakers chose to make a bloodless, nude-free, anti-stylized Giallo that fancies travelogue landscapes over people. However, they did lift one scene, nearly shot-for-shot, from Halloween. It’s the one in which Michael Myers, seemingly dead, rises over Laurie’s shoulder before our eyes. Only the killer from Into The Darkness is not Michael Myers. He’s a blonde Steve Perry from Journey in a full denim ensemble.

Why even discuss this film? Well, it’s British. Aside from Suffer, Little Children, UK SOV is a rare breed. Into The Darkness is not a SOV rip-off of Halloween starring Donald Pleasance. I really wanted it to be that. Instead, it’s another boring, late 1980s horror movie with Donald Pleasance that it is also kind of bullshitty.

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