Editor’s Note: It is with a bittersweetness that we close out our annual October celebration of horror. For a fourth year in a row, our staff has dedicated countless hours to soaking their screens in blood and giving you 31 great films to watch. Hopefully you’ve learned something along the way, or at the very least had some fun discussing some wicked horror films…
Synopsis: Halloween‘s Donald Pleasence and Carrie‘s Nancy Allen host a look back at horror movies and their effect on us, interspersed with clips from greats like Psycho, The Shining, The Thing, Night of the Living Dead, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Speaking on such diverse topics as sex, terror, Hitchcock, and villains, this 1984 documentary also throws some dramatic narrative into the mix.
Well since the documentary is pretty much a clip show of horror’s greatest hits you could pull your favorite clip, but one of my favorite bits of the surrounding movie is when a theater full of people are watching Halloween. Laurie Strode has just finished (she thinks) dealing with Michael Myers and she lets her guard down and drops the knife – prompting an audience member to shout at the screen “Don’t drop the knife you asshole!” Then again, the musical montage at the end (no joke) is pure bliss.
Terror in the Aisles doesn’t skimp when it comes to showing the skin, which is something it easily could have done considering it’s just a clip show documentary. They take the high, naked road and show us beautiful boobies from Halloween and many other films, as well as both a sex and shower scene compilation.
The film shows some notable bits of violence from films like Halloween, Scanners, Psycho, and many others. We see heads explode, eyes pop out, bodies transform, people get stabbed – there’s a decent amount of violence going on – but you’ve seen most of it before.
The movie actually does a good job of making you jump a few times by stringing together lots of creepy images and hitting you with a barrage of quick jump scares in succession. There is no overarching terror, but there are plenty of scary moments shown.
Terror in the Aisles, in large part due to all of the varied clips contained in it, seemed relegated to being a forgotten experience. Released in theaters in 1984 it made a staggering $10+ million – staggering in that it was a theatrically released horror documentary. That’s rare.
Packaged as an extra on the Halloween II Blu-ray release, this short documentary is worth snagging the disc just to get a look at it. Sure, it’s short, yeah it has some silliness to it, but if you ever wanted to see Donald Pleasance yell at a movie screen, this is the documentary for you. Plus, it runs as a checklist of classic horror that you should have already seen.
As a horror fan, everything about this is enjoyable. It’s a greatest hits clip show of some tremendous movies and it puts a smile on my face every time Donald Pleasance says something.
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