Synopsis: A chilling excursion through the great horror movies, this compilation is not one to watch alone. Scenes from ‘Jaws,’ ‘Psycho,’ ‘Alien,’ ‘Poltergeist,’ ‘King Kong,’ ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ and more than 65 other fright-filled movies will keep you on the edge of your seat. With commentary by Donald Pleasence and Nancy Allen.
The only reason I heard about ‘Terror in the Aisles’ is because I read a review for the ‘Halloween II’ blu-ray; I simply had no idea this existed before then. When I discovered the online excitement over its release, having not been seen on home video in well over 25 years, I became especially intrigued. And, after a few more reviews, I decided that I just had to see it.
In fact, the only reason I picked up the ‘Halloween II’ blu-ray is for this full-length documentary. I knew that the audio on the feature film wasn’t lossless, which was a bit of a disappointment, and I felt that the DVD was enough to get the job done whenever I needed a fix – which wasn’t meant to be anytime soon, as I’d watched it last year and I’ve seen it a few too many times now.
‘Terror in the Aisles’ was a gas to watch. It is hosted by Donald Pleasance (‘Halloween 1-2, 4-5’) and Nancy Allen (‘Dressed to Kill’). Essentially, seated in a crowded cinema, they espoused pop psychology on our attraction to horror films over montages of dozens of scary movies of all genres. It dealt with our desire for scary experiences, the occult, villains, our vulnerability, the role of sex in scary movies, …etc.
The pop psychology was predictable, but, with Pleasance and Allen narrating, it was actually pretty good. And it helped the footage tremendously – otherwise, we’d just be watching a video mash-up. The editors did an excellent job of piecing all these disparate bits of movies together; they had all the beats down right, and it flowed very well. My only real beef is with a short sequence, halfway through, where we saw too much of ‘Halloween’ and ‘Nighthawks’.
As well, the film was full of spoilers, showing key elements of some of the films. Sometimes, though, the footage was re-edited in ways that would throw the viewer off (i.e. footage from different scenes of same film cut together seamlessly). I suspect that anyone who’s watching this film would be a fan of thrillers and horror films and would have seen most of this stuff anyway, so I don’t think it matters much in the end.
In fact, I’m was pretty proud of myself for having recognized a good 2/3 of the footage. Maybe I should be embarrassed, ’cause it’s saying something about my movie viewing habits, but… well, I was pleased while watching it.
Overall, I’d say that this release may be of better quality, technically, than the feature film itself (they actually included this in high-definition! ). I’d have to say that, at the price point the ‘Halloween II’ blu-ray entered the market, it’s worth the buy if only for this documentary. Plus you get a classic horror film to boot!
I’ve read some comments stating that it got to be boring watching snippets of horror films pasted together, but I have to respectfully disagree: I rather enjoyed playing the “name that movie” game while watching it. I thought it was loads of fun. In fact, you might want to take on the challenge: it’s a fantastic reference piece for movie buffs.
However, it’s of questionable value for anyone unfamiliar with these kinds of films. And, whether it has much repeat value is another thing altogether.