This is Horror [aka Stephen King’s World of Horror Review] (1986)
My History With the Film:
In 1986, a documentary called Stephen King’s World of Horror was released. The documentary consisted of interviews with horror directors (Wes Craven, Dario Argento, John Landis, etc) and also featured clips and trailers from horror movies throughout the years. Despite a running time of 270 minutes, Stephen King is only seen in short interview clips for maybe fifteen minutes, and the documentary has nothing to do with him or his work. It’s honestly hard to call it a documentary; since it’s more like something you’d see playing in the background of a Suncoast video advertising films for sale.
In 1989, Stephen King’s World of Horror was cut up into three segments and released on VHS under the name This is Horror. MTV aired the first segment for several years on Halloween and recently I’ve ran across a copy uploaded to YouTube complete with vintage commercials! I was excited to watch what I originally thought was a 90’s horror documentary (despite airing in 1991, this was actually made in 1986), but once it began my excitement quickly died off.
What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
This documentary takes a look at horror and its effect on pop culture.
What I Liked About It:
-It’s always nice hearing some of the masters of horror discussing their ideas and beliefs on the genre and what inspired them to write and create some horror masterpieces. In this documentary, we get to hear from Wes Craven for four or five minutes. Sadly, this is the highlight of the film.
What I Didn't Like About It:
-The only other interview takes place with Bride of the Re-Animator/Society director Brian Yuzna. Sadly, he’s not as well-spoken as Wes Craven and comes off quite pretentious in his segment.
-The remainder of the video consists of trailers and clips from all sorts of horror movies. Stuff like: Rawhead Rex, Lair of the White Worm, The Gate, etc.
I try to put things into perspective when I review them and I can see how this film could have been a game changer for a young horror fan in the mid 1980’s/early 1990’s. This was a time before YouTube and being able to see so many clips from a wide variety of horror films would be a great way to be introduced to the genre. However, as a film, this really friggin sucks. There is no real discussion on the influence of horror on pop culture the only person interviewed with anything worth hearing is Wes Craven.
I’d hoped to go through and review all three This is Horrors (also known as Stephen King’s World of Horror) but I have absolutely no interest in watching another two hours’ worth of poor quality clips. There is nothing new here for horror fans and I’d highly recommend you check out a proper horror documentary like, IFC’s The American Nightmare from 2000 if you are interesting in learning more about horror and its influence in a proper documentary format.
I rate This is Horror a one out of five and a say skip it.