Terror in the Aisles (1984)

terror in the aisles poster 1984 movie documentary
4.5 Overall Score

Good idea for a documentary, good clips

Badly executed, not really a documentary

Movie Info

Movie Name: Terror in the Aisles

Studio: Universal Pictures

Genre(s): Documentary/Horror

Release Date(s): October 26, 1984

MPAA Rating: R

terror in the aisles donald pleasance hd documentary

Nope…nothing pervy here

Horror comes in many forms.  Be it a possessed girl, a sociopathic killer who cannot be stopped, demons and spirits, or the undead rising from the grave.  Horror has found the screen multiple times and people seek out the horror even if it frightens them.  Dive into the horror and choose to keep your eyes open as you repeat to yourself:  “It’s only a movie!”

Directed by Andrew J. Kuehn, Terror in the Aisles is a documentary clip film.  The movie received theatrical release on October 26, 1984 and was met with average to negative reviews though it did have a strong box-off draw.

My friend and I rented Terror in the Aisles when it came on video and it was the first encounter with a lot of horror movies in a world where VCRs were relatively new, cable was non-existent (for us), and we personally were too young to rent the movies in the movie.  Despite its weaknesses, Terror in the Aisles was a fun movie at the time…it just doesn’t hold up well.

terror in the aisles nancy allen theater hd

Wow…I’m surprised they found so many actors who are worse than me!

The problem with the pseudo-documentary is that it is a pseudo-documentary.  The movie is divided up into really loose categories of horror films (not even really looking at classics besides Psycho) and some of these categories don’t seem to fit the pattern of the film and feel more like the producers just had access to the film for replay.  The writing in general is pretty awful.

The cast of the clip show is pretty appropriate at the time.  Donald Pleasence takes the lead as the primary narrator who hams it up to the max on most of the cheesy dialogue.  He’s joined by scream queen Nancy Allen.  Both actors weirdly show up in clips in the clip show so that sometimes feels odd.  In addition to the two actors, there is possibly the world’s worst batch of extra character actors filling the fake movie theater…they are worth watching itself.

terror in the aisles documentary donald pleasance hd

Theater’s closed…

Essentially this isn’t a documentary but a clip show.  The clips range from good to bad.  Movies like Vice Squad (1982), Nighthawks (1981), and Ms. 45 (1981) don’t really seem to fit the theme of the movie which can’t decide if it wants to cover just horror or thrillers (like Hitchcock stuff).  The thriller is kind of a building block of horror, but it seems to be its own category especially in the themes set up in this film.

Terror in the Aisles is a good intro to horror for younger horror viewers and gives them some ideas on what horror they are interested in, but now with the ease of getting movies, the film doesn’t seem as necessary.  It is pretty amazing to me that a film like this would not only be in the theaters, but that it would be a success…it goes to show how times have changed (but the horror has not).

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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