Terror in the Aisles – USA, 1984

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‘It’s a cut above the rest.’

Terror in the Aisles is a 1984 American documentary feature film about horror and suspense films. It was co-produced and directed by Hollywood trailers supremo Andrew J. Kuehn (he produced trailers for Aliens; Jurassic ParkJaws and countless others) from a screenplay by Margery Doppelt.

Released theatrically in the United States by Universal Pictures in October 1984, the movie grossed $10,004,817 at the box office.

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The documentary is hosted by Donald Pleasence and Nancy Allen (Poltergeist III; Dressed to Kill; Carrie) from a mock movie theatre with an acting audience engaging with the onscreen entertainment.

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The subject matter is divided into topics such as “sex and terror”, “loathsome villains”, “natural terror”, “the occult” and “spoofs”.

In one segment, filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock presents his concepts of how to create suspense (clip from Alfred Hitchcock: Men Who Made The Movies).

Reviews:

“The movie is a delight! Over 80 minutes you get to see a lot of key moments from a variety of horror films … And Pleasence is far more fun to watch; Allen is hot, yes, but she’s got nothing on Sir Donald, who occasionally bugs the other patrons, overacts (his depressed expression when he talks about how the real world is scary enough is worth the price of admission alone), and generally just plays up his usual batshit persona.” Brian W Collins, Horror Movie a Day

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“If Aisles excels at anything, it’s proving how prototypical many of these films are, given the number of sequences from horror films in which victims lock themselves into houses while deranged killers/monsters/birds stalk outside and try to break in. The opening credit sequence, for instance, establishes a surprisingly consistent cinematic space…” Jeff.Szpirglas, Biff Bam Pop!

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“One of the best parts of this movie is the bad acting which occurs between the clips. The documentary is “set” in a movie there full of total ’80s characters.  They try to pretend they are watching the movie clips but obviously just have lines. Then Donald Pleasence and Nancy Allen just kind of talk around them.” JP Roscoe, Basement Rejects

“The only thing that really sucks about this movie is that it shows a ton of spoiler-y scenes, reveals, and even endings of the movies that it covers. That’s fine for us, but for someone who hasn’t seen some of the older gems covered within, it could ruin it for them.” The Horror Club

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Films featured:

  • Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
  • The Ghost Breakers (1940)
  • Hold That Ghost (1941)
  • The Wolf Man (1941)
  • Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
  • Strangers on a Train (1951)
  • Scared Stiff (1953)
    Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
  • This Island Earth (1955)
  • To Catch a Thief (1955)
  • Tarantula (1955)
  • The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
  • The Deadly Mantis (1957)
  • The Fly (1958)
  • Psycho (1960)

Konga

  • Konga (1961)
  • King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
  • What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
  • The Birds (1963)
  • Wait Until Dark (1967)
  • Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
  • Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  • Klute (1971)
  • Play Misty for Me (1971)
  • Frogs (1972)
  • Frenzy (1972)
  • The Thing with Two Heads (1972)
  • Sisters (1973)

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  • The Exorcist (1973)
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
  • Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
  • Bug (1975)
  • Jaws (1975)
  • Grizzly (1976)
  • The Food of the Gods (1976)
  • The Omen (1976)
  • Marathon Man (1976)
  • Carrie (1976)
  • Suspiria (1976)
  • The Car (1977)
  • The Fury (1978)
  • Jaws 2 (1978)
  • Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)
  • Midnight Express (1978)
  • The Legacy (1978)
  • Dawn of the Dead (1978, Italy)
  • The Silent Partner (1978)
  • Piranha (1978)
  • Halloween (1978)
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
  • Alien (1979)
  • The Brood (1979)
  • Prophecy (1979)
  • Dracula (1979)
  • Nightwing (1979)
  • When a Stranger Calls (1979)
  • Friday the 13th (1980)
  • The Fog (1980)
  • The Shining (1980)
  • Dressed to Kill (1980)
  • Alligator (1980)
  • Scanners (1981)
  • The Howling (1981)
  • The Funhouse (1981)
  • Ms. 45 (1981)
  • Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
  • An American Werewolf in London (1981)
  • Halloween II (1981)
  • Nighthawks (1981)
  • Saturday the 14th (1981)
  • The Seduction (1982)
  • Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
  • Vice Squad (1982)
  • Cat People (1982)
  • Poltergeist (1982)
  • The Thing (1982)
  • Alone in the Dark (1982)
  • Videodrome (1983)
  • Firestarter (1984)

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Buy VHS: Amazon.com

Home video release:

In the US, the film was released on VHS and CED Videodisc by MCA Home Video in 1985. It was released on VHS by Palace in the UK.

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The film’s first time release to digital format was as a Special Feature on the 30th Anniversary Edition of Halloween II (1981) Blu-ray. 

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Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

On October 15, 2012, Universal released the film on DVD as part of its Universal Vault Series.

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Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Wikipedia | Image credits: The Horror Club

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