Friday, April 20, 2012

Dream Child - Nightmare (1981)

Oh to be a Video Nasty, a film so reviled in England that they had the moral majority upchucking their tea. Grouped in with films like The Last House On The Left and Cannibal Holocaust, Nightmare (or Nightmare in a Damaged Brain as it's also known) fits the mold to a "T". The film has seedy sexual encounters, blood, guts and a deranged psycho killer. What more could you ask for?

As any genre fan can tell from that poster, it's a pretty run of the mill slasher, but it still managed to surprise me. There are moments of really visceral gore, social commentary, inventive shots along with the standard so bad it's good performances and dialogue. It's both a testament and heading scratching vote for Italian director Romano Scavolini's work along side an amazing special effects team that may or may not have included Tom Savini.

Nightmare takes the familiar route of deranged killer George Tatum being released from a mental institution in hopes that the doctors have cured him. Of course they haven't and George proceeds on a national tour of slaughters to reach one family in particular. What was particularly interesting in seeing this last night (I got spoiled by seeing this at Rue Morgue's Cinemacabre Night on 35 mm print with a sizable audience) was the complete lack of irony in Nightmare. After a week of happily thinking and talking about The Cabin In The Woods, it was great to get back to a tried and true slasher that had none of the gloss of even a Friday the 13th and to me felt much more like Texas Chainsaw Massacre. With all this talk of meta this and post modern that, it was hugely enjoyable to see a movie that is blood and guts but genuinely trying to make a point and examine the recesses of human depravity. Some times successfully, sometimes ... not.

There's also a really amazing computer in it that has its own grasp on how percentages work.

I highly recommend Nightmare (more than I thought I would to be honest) and if you missed last night's screening, a special edition of Nightmare is available from Code Red DVD. See it for the lapels, see it for the gore, see it for the dubious parenting choices but most of all, see it.

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