Saturday, January 15, 2011

Nightmare [aka Nightmare In A Damaged Brain] (1981)

IMDB Link:

Directed By:
Romano Scavolini

Summing It Up:
An escaped mental patient, who is plagued by nightmares of an incident in his past, heads South from New York, leaving a trail of death in his wake. Once he reaches his destination, he terrorizes a family.

Quick Thoughts: 
Nightmare - which is probably better known by its alternate title, Nightmare In A Damaged Brain - is a strange little film. This is the first movie that will be part of my "Video Nasty Project," in which I am going to attempt to watch all of the films (there are around 72 of them) that were involved in the UK scandal over the coming months (for more about the scandal, you can head over HERE).

Anyhow, I say that Nightmare is strange not because it is really anything special, but because I'm still not sure what to make of it. My friend (and Podcast Co-Host), Kristy, brought over a UK DVD of it, and while we were watching it, we mostly laughing at how ridiculous it was. Sure there were some moments of graphic violence, but overall, it seemed much tamer than I expected (something that I am guessing will become a running theme during this project among the titles that I have never watched before).

Not only was the violence quite underwhelming, but the first half of the film is very hard to follow. As if terrible acting, horrid dialog, and ridiculous music (I kid you not, there are scenes that were scored with only a Recorder... Yes, the one from elementary school), weren't enough to drive you nuts, the movie jumps from one scene to another without ever really giving you much of a story to follow until the crazy dude finally winds up in the South, At that point, it is pretty easy to understand, and it kind of ties things together.

However, while I was thoroughly unimpressed with the film after watching it, I have had several conversations about it since that make me wonder if it really is better than I first thought. And, just to clarify, I don't mean "better" in the sense of higher quality. In the end, this is still a prime example of cheaply made, shot-in-English-but-directed-by-an-Italian horror, and technically speaking, it is terrible. However, it's almost so bad that it transcends the boundaries of taste and becomes entertaining simply because it is so bizarre and inept.

The short of it is that you can tell the filmmakers had an idea they were striving for, and it could have been a decent one if done right. But instead, they misfired so badly that it becomes epic in its ridiculousness. Alka Seltzer mouth foaming, a dude in a mask that look like a Black version Sid Haig, and an over abundance of bad mustaches and beards are just a few of the highlights. You'll have to watch it understand what I mean.

Recommended for those who understand why Pieces is so entertaining.


3 out of 5


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