Thursday, October 21, 2021

#2,644. Nightmare (1981)


Writer / director Romano Scavolini’s 1981 horror film Nightmare is one nasty little slasher!

George Tatum (Baird Stafford), a diagnosed schizophrenic committed to a psychiatric ward for mutilating a Brooklyn family, has been the subject of an experiment designed to curb - and eventually eliminate – his violent tendencies.

Convinced the treatment was a success, the hospital discharges George, who, soon after his release, steals a car and drives from New York to Florida so he can stalk single mom Susan (Sharon Smith) and her three kids.

Even by ‘80s standards, Nightmare is a brutal picture; before arriving in Florida, George makes a pit stop in South Carolina, where he murders waitress Barbara (Kathleen Ferguson), first slashing her throat (not the greatest effect, but good enough to make you cringe) and then stabbing her repeatedly. Scavolini doesn’t shy away from nudity either; at one point George takes a nighttime stroll down New York’s infamous 42nd Street, where he visits a porn theater and watches a live sex show.

Overall, Nightmare is an effective slasher, with some strong gore scenes (though I don’t believe for a minute the producer’s claim that Tom Savini handled the effects; the quality is nowhere near his standard), and fans of ‘80s horror will probably enjoy it as much as I did.

But go in knowing that Nightmare is not for the squeamish. Unlike other films, this movie deserved its spot on the UK’s Video Nasties list!
Rating: 8 out of 10

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