31 Days of Hallowe’en, Day 12: Nightmare (1981)

nightmare 1981 video nasty

feel like I failed a little on this one last night. An admirable effort was made to stay awake and absorb at least the majority of the movie while tired, coming off a bad cold (and just starting a new one today), and being a bit drunk from a Back to the Future pub quiz in which we came a shameful 15th out of 18 teams. 

Anyway, Nightmare (or Nightmares in a Damaged Brain), or at least the parts I saw of it, was the most beautiful example of a video nasty I could have hoped to have dreamt of. Not only do we have exploding heads and slow stabby stabs and neck-slashing and beheading, but it’s either taking place during a sex act, or juxtaposed with a sex act (yay, masochism!), although many of those are just the titular nightmares.

nightmare 1981 video nasty

There’s a heck of a lot of screaming. The female victims scream, child-bystanders scream, and our main character, George (Baird Stafford), screams like he’s in a screaming contest with everyone else. It sure as hell tested my volume-adjusting reflexes in case my housemates think I’m editing snuff in my spare time (minimal score + much screaming = “what the FUCK  are you watching in there”).

The plot isn’t terribly important, but it moves the gore along. George stalks his ex-wife and their son, offs the babysitter, and attempts to dispatch his little ones. Luckily he’s knocked cold by his creepy little boy, giving him time to repeatedly revisit a traumatic childhood memory of his own making (in graphic detail).

nightmare 1981 video nasty

The splatter is quite glorious, and thoroughly nauseating. Some of them are like the cascading chocolate fondue of neck gashes, the Bellagio fountain and light show of severed head projectile bleeding. It’s possible the aforementioned screams are groupie-like shrieks about how impressive the drenching zone is.

Plagued by controversy (labelled as a video nasty and banned; its editor was jailed over breach of contract for refusing to edit; Tom Savini was falsely yet plausibly credited), it still holds up well 34 years later.

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