I always get so giddy when I get to check out an older anthology movie I’ve never seen before. When Scream Factory announced they were releasing the 80s Nightmares on Blu-ray, I knew I had to have it, no matter how bad it was. Thankfully, the flick isn’t bad at all, even if half the stories aren’t the best. Nightmares has four tales, with no connection between them, and each story has their own special twist ending. Featuring plenty of familiar faces, Nightmares is a fun film to check out. If you want to know more, settle into bed and enjoy a nightmare by reading on…
SUBTITLES: English REGION: A RATING: R PRODUCTION DATE: 1983 RELEASE DATE: Dec 22, 2015
AN ANTHOLOGY OF TERROR! A pack of cigarettes, a video game, a pick-up truck and a stately colonial home all become key elements in four terrifying tales of terror in the anthology film, Nightmares, directed by Joseph Sargent (The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, White Lightning). A chain-smoking homemaker (Cristina Raines, The Sentinel) insists on going out for cigarettes even when an escaped madman is on the loose in “Terror in Topanga.” J.J. Cooney (Emilio Estevez, Young Guns), a video game hot-shot, dares to take on a strange challenger – though it may cost him his life – in “The Bishop of Battle.” A troubled priest (Lance Henriksen, Aliens) seeks to find the faith he has lost on the road, but instead he finds someone (or something) in this desert is trying to drive him out of his mind in “The Benediction.” Claire (Veronica Cartwright, Alien) hears rats in the walls. Her husband (Richard Masur, The Thing) believes he can take care of the problem with a few rat traps, but this problem is only going to get much bigger in “Night of the Rat.”
Let’s start with the first chapter in the movie titled Terror in Topanga. As the story is based off an urban legend, I can’t explain too much about, as it would give away the plot. I can tell you it stars Cristina Raines from The Sentinel(also available on Blu-ray from Scream Factory), as a woman who is heading out to get some cigarettes at the same time a killer is on the loose. What happens after needs to be found out by watching the movie. I really enjoyed this story, even though I guessed what was going to happen. The only thing I didn’t like was the extended ending, which seemed tacked on and unnecessary.
The next chapter is titled The Bishop of Battle, starring Emilio Estevez. It’s a tale about a time when arcades were all the rage and gangs for some reason hung out in them, making bets on who would win and lose at certain games. Emilio Estevez plays J.J. Cooney, a gaming legend, who’s only goal in life is to the beat the game The Bishop of Battle and make it all to way to Level 13; if it even exists. The story is fairly straightforward, with an interesting, albeit confusing ending.
The third chapter is titled The Benediction, starring Lance Henriksen. Lance plays a priest who has lost his faith and decides to head out on the road and find himself. During his travels, he runs into a black truck who starts terrorizing him. I think you can figure out where this story is headed. This one and the last story are probably tied for the weakest of them all. It’s not a bad story, but just doesn’t bring anything new that we haven’t already seen in other movies (aka The Car, another Blu-ray coming from Scream Factory.) There is one scene involving the truck that I thought was pretty gnarly. I won’t tell you what it is, as I don’t want to ruin it for you, but to me, it was the highlight of the story.
Last and probably least, is the story Night of the Rat, starring Alien actress Veronica Cartwright and IT actor Richard Masur. Veronica plays a housewife who starts being tormented by strange sounds in the walls and she believes it to be a rat. Of course, this wouldn’t be a horror movie without some unexplainable giant beast, with extremely laughable special effects. The ending certainly put a damper on my enjoyment of this one, as the effects are just terrible, even for 80s standards.
Nightmares wasn’t the best anthology film I’ve seen, but it had a few tales in it that entertained and I’m glad to see that it’s now easily available to pick up on Blu-ray, as I think it should be checked out by all fans of the anthology genre.
Scream Factory wasn’t able to obtain many special features for this Blu-ray, only having an audio commentary with Executive Producer Andrew Mirisch and Actress Cristina Raines, a trailer and radio spots. They do have the option to watch the movie in either full frame or widescreen. The reason for this choice is because, according to Scream Factory, ‘although originally presented theatrically in widescreen, most of the film was originally shot full frame for TV broadcast and so there’s ever so slightly more picture information in the FF version’. It’s a nice option to provide, even though most people will probably go to the widescreen, which I did. I didn’t notice any issues with the framing, save for a few tight shots. The video and audio side of things is also fine, with no issues popping up that I could tell.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
Available In Two Versions (on the same disc): Widescreen (1.78:1) And Full Frame (1.33:1)
Audio Commentary With Executive Producer Andrew Mirisch And Actress Cristina Raines
Original Theatrical Trailer
As I’ve already said, any fan of anthology films is going to get a kick out of Nightmares, even if it isn’t the best one out there. There are some good stories to be watched, especially the first two. The disc from Scream Factory offers up solid video and audio, along with a few features. Recommended.