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American Nightmare 1981

4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Nov 06, 2012)
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$28.88 $32.00

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Editorial Reviews

Every year, girls move to the big city determined to make their dreams come true...or they die trying.This is a brutally realistic depiction of the underbelly of urban degradation. Played out against the garish background of striptease, pornography, drug peddling, and prostitution, it is the grim story of a young man's search for his sister. In the process of his search, he unearths the brutal truth surrounding a young girl's death, and also lifts the lid off of the American Nightmare! Starring Michael Ironside (SCANNERS, TOTAL RECALL), Alexandra Paul (BAYWATCH, CHRISTINE), and Lenore Zann.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Lawrence Day, Lora Staley, Neil Dainard, Lenore Zahn, Claudia Udy
  • Directors: Don McBrearty
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Scorpion Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 6, 2012
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008NA3I58
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,133 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
Scorpion Releasing's Katarina's Nightmare Theater collection continues with their latest release American Nightmare from 1982 (filmed in 1981).

Katarina introduces this film as being one of their most uncomfortable and seedy releases yet and warns the viewer. If ugly people and strip clubs are what she is referring to then you will survive, as the blood is to a minimum here. Some nudity is thrown around but most of it comes from some really gross looking strippers. The "horror" in this film is urban decay and the film does exceed in that department with flying colors. I'm into gritty underground cinema so while I was hoping for a more fast-paced thriller, this film seems to drag on a bit to wallow in the dregs of society. Its a bit oppressive.

Genre favorite Michael Ironside plays a detective after the killer who is offing all the female "talent" in this film. Too bad he isn't given much to do here.

The biggest disappointment is the film quality its self. Its full frame (ugh) and the film print is severely damaged - greens and grays bleed towards the center screen from the edges of the print throughout most of the film, giving it a trashy drive-in feel. If only it were widescreen, then it might work in the film's favor, but alas it's not. I guess Scorpion was unable to get a decent copy of this film to clean up.

I'm still enjoying this line of releases which has been hit and miss, but mostly hit in my opinion. If they can release more films along the quality of Mortuary and Satan's Slave then I can see this line of releases being popular for a long time to come.

Late 2012 is the "season of sleaze" for Katarina's Nightmare Theater - A bold move for the company as American Nightmare will only be enjoyed by the jaded, seasoned underground enthusiast

I recommend this for those folks. Its a grimy film worth viewing in the wee hours of the night.
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American Nightmare
The "Katarina's Nightmare Theatre" range of DVD's from Scorpion Releasing has brought new life to some long forgotten horror gems from the video era, and I for one am very happy about that. I genuinely feel that - despite some snoozers and losers - their overall range is one of the most fan-friendly and interesting on the market today. This film hasn't been available in my neck of the world since the days of videotape, so it's a welcome addition to my collection.
"American Nightmare" is an early-eighties Canadian tax-shelter production from Paul Lynch, the man behind "Prom Night" and "Humongous". It's a grimier film than either of those, and deliberately so. It's not "Maniac" level grimy, and there are some occasional light moments, but overall an attempt has been made here to deglamourize the big city and emphasize its potential to degrade and dehumanize. The story revolves around a murdered young woman from a good family who had fallen into a life of prostitution and general seediness. The subsequent attempt by her brother to solve the mystery of her death sees him navigating through a sordid milieu of drugs, death and degenerates (and startling videotapes). The denizens of this underworld are mostly unsympathetic (except the obligatory stripper with a heart of gold who assists him with his quest), and everybody is motivated by the desire to extract whatever they can from absolutely anybody else. Perversion lurks everywhere in this urban nightmare and nobody can be trusted, not even dear old Dad. Yikes.
This is a worthwhile viewing experience if you come to it knowing what to expect. Things aren't bright and pretty here, and I'm not just talking about Michael Ironside (playing a detective, and very well too).
Read more ›
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I don't look at this as an X-Rated horror movie as some people do. This movie has in my impression got style that you just don't see in today's horror movies. Not only does it have the famous movie star Lenore Zann in it, it also has Michael Ironside, and a lot of dark sinister creepy scary stuff in it. It will scare the devil out of you. Most of you may not see the things that I see in this movie. I'm a big huge vintage horror fan and if you like creepy classic scare you to death horror movies as I do, then I suggest that you certainly buy this horror movie. You won't be disappointed, I promise you. P.S. they just don't make horror movies like this one anymore. I've seen this on on VHS a long time ago and I was overjoyed with the DVD release. You don't have to take my word for it, buy or rent it and watch it for yourself and you'll see just what I mean.
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I've always considered this film a sleazier low-budget Canadian version of director/writer Paul Schrader's HARDCORE (1979) and once you watch it, I think you will see the similarities, too. Just like Schrader's film, this one is about a man completely out of his element, who makes some surprising choices along the way in search of someone he loves. The film opens with stripper/hooker Isabelle (Alexandra Paul; SPECTRE - 1996) in a cheap motel room, naked in bed and smoking a joint. She is talking to a man in the bathroom (we never see his face or hear his voice), who is washing his hands and putting on a pair of surgical latex gloves. Isabelle is apologizing about some videotapes being made and swears she didn't know anything about it. The man comes out of the bathroom dressed in nothing but a towel, mounts Isabelle and then graphically slits her throat with a straight-razor. We are then introduced to Isabelle's brother Eric (Lawrence S. Day), a Classically-trained pianist and best-selling recording artist (he has the gold records hanging on his walls to prove it!), as he knocks on Isabelle's apartment door (he hasn't talked to Isabelle in quite a while, but she sent him a letter saying that she was in big trouble and needs his help), but gets no answer. Her cross-dressing across-the-hall neighbor Dolly (Larry Aubrey; THE VINDICATOR - 1986) informs Eric that Isabelle is a stripper that uses the name "Tanya" ("They always change their names when they do it.") and that he hasn't seen her in a couple of days. This leads Eric on an odyssey of the seedier side of life, where the streets are full of strip clubs, porno stores, porno theaters and prostitutes. He is truly a stranger in a strange land. When Isabelle, a.k.a.Read more ›
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