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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2012
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2013
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). The city is grey and dangerous, the strippers are past their prime, the cops don't know things they should, the pimps aren't pleasant, nobody is helpful and street life has consequences. (It almost sounds like a documentary). There are points in the film when the killer could conceivably be almost any member of the cast, some genuine suspense is generated (at times), and the conclusion isn't what you might have anticipated. When it comes to watching this type of movie, you could do much worse than this.
There is one major negative with this DVD - it is full-frame. A title card prior to the commencement of the film indicates that only fullscreen elements were available from the distributor (probably a video master). It's better than having nothing of course, but I would love to have this in widescreen. Colours are muted, but that just adds to the atmosphere in my humble opinion. Extras include a feature commentary with Paul Lynch and Katarina (as well as a very informative interview with him), an audio interview with writer John Sheppard, and some trailers for other films in the product line.
Overall, this is an interesting diamond-in-the-rough DVD and I for one will be looking out for more resurrected gems from Katarina in the near future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2013
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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on December 4, 2013
Canadian-made film about the horrors of searching for a loved one in the United States. Full of bizarre situations and bursts of violence. What more could you ask for?
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on August 25, 2013
Despite some poor low budget production qualities, AMERICAN NIGHTMARE is a well made and sometimes scary movie about early 80s urban decay that has some neat perspectives to offer that differentiate it from the rest of its kin. A must for slasher or giallo fans.
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on August 25, 2013
Am enjoyable, obscure horror film. Michael Ironside is always very good. A much welcomed addition to my horror film collection.
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on February 18, 2013
Great giallo-style movie...Canada is not well known for it's horror genre, but this movie is a must for giallo fans.
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