41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2011
Code Red has done a spectacular job with this sleazy horror film. First off it is a two disc set. This release contains THREE versions of the film
Disc one has a HiDef Master 1:78 16 x 9 cut (this was a good print) and a full frame color corrected cut of the movie (this isnt too good)
while disc 2 has a brand new 2011 telecine 1:78:1 16 x 9 transfer which is the best of the bunch. Disc 2 is labeled DVDr - but rest assured it is not..it's a little Code Red joke..
Bonus features include Audio Commentary with make up artist Cleve Hall and Baird Stafford, an uncensored 95min Italian interview from Romano Scavolini in Italian Language ( no subtitles ) , "Making of a Nightmare" interview with Baird Stafford, Cleve Hall and Tom Ward, "New York Nightmare" interview with Edward French ( special effects artist) 2 different Nightmare trailers, Code Red trailers...
The movie itself is about an adult who keeps having Nightmares about his childhood,his past, leading to his murderous self in the present. It's gory, perverse, sleazy , just the way gore lovers like it..
I will not say too much about scenes and spoil any characters it other than there is a gratuitous amount of splatter gore, nudity, an unforgettable scene with a lady and her *toy*. To answer some questions, their is a head chopping blood spurting scene, a stabbing scene, a woman tied up being eaten by rats, gunfire gore, foaming at the mouth. A ladies' head surrounded by bloody insides, liver, stomach...
At times the film's plot is a little incoherent, hard to follow but if you stick with it like I did,as a first time viewer, you will be rewarded with a sleazy horror gem that is highly compelling.
None of the actors will win academy awards but it was at least credible for a film such as this..
This film isnt for everyone , but if you like movies like Maniac, Rituals, gore, fans of independent genre films this is highly recommended
Good show Code Red !
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2011
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Long derided by elitist and stately horror critics, but much loved by the Exploitation/Slasher/Gore crowd, the notorious Video Nasty "NIGHTMARE" has finally been bestowed upon us by the fine folks at Code Red! Grim, dark, and featuring the most shocking decapitation scene you will ever see, "NIGHTMARE" is perfect for fans of films such as "MANIAC", "DON'T GO IN THE HOUSE", and "PIECES". Lead actor Baird Stafford gives a sulking and menacing portrayal of a man overcome with mental illness, and there is a pervasively downbeat vibe to this film that is hard to shake.
This release is packaged beautifully! The original theatrical artwork with a strikingly lurid color scheme sets the tone before you even begin viewing. For extras we have a commentary track with Baird Stafford, and FX man Cleve Hall. This commentary track is very informative. Stafford has a razor sharp recollection of many facets of the shoot. I found this a very enjoyable listen. Then we have the "MAKING OF A NIGHTMARE" interview segment with Stafford, Hall, and Tom Ward. And, as an extra bonus, the "NEW YORK NIGHTMARE" interview segment with veteran makeup man Ed French! I was ecstatic to see him included as he also worked on another favorite of mine- "BLOOD RAGE". Sadly, this interview is rather short, and French seems far more interested in pointing out his extensive resume of Emmy nominations, blah, blah. Still a nice little extra, regardless. There is also a 95 minute interview with director Romano Scavolini, but it is in Italian with no subtitles. I am hoping that if this DVD release sells well enough, perhaps one day we might get a BluRay release with the interview subtitled.
Oh, and so there is no confusion, all copies are 2 DISC sets with three separate transfers. I personally prefer the 2008 HD master on disc one, but I also recommend checking out the brand new 2011 telecine on disc 2 if you are watching the film without the commentary track. The matte line on the disc 2 transfer is lowered, thus giving some more detail at the bottom of the screen. This was a nice touch, especially in the porn palace scene, but overall after comparison, I just really prefer the colors and saturation of the 2008 master.
I am thrilled to finally have this gem on DVD. The wait is finally over!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2011
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Most people aren't even aware that this movie exists. However, I'm not most people, and sleazy exploitation splatter films are kind of my thing. When I found out that the wait was over, that there was indeed a DVD release date set for "Nightmare", I felt like a kid on Christmas eve. I had first seen this movie twenty-five years ago, and I remembered it well. This was not your run of the mill splatterfest. Most offerings from this genre are a dime a dozen, but THIS... This one had a way of crawling underneath your skin to fester. Very creepy stuff.
When it arrived in the mail, I looked over the packaging. Yep. Original theatrical poster art just as I remembered it. A small warning bell went off when I read the promotional blurb on the back. It seemed to focus on talking about how many copies this DVD was likely to sell. Whatever. I watched the first five minutes of all transfers, and realized just how spoiled I've become in regards to picture clarity.
These transfers are a mess. The amount of debris, scratches, pops and everything else make darkened scenes resemble a colorful snowstorm. Given that the project was in the works for roughly ten years, this surprised me. I would think that in that amount of time, a team could have digitally cleaned the film up on a frame by frame basis. Or maybe not. I'm not an expert in film restoration. Maybe they did the best with what they had. Still, I kept thinking "Wow. Ten years and this is the best they could come up with?"
But you know what? Ultimately, it doesn't matter. The degraded quality of the film actually contributes to its overall effect. The makers of "Grindhouse" understood this perfectly, took a crystal clear print, and added a lot of scratches and sloppy splices into the mix. What matters is that "Nightmare" is finally here in all its uncensored glory, leaving a trail of slime wherever it goes. Prepare to be disturbed.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
...I'm one of those nuts who has been a total fanatic for this film since my first viewing as part of a 1983 double feature with MOTHER'S DAY in NYC. Now that I've had the DVD for a year, I can say the wait was well worth it. Looking at other reviews here, I can understand some of the frustration with the film transfers...but come on people...there are THREE transfers here! How many deluxe DVDs even give you two? And aside from the untranslated or subtitled interview, the extras are fine, especially the interview with FX man Cleve Hall.
If you've never seen this, it's worth the extra loot (now that it's out of print) as few slasher films ever reached this level of mayhem, especially the finale that still manages to shock and raise goosebumps. If you're a fan, you probably own it...so buy some more for holiday presents!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2011
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I find the footage of 42nd street in all its dangerous and lurid detail really appeals to my sense of long gone seedy N.Y.C aestheticism, a neon labyrinth of temptation and vice. Lead actor Baird Stafford recants his photographic memory for this production on his commentary track "that shooting these scenes after dark was asking for a mugging" Thankfully the camera sticking out of the car following him allowed his safe passage.
Stafford is the star here, in a performance so committed that it transcends the regular suspension of disbelief required for general film viewing and not least in horror cinema. Unlike in the similarly comparable film: Maniac where titular actor Joe Spinell breaks his believability of playing a disturbed psychopath to enact dialogue scenes with Caroline Munro, so the film could gain financial completion, in Nightmare Baird Stafford remains true to his character. When we see George Tatum foaming at the mouth and the effluvia running into his nose and eyes as he writhes and contorts his body in seizure is one of many seemingly convincing portraits of physical and emotional psychosis.
What sets this apart from so many slasher / gore movies of this period is the fusion of graphic sexual suggestion and gore, I can't think of another picture I've seen quite like this one. The special effects makeup may not be the most convincing ever put on screen, although they look suitably horrible enough for this viewer, but the inclusion of child actors involved is genuinely disturbing and some may argue morally dubious, but hey it's only a movie. The child playing the disturbed George as a boy is another credible performance and if you listen to the commentary track you will hear how the boy's mother on seeing her son emerge from the shooting of the recurrent "Nightmare" was that of being horrified.
Here in Blighty this film is widely known by fans as being one of the most notorious video nasties on the banned list, not least in part due to the fact that the UK distributor was jailed here for six months, not surprisingly then that the movie is unlikely to ever get released here in this the full and uncut edition.
As an older viewer returning to this film after many years I can see now that Nightmare does steal from Italy's grandfather of horror cinema Mario Bava. Anyone familiar with the reveal shot in: Shock 1977 used twice in Nightmare and the bouncing white ball signifying madness in: Kill Baby, Kill 1966, but if you're going to steal then stealing from a master is the way to go.
Special mention must go to this film's score which perfectly complements the theme of mental psychosis. This synthesizer based composition sounds something like trapped birds crying, very creepy and one of the more original early 1980's horror scores.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2011
I'm one of those who has been waiting for this film to see a proper DVD release ever since the defunct Program Power label announced they were working on it over 10 years ago. Sure, there has been a cut UK DVD release (from a poor quality master) as well as a bootleg VCD release, but after years of waiting, Code Red finally gives us the real deal.
NIGHTMARE, aka NIGHTMARES IN A DAMAGED BRAIN, is perhaps the most artistic and affecting slasher film of the 1980s. It's also seriously sleazy and inappropriate for youngsters, going way beyond the R-rating that 21st Century Distribution tried to claim it earned upon its initial release. Though it has its share of blatant faults (some as a result of interference by the film's producers), it packs a bigger punch than any other slasher film from the era that I can think of. Sure, flicks like THE PROWLER were nasty in terms of gore, but NIGHTMARE goes a step beyond that and actually manages to be a truly emotional experience. I have watched this movie maybe 20 to 30 times since I first saw it on video back in the '80s, and believe it or not, I get a bit teary eyed at key scenes even still.
The film's pluses include above average acting from the leads (specifically Baird Stafford, Sharon Smith and Mik Cribben), exceptionally gory violence (let's face it, why else would you watch a slasher film?), an overall vibe of unpleasantness, an obvious love for the material by the director, and a truly exceptional and emotional score by the elusive Jack Eric Williams (why hasn't his name popped up since?). Minuses include some serious lapses in logic and a few blatantly phony special effects.
As for the DVD, the release had its share of setbacks, and knowing this, it's amazing that we have what we do have here. There is not one but THREE different transfers of the film, and as others have said, the one you'll come back to is the 16x9 one on the second disc. All prints used for the transfers have significant damage at the reel changes, but this is by far the best this film has ever looked on home video. Unfortunately the lengthy interview with Romano Scavolini is not subtitled, but to my surprise, I felt that the other interviews and commentary clarified enough that I didn't feel as if I was missing too much as a result of this. While the comments from Cleve Hall and Baird Stafford are especially insightful (as is the brief interview with Ed French), it is a shame that Tom Ward's piece (21st Century distributor) as he is interviewed by the film's editor, is essentially worthless. It is obvious that Ward remembers little about the film's problems getting played, as he states there were no problems whatsoever when in fact the film was cut by many theater owners or projectionists due to complaints or anticipated complaints due to the excessive gore and/or sex. Having the film's editor's voice on the interview without hearing him comment on the film is a missed opportunity as well. If you know about the film, you probably know that it went out with the credit that Tom Savini was the Special Effects Director. The various interviews clarify exactly what roles each effects technician played and how Savini's name got on the credits.
All said, I can strongly recommend this DVD to any fan of '80s slasher films. I am well aware that for some reason this film polarizes horror film fans -- I have met a few who absolutely hate this movie -- but it really deserves to be revisited, and Code Red's efforts to finally bring it to us should be recognized.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I honestly never thought it would happen... Nightmare (AKA Nightmare in a Damaged Brain) has been shown some much deserved love. This Code Red release should be applauded for the extras (which include audio commentary, interviews, trailers, a Hi-Def master, and telecine. Thank you Code Red for preserving this sleazy horror gem!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2011
Classic 80s story. I graduated High School in 1982. Missed this in it's prime! The "specs" in the print are supposed to be there. The girls are "natural" the script and acting are very on par for time! The print and audio are also perfect for the time period. Proud to have it in my collection!
PS The gore is better than MANY Hollywood productions!
on September 4, 2014
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I am glad I finally have Nightmare on DVD. Probably the most "Expensive" Dvd I ever bought. Great for Fans of the movie, and for Horror Fanatics; anyone else may not be as impressed because of the high price. It is a Slasher horror classic that left an impression on me as a child, still holds up good. Nice to have alternate versions of film for completist. If you want it, I would get it now, before it becomes more scarce and goes up in price. I feel eventually it will probably get a blu-ray release, but I would not hold my breath, because it took so long to come out on Dvd. It is one of my favorites in my collection!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2012
I've had a VHS copy of this film since the early 90's and I'm glad to see it on DVD. The best version of the film is on disc 2, and even though the print is very scratched and filthy looking, I think it adds character to a trash classic like this one.