Nightmare (1981)


Nastiness Rating:

Directed by: Romano Scavolini
Written by: Romano Scavolini

This is my first Nasty in a loooooooooong time, so bear with me on this.

The movie opens with a pretty promising scene of a guy waking up to find his bed covered in blood and body parts. He screams! Then he wakes up again in a mental hospital.

Cut to a beautiful young lady babysitting a couple of annoying kids. None of them can act. At all. My first thought, though, as she walks upstairs to check on the screaming kids is, “Jeez, lady. Put on a bra when you’re around my children!”

The kids tell her that someone is watching them from outside the window, so she goes out to check. (“There’s no one watching you. No one.” Deadpan.) She looks up and screams!

Cut to the same guy waking up and screaming again!

Cut BACK to the girl and her charges. The mother is comforting her while the little boy…smiles creepily? Cut in some weird shots of some S&M stuff going on. The woman on top gets her head cut off.

Cut to the same guy waking up and screaming again!

We’re ten minutes into this movie and it’s already a) more violent than a lot of the Nasties and b) I’m completely confused by everything going on.

George (our dude, played by Baird Stafford) is apparently being “reprogrammed” by the government so he never mutilates an entire family ever again. Because that’s totally possible. Especially in a movie like this.

Naturally, his first stop after being released into the wild is a peep show. Like ya do.

The next day, he calls up his ex wife (the mother from those other scenes), hangs up when his son answers, and starts heading from NYC to Florida, where they are.

I’m pretty sure we all see were this is heading.

Yep. He brutally murders a woman on the way to see his ex. And he gets a really gross kind of pleasure out of penetrating her with his knife.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, CJ (the kid with the creepy smile) comes home seemingly with a gaping chest wound while his mom is out on a date with her new guy. He’s screaming bloody murder while mom calls in to check on him and his sisters. They’re screaming about how he’s bleeding to death, blah, blah, blah, so mom and boyfriend rush home to find out that it’s just ketchup and CJ is an asshole.

George gets closer. Kills more women. CJ is more of an asshole every day. The two finally collide on a beach. Of course, because CJ is an asshole, no one believes him. Of course, everyone is an asshole to him, too, except for the new boyfriend. He seems to actually be a decent person.

Oh. I see. George saw his mom and dad having S&M style sex and it fucked him up. Little George thought mom was hurting his dad, so he killed her. And then him.

With an ax.

Two worlds collide until, finally, George is in the house, kills the babysitter from the first scenes (after killing her boyfriend after the two had sex, naturally), and then gets SHOT TO DEATH BY CJ!

This movie is fuuuuuuuucked uuuuuuuuup.

Somehow, though, George survives getting shot in the chest six times and chases CJ around with a pickax. Eventually, though, CJ blasts him with a rifle and he remembers the entire fateful day of his first kills.

As Nasties go, this is actually not bad. The acting is pretty bad, but the story is at least fairly interesting. I could totally see this being remade with Michael Shannon as George.

It’s also incredibly gory and violent. Scavolini has done his best to make it seem as if his film has some true social value (some Freudobabble about the intersection of sex and bloody violence in the psychotic brain) and he refused to cut any of the violence because “the strongest scenes had to remain uncut because the film should be a scandalous event.” He allowed the film to be released with an X rating to keep his vision intact. I commend his persistance, but I don’t really think the movie is all that deep.

He also insists that Tom Savini was in charge of the effects. He says that it’s “incontrovertible”. One of the actors even has a picture of Savini on set.

The thing is, it doesn’t really LOOK like Savini’s work. Although the effects are pretty decent, his work was MUCH better. And he’s denied it ever since his involvement was first whispered about.

Nightmare is actually one of the more notorious of the Nasties because it’s the only one to actually be prosecuted. The British distributer was convicted and did some time in prison, which is kind of horrifying.

I gotta say, I actually kind of like the movie. Your mileage may vary, but the very psychobabble that makes it so pretentious also makes it kind of…charming? I guess? It’s a pretty dark and grungy film, and it certainly doesn’t end well for hardly anyone.

If you’re up for some blood, check it out. You could certainly do worse on this list. Oh my god, you could do worse.