Mental patient suffering from horrific nightmares due to a grisly childhood memory skips out on treatment and embarks on a killing spree from New York to Florida.
After years of waiting for Code Red to deliver, fans finally have "Nightmare" available on DVD. This disc is a nightmare all right--for all the wrong reasons.
It has been stated that the original print has been lost/destroyed but since this 2-disc release contains THREE different versions of the film, you'd think at least they could manage to restore one to acceptable standard. Not so! The best of the three is on the second disc (16x9) but even it suffers terribly from dust, debris, skips and scratches. The night scenes are especially terrible. Honestly, the print quality is what you'd expect from a public domain release DVD found at the Dollar Store. I own several Drive-In Cult Classics budget sets that include 10 movies for 5 bucks and they were in twice as good condition as this, and twice as obscure.
The new interview footage with lead actor Baird Stafford really fares no better. It looks as though it was shot with a vaseline-covered lens and transferred at the wrong frame rate--it is so fuzzy and murky and does not look professional at all. **NOTE** See screen grabs I posted in the Images section of this product.
Of course, the film itself is no prize, only gaining notoriety as part of the Video Nasties list. The script is tedious and the acting bad. There are only two scenes that are worthwhile: when Stafford goes lurking about scuzzy 42nd Street and visits a peep show, and the climactic flashback sequence (though it was hinted at so often by the time it was shown in full, it lost some of its power). In fact, the flashback is so expertly scored and edited, is makes one wonder what went wrong with the rest of the film. Every attempt to generate some basic suspense fails miserably, thanks to the script (as when Sharon Smith spots a figure in the window of the Polaroid her boyfriend just snapped of the house). The kills are routine for an early '80s slasher and the kids are all annoying.
There is a commentary with special effects co-ordinator Cleve Hall and some droll, dry comments from Stafford.
The cover art boasts "30th Anniversary Edition" and "No More Than 100,000 will be pressed". Take my advice, if you wait awhile you should be able to find this thing for under five bucks. If you really want it get it, otherwise borrow a copy or wait for them to start clearing these out.
Two Stars. Not a great movie by any means, but a restored print and clear interview footage would have made all the difference.