Nightmare (1981)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Slasher Film  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Donald Guarisco

Nightmare is a slasher film that revels in the extremes of its genre. It delivers everything that type of film promises: there's a disturbed killer, plenty of extended setpieces where the killer stalks his prey and a barrage of over-the-top gore effects. If one is not predisposed to enjoy a film with these elements than Nightmare isn't likely to win them over. However, horror fans who like their fare sleazy and gruesome will get their money's worth here. Writer/director Romano Scavolini shows some unexpected inventiveness with the genre's tropes, giving his villain character a novel background story involving a secret government program and slowly revealing bits of a central flashback sequence over the course of the entire film to create a parallel narrative with the present day action. The performances are hit-and-miss but Baird Stafford turns in some memorable work with his raw, almost painfully intense performance as the killer. The finished film is likely to be too much for anyone except fans of hardcore horror but there is no denying that Nightmare delivers the gruesome goods for that target audience.