Sunday, February 5, 2012

Nightmare (1980)

It's a well known fact that after "Halloween", many a director felt the need to try and capture it's success. It's also a well known fact that only a select few are worth a damn, and that many of them were either bad or just plane boring. Holding a place in the latter and former categories is the Aussie slasher "Nightmare."

When she was a child, Helen "No relation to Tom" Selleck (Jenny Neumann) saw her mother having sex with a man, and later accidentally caused mom's death. Years later, she finds herself in a play that's a black comedy about death. Meanwhile, a killer is knocking people with connection to the play off with broken shards of glass.

First things first, the movie does a terrible job of hiding who the killer is. You pretty much know that it's Helen from the get go, what with the fact that she seems afraid of sex, talks in her mother's voice, and at one point has bloody hands. While the fact that the killer wears black gloves does give it a nice, Giallo-esque touch, and several plot points (the killer's weapon of choice, for example) point it towards the direction of that sub-genre, the whole thing is too poorly written to merit much comparison. Also, the kills are bloody, but rarely that interesting, and apart from a mean spirited, bisexual film critic (John Michael Howson), nobody here is particularly interesting, and outside of him and Neumann, nobody is any good.

So, how is it directed? Well, it's all pretty standard, with the murder scenes not being particularly memorable (save for the nasty killing of a couple having sex), and the theater scenes coming off as awkward-though that seems to be the point to be fair. The editing is pretty poor as well, especially during the murder scenes. There's actually some ripe potential for satire as far as the world of theater is concerned, but the movie seems too invested in working with the standard slasher motifs to care about that.

As far as slasher movies go, it's easy to see why this one has gone on to be ignored. There's worse that came out in the decade, but that's not really a recommendation.

Rating: 2.5/10

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