- Movie Rating -

Nightmares (1983)

| September 9, 1983

I can always see the seams.  I pride myself of having become so adept that I can tell when a television production is trying to masquerade as a feature film.  They’re just different, and you learn how to tell the difference.  I learn after-the-fact that, yes, Nightmares was a television production, an anthology meant for a short-lived ABC series called “Darkroom” narrated by James Coburn.

I never saw “Darkroom” but I sensed from the description that it was one more descendent of “The Twilight Zone” featuring hapless people trapped in a weird horror scenario that either killed them, trapped them or taught them a valuable lesson.

The first story “Terror in Topanga” just feels like it was made for an anthology TV series.  It tells the story of a woman named Lisa (Cristina Raines) who has a craving for her next cigarette and defies her husband’s command to stay in the house only to discover that the car’s tank is almost empty.  She sneaks out, missing the TV report that says that a vicious serial killer is in the area.

The second is “The Bishop of Battle,” a predictable slice of anthology mayhem involving an otherwise bright teenager named J.J. (Emilio Estevez) who life is entirely consumed by a video game called The Bishop of Battle.  J.J., like the nicotine addict in the previous story is hounded by outside pressures about his addiction and sneaks out to meet it.  The ending of this one you see coming from a mile away.

The third story is “Benediction” and stars Lance Hendrickson as a priest who has lost his faith and run away from his church only to be chased down by a runaway car, much like the one in Duel.  This one isn’t as predictable but as killer car stories go, it’s kind of low bar.

The finale is kind of stupid.  “Night of the Rat” tells the story of Claire (Veroncia Cartwright) and Steven (Richard Mauser) who become very aware that they have a rat problem in their home.  What they don’t know is that this rat is massive and is also telepathic (eye roll).  Its as stupid as it sounds.

To be perfectly honest, as anthology movies go, Nightmares doesn’t rise to great heights.  None of the stories are anything to write home about, especially in a year that gave us Creepshow and Twilight Zone: The Movie.  The actors are fine, but the stories are either predictable or superfluous.  Again, this is a TV production, made for a proposed TV series and it shows.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1983) View IMDB Filed in: Horror