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Nightmares (Stage Fright)

“All in all, I’ve seen worse movies and ‘Nightmares’ was made at a time where slashers were popular. There are a few moments where you feel homage of classics like ‘Psycho’, but in the end, ‘Nightmares’ can’t hold a knife, or shard of glass, to it.”

Nightmares.I don’t even know where to begin!

Originally titled Stage Fright in Australia, the film, directed by John D. Lamond, was released in 1980.

A little girl, Cathy, sees her mother doing it with her secret lover. Later, Cathy’s unsuspecting father sends her and her mother off on a road trip. Cathy falls asleep, only to wake up to her mom being fondled by the lover again while she’s driving. Cathy freaks out, which causes her mother to crash the car and fly through the windshield. As Cathy tries to pull her mom back into the car, she inadvertently slits her throat on the broken windshield.

The little girl awakens in the hospital to hear a nurse is saying that Cathy caused her mother’s death! Her father even accuses her! Cathy then attacks a hospital employee with a broken piece of glass.

Fast forward to the present day. Cathy is all grown up, has changed her name to Helen, and is an actress in a local new play. Soon enough, though, the actors are murdered one by one.

I was captivated by the first five minutes of the film. Little Cathy, mother and lover’s acting had me proclaiming it was the greatest movie I had ever seen (which means it is the worst). Quickly, however, the movie fell apart and I was having a hard time concentrating on just how wonderfully bad it was. Each murder is shot in POV. They are long, drawn out sequences with the same track of a female breathing heavily each time. If you don’t already know who the killer is, I’m sorry. With multiple stabbings and lots of boobs, the murders grow tiresome.

The editing of the film is more brutal than the plot. I had moments where I wondered if it was made for tv and the abrupt cuts were meant to be followed by commercials. Sadly, I don’t think this is the case.
The subplot could quite possibly be the plot – that is the fact that poor Cathy/Helen is turned off by sex. Granted, she was traumatized at an early age with seeing her mother and her lover – both straight legged, mind you, which you know barely works – but these guys are apparently talented. Cathy/Helen has issues with her boyfriend, letting him only kiss her at first – but ultimately gives it up. I bet you can’t guess what happens in the end.

All in all, I’ve seen worse movies and Nightmares was made at a time where slashers were popular. There are a few moments where you feel homage of classics like Psycho, but in the end, Nightmares can’t hold a knife, or shard of glass, to it.


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