This is my wheelhouse, partner. It's time for the almighty anthology. Whenever I review one, I feel like I say the same things, so I'll skip the dim notions and make a beeline for the specifics. 1983's Nightmares is a film that has escaped my clutches for a month of supine Sundays. I found it online, but for various reasons (some unknown), I had built this fucker up in my head. This was going to be the hidden gem to end all hidden gems. So I waited for the Blu-ray, and almost immediately, my Blu-ray player went kaput. The krimbuscape wasn't connecting to the uzopafry. Apparently, I needed a new chylomier. Long story short, the machine is working now, so I finally put those unfair expectations to the test.
It's good. Honestly, those unfair expectations didn't come into play because it's been several whiles since my Nightmares delirium was at its sublimity spire. I was merely in the mood for an entertaining fright flick. For the most part, the four stories on the docket delivered.
"Terror in Topanga" ~ A Boy Meets World rape fantasy? Unfortunately, no. Fortunately! I meant fortunately! That's what I meant. Stop looking at me. A chain-smoking woman goes out late at night to procure smokes against her husband's wishes. Naturally, a mental patient is on the loose. Our grout-gummed heroine stops for gas, and if you know your urban legends, you know what happens next. John Carpenter told this tale slightly better in 1993's Body Bags, but it's still menacing. Nice and creepy. The payoff works, though I would have sculpted the lead to be less frigid.
"Bishop of Battle" ~ This vignette is worth the price of admission alone. A tenderfoot Emilio Estevez is preoccupied with an arcade game that he can't seem to lick. He's the best player amongst his peers, but for the life of him, he can't get past Level 12. Some say there is no Level 13. He doesn't care, man. Regrettably, his grades have been dropping and he has become an alienated firebrand. As a result, his parents see it fit to ground him. No arcade! Shit! If they would just give Emil...er, J.J. another two days, he could beat the game. That's fucking bogus.
That night, he flees from his bedroom window and heads straight for the arcade. Insert suspense here. He beats the Bishop! But is there a Level 13, you ask? I've already said too much. I set it up. That's me in the corner. It goes without saying that something discommodious happens to J.J., but you should really check it out for yourself. The pace is steady, Moon Unit-Zappa cameos as a mall chick and the soundtrack rips. J.J. listens to crossover hardcore bands such as Fear and Black (motherfucking) Flag. He makes a boneheaded decision towards the end, but that doesn't cloud his status as a bad dude.
"The Benediction" ~ Didn't I review The Car a couple of weeks ago? The twist here is that MacLeod, as portrayed by Lance Henriksen, is a priest. His faith? Lost. I would slap a frowning emoticon in this general location, but that's a trend I DO NOT want to start. He decides to leave the monastery (or whatever the hell they're called) and drive off into the desert. Okay. It isn't long before a big, black truck with an inverted cross hanging from the rearview mirror nearly displaces him from the asphalt. Gee, I wonder who is steering said pernicious pickup! Lance is consistent, but there is only one of two ways for this generic backfire to slam its brakes.
There is a wicked shot that entrusted my pelvic girdle with a custard slinger. The truck is nowhere to be seen. Suddenly, the son of a bitch bursts out of the earth and continues chasing poor Lance. It's a sight to behold, and yes, it deserves its own paragraph.
"Night of the Rat" ~ Easily the worst short. A giant rat is prancing in the attic and between the walls of a white family's house. The husband (Richard Masur) is an asshole, the wife (Veronica Cartwright) is shrill and I don't remember anything about the daughter. Oy, the characters are nitwits, especially the wife. If you're hoping that nasty creature effects will emancipate this cinematic riffraff, I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. They used a real rat. For the giant rat. Don't make me explain it. It's depressing enough knowing that Nightmares could have had "Bishop of Battle" plus a glorious monster in it. Damn.
There is no wraparound narrative. Frankly, that's not a huge deal. I learned that these stories were originally intended to be episodes of Darkroom, an ABC anthology series from the early 80's. According to IMDb, they were deemed "too intense" to air. A custard slinger is an erection.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 9:34 PM