Nightmares in a Damaged Brain (1981)

aka Nightmare
Article 2785 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-22-2008
Posting Date: 3-29-2009
Directed by Romano Scavolini
Featuring Baird Stafford, Sharon Smith, C.J. Cooke
Country: USA

A homicidal maniac is released from a mental hospital when it is believed that new techniques have cured him of his problems. However, he goes on a killing spree, and sets his sights on a family in Florida.

The DVD case I have for this movie proudly describes it as “the most disturbing movie ever made”. That’s a pretty tall order to fill. It does attempt to give the murdering psycho more in the way of character than you usually get in a slasher film. It’s also incredibly gory, far more than is usual for the slasher films of the era. But, when all is said and done, a slasher film it is; during his attack on the household at the end, he dons a mask and becomes almost as indestructible as the usual slasher villain, though, to its credit, I was able to use the word “almost”. But you know the only reason they saved the elaborate flashback of the murder at the end of the movie was so they could have the big gory scene at that point. And the Oedipal themes aren’t really that fascinating or disturbing. Nor will you be surprised by the revelations at the end of the movie, such as his real relationship with the family in question. In short, it’s hardly the most disturbing movie ever made; it’s just a slightly better-than-average slasher film. Incidentally, Tom Savini is credited with the special effects, but only served as a consultant, and he threatened to sue when the promotional materials tried to credit him with the former.


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