Nightmares (1983)

Article 3315 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-26-2010
Posting Date: 9-11-10
Directed by Joseph Sargent
Featuring Cristina Raines, Emilio Estevez, Lance Henriksen
Country: USA
What it is: Horror anthology

Four tales of terror are presented. In the first, a woman decides to go out for cigarettes despite the fact that a serial killer is loose in the area. In the second, a boy becomes obsessed with reaching the possibly non-existent thirteenth level of a video game. In the third, a priest suffers a crisis of faith and then finds himself terrorized by a big black truck. In the fourth, a family’s rat problems turn out to be bigger than they think.

This anthology was culled from stories originally intended for the anthology series “Darkroom” that were considered too intense for TV. The first story is fairly standard, but it does have at least one very good twist near the end, and it has a moral – smoking is bad for your health. The second is the weakest, at least partially because it’s far too long (the first ten minutes should have been trimmed down especially), but also because its very existence in this sort of anthology tells you a lot about just where it’s going; there’s no surprises here. The ending of the third story isn’t particularly surprising either, but it has the best performance in the movie by Lance Henriksen as the priest suffering a crisis of faith, and it is somewhat interesting as a variation of DUEL with religious overtones. The final story is the monster story which is something of a cross between POLTERGEIST and the “Devil in the Dark” episode of “Star Trek”; it’s a little silly at times, a little shrill at others, but acceptable. As a whole, I found the movie entertaining enough, though I suspect that only the third story will really stick with me.


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