Nightmares is one of the pioneer movies from the Ozploitation scene, released in 1980 by director John D. Lamond who had set out to make the most gratuitous movie that he could.
The auteur of the genre would openly admit that it’s by far from being the perfect film and had room to be better.
Provided with the opportunity to make a low-budget, quick feature was in his grasp and the weaknesses are clearly on show here, but this is also part of its appeal.
A gritty, voyeuristic journey from the mind of a deeply psychologically scarred antagonist, a product of her environment, where it is little wonder that she would become unhinged.
As a young girl, Cathy (Jenny Neumann) tries to prevent her mother from copulating in promiscuous behaviour with a strange man, but a car accident results in her mother’s fatality and her father is more intent on blaming her for the outcome than on the reasons behind his wife’s infidelity.
The story is possibly one of the weaker components without much drive for Cathy to enact her episodic killing sprees which centre on an acting troupe for a theatre production that she is one of the cast members of called Comedy of Blood. Among her fellow cast members is a certain Gary Sweet (Police Rescue) in his feature debut and possible love interest. It’s not all doom and gloom however as there are whispers of promise from screenwriter Colin Eggleston, who had notably directed another Australian classic two years earlier with Long Weekend.
The film trudges along to its own drum, and despite the misbeats, the kills are relentless and exposes humanity at its most vulnerable, and with the full frontal deaths doesn’t shy away from brutality.
It also throws in some interesting characters ripe for the kill into the mix, which you just hope will meet their due comeuppance, a hook that keeps you engaged to the end.
The literal meaning of the words in this piece is unimportant… the beauty and the drama is contained within the drama and the opposite nature of the juxtaposition of the words . That and the comedy of death.George D’alberg
The words of the theatre director in the movie sums Nightmares up nicely.
It’s the thin line between comedy and horror that blends in a gratuitous way, cementing the film firmly in the Ozploitation scene.
It’s either your thing or not, but for me, a solid night’s entertainment, especially if you take it for what it is, and not scrutinise too deeply.
Nightmares is currently available as a Blu-ray release as part of Umbrella Entertainment’s Ozploitation Classics collection.
- Saul Muerte