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Titles: Nightmares (AKA; Stage Fright)                                  
NIGHTMARES

Vintage Poster

Release Date: October 30th, 1980

Tagline: "Don't dare look behind you! Just feel the skin crawl on the back of your neck."

- "... They stiffle your screams with the sounds of shattering glass."

Nightmares is a 1980 Australian horror film, directed by John D. Lamond. It is also known as Stage Fright.

A little girl named Cathy tries to keep her mother from making out with a man while driving one day, and she inadvertently causes her mother's death in the car crash. 16 years later, Cathy has changed her name to Helen and has become a psychotic actress. Things are going fine until horrible things starts to happened with the cast of her new play. - Written by Ørnås

PlotEdit

A young girl named Cathy (Jenny Neumann) tries to keep her mother from making out with a man while driving one day, and she inadvertently causes her mother's death in the ensuing crash. Sixteen years later, Cathy is now named Helen and has become a psychotic actress. Since her mother died with a shard of glass in her throat, Helen begins hacking through the cast of her new play, "Comedy of Blood," in similar fashion.

NotesEdit

  • It was the first professional job for Gary Sweet who later called the film "terrible, diabolical" but says it got him thinking "acting was, you know, all right."[4]
  • The film features a bitchy theatre critic called Bennett Collingswood (played by John Michael Howson) who many observers felt was a veiled attack on Colin Bennett, film critic of The Age who was often critical of Australian films.
  • Lamond says it was John Michael Howson's idea to set the movie in a theatre.[2]
  • The film was shot by Lamond immediately after Pacific Banana and edited at the same time.[2] Lamond:

Nightmares should have been a lot better. We used the Steadicam camera for the first time in Australia on that. It was all right, but it didn’t have any story. The technique was all right. Brian May’s music was great.. It was dumped by the distributor. No-one tried, nobody did anything. But it should have been better. Because it was a real quickie. I had the chance to make a real quickie, they said if you don’t take the money we’ll give it to somebody else... That was back in the old tax regime. You had to get the money, make the film, be finished by a certain time, you couldn’t take longer.[2]

VillainEdit

Cathy (Jenny Neumann) - Psychotic actress

ReviewEdit

This is a rather strange early Australian attempt to ape the American slasher films, but it is only really interesting in the places where it deviates from them. It's one of a small number of slasher films that is set in a theater during a theatrical production, which not only provides a good setting, but also a lot of very worthy victims (theater actors, directors, critics, etc.) as well as a very believable reason why no one notices the initial disappearances (theater people being as self-absorbed and narcissistic as they get). Unfortunately, the back story is very lame, involving a young acting ingenue (Jenny Neumann) with a vague, troubled past (her mother died in a car accident after a sexual tryst). When she is cast in a new theater production, people start being brutally murdered. So who is the killer? Unfortunately, it's probably EXACTLY who you think it is.

The director of this movie was an unknown (at least outside Australia), but the co-writer/co-producer Collin Eggleston gave the world both the idiotic sex film "Fantasm Comes Again" and underrated nature-gone-amok thriller "Long Weekend". Jenny Neumann also appeared in American slasher semi-classic "Hell Night" where she played the English girl (you know, the one who WASN'T Linda Blair)who spends her entire screen time in bed with a guy without ever actually taking off her underwear. Regrettably, she doesn't get naked here either, but pretty much everyone else does. This movie stands apart from the rest of the slasher films in the sheer gratuitousness of its gratuitous nudity, including a LONG scene where one corpulent Aussie lass is chased butt-naked out of the theater and into the street by the killer. In this respect the movie kind of resembles Pete Walkers sexploitation/early slasher film "The Flesh and Blood Show", but it's not a patch on that one.

The film also compares pretty unfavorably with Michel Soavi's film "Stage Fright" with which it is often confused, and a lot of the decent, if micro-budgeted, horror films being made Down Under in the late 70's/early 80's. On the plus side, it's a lot better than "Cut" and some of the crap that has been seeping out of the country more recently. See it if you can find it, but don't go out of your way.

Author of review: lazarillo from Denver, Colorado and Santiago, Chile 15 June 2007

Cast & CreditsEdit

Nightmares
Directed by John D. Lamond
Produced by Colin Eggleston

John D. Lamond

Screenplay by Colin Eggleston
Starring Gary Sweet

Jenny Neumann

Music by Brian May
Cinematography Garry Wapshott
Edited by Colin Eggleston
Production
  company
John Lamond Enterprises
Distributed by Roadshow Entertainment
Release date(s) *30 October 1980 (Australia)
Running time 82 minutes
Country Australia
Language English
Box office $168,000 (Australia)[1]

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