Nightmares (1980)
By: J.R. McNamara on October 21, 2011  | 
Severin (USA) | Region 1, NTSC | 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 2.0 | 79 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: John D. Lamond
Starring: Jenny Neumann, Gary Sweet, Nina Landis, Max Phipps
Screenplay: Colin Eggleston
Country: Australia
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John Lamond is an Australian cinematic legend. He may not be the Australian Roger Corman, like Antony Ginnane has been touted as being, but he is a great example of what an exploitation filmmaker should be. I have an admiration for any director who thinks that you can make a film better by throwing tits at it.

I actually believe that you can make anything better by throwing tits at it.

This movie, Nightmares aka Stage Fright, was direct by Lamond, and written by himself along with Australian TV legend John Michael Howson and Cassandra writer/ director Colin Eggleston. Australian film fans will love the star turns by Max Phipps, Howson, Gary Sweet, Briony Behets and Edmund Pegge as well.

Our story starts in 1963, where a young girl (Jennie Lamond) accidental causes the death of her mother when she objects to her boyfriend attempting to make out with her while she is driving. To make matters psychologically worse for the girl, she is then quite clearly told she was responsible.

We flash forward to now (well, 1980) and find the young girl is now a young woman, Helen Selleck (Jenny Neumann) who has landed a role in director George D'ahlberg's (Phipps) latest stage production, but the production is marred by Helen's hobby… killing everyone around her!!!

Now you may, dear reader, think that that last comment is a spoiler, but let me tell you: it isn't, not even slightly, and anyone that doesn't see the revelation that she is the killer needs an IQ test before they start talking to total strangers about life being like a box of chocolates!

The main problem I have with this film is the lack of flow. The film fades to black far too often and this causes a break in the narrative which I found jarring as it kept pulling me out of the story. I am guessing the theatre theme was the reason, but it just didn't settle with this film watcher properly.

If you suffer from cultural cringe, which I don't, you had better not see this film at all. The Australian accent is in full Ockerish flight for the most part, and I must admit to being tickled pink at the phrase "big brown freckle" used to describe an arsehole. Come on, Aussie indeed!

Speaking of arses, I might just lean into sexism and say that this film features quite possibly one of the best butts ever put to film, and you get to see it with the first few minutes. Nice and bubbly.
The picture is presented in 2.35:1 and is a very average picture. Occasional artefacts pop up and the image isn't very sharp. I guess I should be forgiving considering the film is over 30 years old.
The audio is presented in mono, but is a clear and well presented track.
Extra Features
Severin's disc features an Audio Commentary with director John Lamond and Not Quite Hollywood's Mark Hartley. If anyone should co-comment this film it is Mark Hartley as his love of the Australian films of the period from which this film comes. It is an interesting commentary, and some of the things touched upon in Not Quite Hollywood are expanded upon.

A Brief History of Slasher Films is a monologue with slasher expert Adam Rockoff (author of Going to Pieces) who quickly gives a history of the Slasher from Hitchcock's Psycho on. It's OK, but you and me, as horror fans, have heard or read it before.

This disc also has trailers for Lamond's films The ABC of Love and Sex, Felicity, Pacific Banana, Breakfast in Paris, Sky Pirates and Nightmares. There are also trailers for Bloody Moon, Horror Express and Psychomania.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Would an Australian giallo be called a 'yella'? It's sleazier than a slut sandwich, nuttier than squirrel shit, has all the charm of a rat with a gold tooth and flows worse than a bloke with a swollen prostate but I couldn't help but like it. It's not great cinema, but is just silly, bloody and saucy enough to keep this old Australian horror fan entertained.

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