Nightmares (1983)

Directed by: Joseph Sargeant

Written by: Jeffrey Bloom & Christopher Crowe


Cristina Raines .... Lisa the Wife
Joe Lambie .... Phil the Husband
Emilio Estevez .... J.J. Cooney
Billy Jacoby .... Zock Maxwell
Moon Unit Zappa .... Pamela
Louis Giambalvo .... Jerry Cooney
Mariclare Costello .... Adelle Cooney
Lance Henriksen .... MacLeod
Tony Plana .... Father Luis Del Amo
Richard Masur .... Steven Houston
Veronica Cartwright .... Claire Houston
Bridgette Anderson .... Brooke Houston

Release Date: Theatrical: September 9, 1983







A four chapter horror anthology which opens up with the first chapter titled Terror in Topagna of a woman named Lisa (Cristina Raines) who leaves her house late at night to drive to the store in order to buy cigarettes which her husband Phil (Joe Lambie) is nagging her to quit Meanwhile a killer is loose and she finds out from her neighbor while walking his dog when she pulls out of the driveway, wherever she goes, she encounters strange people along the way which makes her feel unsafe including local employees at a corner store and gas station.

The second chapter is called Bishop of Battle of an arcade whiz kid named J.J. Cooney (Emilio Estevez) of his obsession with a game in the mall that no one can beat and the only way to win is to pass level.
No one believes that level exists until J.J. tries to beat the game. But his parents ground him for missing out on his homework as well as stealing quarters from them to continue playing the game.
He sneaks out at night and breaks into the mall to continue playing it until he makes it to level 13 but then deadly consequences occur as the characters in the game come to life.

In the third chapter The Benediction a small town priest named MacLeod (Lance Henriksen) who also runs a funeral home loses his faith and decides to leave town but while he's in the desert he is stalked by a mysterious black pick-up truck that tires to kill him. Could the truck be driven by Lucifer himself?

The fourth and final chapter is called Night of the Rat a family's problem with a rat is larger than they think as it's a rat from hell. First it kills the family's cat, then it sabotages a little girls room except for her stuffed toy mouse and then starts tearing at the walls of the house as it wants something that they have.


The first two chapters were great it seemed like the best one of them all. The opening revealing a dark ground and lightning was a nice start for a horror anthology making look as simple as possible.

Terror in Topaganda was very original, dark and spooky as you wonder what can happen driving alone at night just to buy some cigarettes at a corner store when a killer is on the loose as you know it's too silent and strange that the terror will happen eventually.
The beginning looked fun and impressive with a deputy spotting something shaking in a bush but when he goes to see who it is seems to fail when it's supposed to be a jumping moment. However the scene looked strongly done when we spot a slaying and fun for any horror fan of this type.
A nice brief discussion between Lisa and Ron when they have a brief argument on her getting cigarettes when he disapproves as well as good moments on the radio announcing a killer on the loose which adds a nice touch when she's going out late at night as well as a good surprising moment when she backs up her car and the neighbors dog pounces at her window.
Also some interesting and suspenseful moments when she stops her car near a stop sign and a hitchiker is about to get in with her raging fear speeding away before he tries to get in which seems to add into the story that these people can be dangerous and no one is to be trusted due to a killer on the loose along with a near gasping moment when she nearly crashes into another vehicle too which looked powerful to watch and suspenseful too.

Also a good brain teaser is when she almost runs out of gas and tries to find a station that's open with no such luck which also is a suspenseful situation for an excuse to still be out at night with the killer on the loose and believeably frusterating too when you're in a situation that you want to be safe at home.
NIce dakr and still situation with a gas station owner assisting her and suddenly he makes out that he will attack her through the window after he smashes it which is a brain teaser after we see on what happens throughout this situation. It worked in cleverly too.

The Bishop of Battle was my favourite chapter of all time bringing back the memories of the video game craze in shopping malls. This one seemed to borrow heavily from Stephen King's novel of Christine with a boy's obsession on something and nothing will stop him.
Impressive beginning with J.J. Cooney going to the local arcade to play video games and challenging a mexican thug toi play with him as well as still wanting to beat him when he loses along with the boy's obsession and his friend Zock Maxwell not liking this at all as this really draws you in more and more. Plus some impressive moments with the other gang playing against him along with nice shots on J.J. sweating while playing the game as this looked impressive on him planning on winning. All of this looked energetically well done.
Things looked greatly intimidating when this gang discovers on who he is as this makes you cringe wondering if him and Zock will manage to get away from them before they beat these two kids up. Certainly a nice setting as arcade's are full of those types.
The fun really starts when the two of them head to the mall to play the main video game but Zock gets into a dispute with J.J. as his obsession grows bigger which works in more and more while we keep watching on what happens here. Plus some great images on the arcade game as well as him sweating and really concentrating with the group of kids watching.

More intensity adds greatly when J.J. rebels against his parents after grounding him for going to the arcade and about him stealing quarters and things like that as this looked good and psychological on the arcade taking over his life. This also looked good and powerful while we watch on what happens here.
Then a great moment when J.J. sneaks out to break into the arcade to try and conquer the game as well as neat special effects later on bringing the objects to life as well as what happens to him later on which was an awesome sci-fi element to all of this as well as J.J. battling away with them showing nice action packed themes here.
Then great reactions to what everyone spots the next morning in the arcade room as to what happens to J.J. as this is a classic memorable moment seeing all of this.

However, now the chapters start to weaken when I tell you the lowdown on the other two.

The Benediction seemed to go nowhere and was almost like a ripoff to the Exorcist as well as borrowing from Stephen King's flicks. All it was about was a priest being terrorised by a truck from hell in a deserted area.
An impressive grindhouse type of beginning with MacLeod in his farm and then attacking a rattlesnake as well as good shots on him using mighty force within all of this. Then he wakes up as this is an impressive start for a horror chapter.
A nice shot rolling in showing a funeral as well as people grieving and being upset as things don't look pretty here which draws into the mystery as well as MacLeod doing the ceremony which looked averagely paced.
A good moment when MacLeod is driving by and spots the truck as things grow good and wild when this vehicle crashes behind him and later he goes out to fix it but then there's lots of pointless moments on this vehicle speeding by and terrorising him in different ways.
Yet there's a neat moment when the truck comes out of the ground and goes hog wild driving to attack MacLeod in his vehicle as this looked perfectly intense as well as briefly revealing inside on what's hanging from the vehicle mirror which is an upside down crucifix. During alot of these moment MacLoed goes through flashbacks on how he helped others in dangerous situations but it didn't do anything for me.

Night of the Rat was dark and effective with lots of chills but it was too in which we have a moment with a cat wondering where sounds are coming from in which things seem mysterious on what is going on in the home.
Good conversations in the morning with the parents Steven and Claire discussing about the sounds of a rat in their home and what to do as it draws you in nicely looking natural.

Great moments when Claire sees her cupboards shaking as well as her slowly going to it about to open it yet is cautious which makes you cringe wondering if you will get a scene that will make you jump out of your seat. It was sure suspenseful and making you watch very carefully. Also some great moments on cupboards being burst open with a brief quick shot on some rodent flying through which looked bigger than the average as this draws in the mystery along with the suspense going on here.
Good argumentive discussion between the two of them in bed when they hear the rat getting caught with her insisting to get rid of it as the moments here looked strong.

A good dark and creepy scene underneath the house and a disturbing moment when a cat gets killed since I'm a cat lover but of course it was the films drawing card once you watch the whole chapter to it and the cat was never harmed in any way in reality too so you gotta look at it that way.
A perfect dark moment when Claire goes underneath the home and finds out what happens to her pet as well as a good snarling sound on a giant rodent as well as a nice brief shot on it with it's glowing eyes as this looked perfectly scary.
Great still moments when their little girl Brooke realises on what happened to her recroom being torn apart except for a stuffed mouse as well as the room shaking and other stuff happening seeing Brooke getting scared as well Claire herself and things looked perfectly intense with all of this happening which was well done.

Things get more terrorising with Steven trying to blow away his gun but Claire telling him he can't kill this thing as well as the giant rat in Brooke's bedroom and this child being smart with knowing on what this evil rodent wants and to have it's dead baby back as alot of the settings here looked very emotionally drawn in.

Bottom line is this anthology is half decent but some parts of the certain chapters lacked a bit. Yet can be fun to watch if you're in the mood for it. Seemed to borrow alot from Stephen King tales or other anthology flicks such as Creepshow. But it's still entertaining for the most part.

The acting in the film is well performed in all the chapters. However, the first chapter Terror in Topaganda was a wee bit rough but still enjoyable by lead actress Cristina Raines (Lisa the Wife) as she did well at being tense as well as playing a good person feeding her addiction to smoking. She shows a good hard headed behavior during the near beginning of her role. ALso was believeable by being scared and cautious throughout the rest of her part in the story. Plus shows good energy when acting frusterated. Shows a great relieved attitude later on in the end of her performance as well as showing good will power to quit smoking which draws in your attention by how she reacts to everything here.
Joe Lambie (Phil the Husband) however could've been better but he wasn't lousy. He seemed to know his craft by portraying the ideal husband as well as offering a good intelligent attitude. So he shows nice enthusiasm into all of what he did.

In The Bishop of Battle we spot quite a young teenaged Emilio Estevez (J.J. Cooney) who does wonderful as an typical teenaged kid obsessed by a video game as he really brings it out with his role. He for sure really focused well on playing video games and getting into this marvellusly. Also knew on how act hyperactively mad and out of control too. Plus had the knack as a rebellious type not being himself since he adds a great psychological performance within this too. He's a multi-talented actor regardless.
Billy Jacoby (Zock Maxwell) is also good as his timid friend and plays his role off well. He adds a nice hyped up and energetic behavior along with showing great frusterated aggressions which was believeably performed. He also does well with his innocent and concerned behavior too. Really was memorable when he is devastated after seeing what happened to his onscreen freind at the very end.
Moon Unit Zappa (Pamela) looked stunning in her role as a typical teen hanging out at the arcade mall. She shows off a nice girl type of attitude and got into her characteristics very well. Plus reacts well to being disappointed as well at the end.
Louis Giambalvo (Jerry Cooney) was believable as a stubborn and strict parent. He offers a great tough as nails and strict behavior. Also does greatly with his aggressions and sterness like he's smack someone coming across that way. Was perfectly believeable. Two thumbs up for him.

In The Benediction Lance Henricksen (Macleod) played a perfect and tense priest in the film but his acting skills were always up there with every film he did. Shows off a good intensity plunging a weapon down on a snake during the beginning of his role bringing a nice intense attitude. Also offers a nice disturbed behavior in other spots too. Was a nice serious figure in this chapter.

Night of the Rat had a nice cast of characters in the film. Veronica Cartwright (Claire Houston) portrayed a great and troubled mother and has high energy all the way. She does well acting firghtened and disturbed after discovering on what happened to the family pet. Plus was good with her choked up words when her onscreen daughter asks where her cat could be which she really focused well onto being nervous with her answers as well as being perfectly scared by what goes on in the home as well as screaming crazily when trying to get her onscreen husband to stop shooting at the giant rat. She really got into this marvellously. Also was great by crying too.
Richard Masur (Steven Houston) who played her husband shows nice aggression to his role as someone being typically arrogant. Has a nice powerful attitude as well as being perfect blunt and short with his aggressions. Brings his anxious behavior to a full thrust when using a gun to try and snuff out the giant rat. Also shows a nice emotional attitude later on which looked perfectly performed.
Child actress Bridgette Anderson (Brooke Houston) brings alot of charm to her role as the little girl in the family. Offers a great innocence to her role as well as being believeably happy. Also does a nice job acting shot or scared by what is happening. Plus shows off great energy by telling her onscreen parents on what the giant rat wants as she was believeably smart by acting like this.

There are bloodystabbings and shootings during Terror in Topagna chapter
There is a corpse of a cat in Night of the Rat but it looks dark so not very gruesome.

Craig Safan has great dark and spooky screeching sounds during the scene's involving the first chapter as at times it's used in the final one. He also composes some great sharp violin music for other chapters in this film too which sounded great. In the third there's some nice smooth harmonising and chanting which works in terrifically for what we spot here. Plus we have some unique gloomy synthesizer playing as it adds to the creepy scene's big time.