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Nightmare Alley 
Written by: on March 16th, 2011

Theatrical Release Date:
USA, 2010
Directors: Walter Ruether, Laurence Holloway
Writers: Walter Ruether, Laurence Holloway
Cast: Danny Marianino, Keith Jackson, Walter Ruether

DVD released: August 10th, 2010
Approximate running time: 73 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Brain Damage Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.98

Nightmare Alley is a anthology themed horror / comedy film that is comprised of an opening prolog and seven stories. With each story being introduced by a ghoulish host. The opening prolog revolves around two friends hanging out in an alley. Who are given a comic book from a homeless man they have just given a smoke. The comic book just happens to also be titled ‘Nightmare Alley’. They piss off the homeless man and all hell breaks loose. A quick rundown of the seven stories are as follows. There are stories about zombie cowboys, a satanic rat that gets humans to kill for it, a cheating husband lured into a web of deceit via the internet, a promiscuous wife who feeds her lover her husband’s brains, a homo-cidal killing appropriately titled ‘Closet Case’, a deranged artist that uses human flesh and blood for his latest creations and a modern day Jack the Ripper.

While I can appreciate and often be forgiven to productions that were made on limited resources. There are a few areas in which this production comes up short. Like the haphazard feel to the narrative structure. Another area in which things often miss the mark is the film’s screenplay. That will often leave you bewildered at the absurdity that is unfolding onscreen. Without a doubt the acting in this film’s most glaring flaw. The performances are all over the place. With most of the so far over the top. That trying to gauge them is impossible.
Even though all of the stories which make up this anthology film are rooted in the horror genre. None of them come close to ever being scary. Sure there is plenty of blood and guts on display. And yet most of what occurs onscreen could been seen as humorous. At least a crude attempt at humor. So be forewarned this is not a horror film. It’s horrific.

The DVD:

Nightmare Alley is presented in a 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio. Details range from crisp to soft. The image often looks too bright. Black levels are adequate at best. And there is also noticeable combing throughout.

This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. Back noise is mild and the audio often sounds muffled. Making it difficult to make out what is being said. I found myself adjusting the volume on more than one occasion.

Extras for this release include a trailer for the film a image gallery and a brief segment titled ‘interviews’. Overall Nightmare Alley gets a mediocre DVD release from Brain Damage Films.

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