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Nightmares (Stagefright) 
Written by: on June 12th, 2011

Theatrical Release Date: Australia, 1980
Director: John Lamond
Writers: Colin Eggleston, John Michael Howson, John Lamond
Cast: Jenny Neumann, Gary Sweet, Nina Landis, Max Phipps, John Michael Howson, Edmund Pegge, Sue Jones, Briony Behets, Maureen Edwards, Peter Tulloch

DVD released: June 28th, 2011
Approximate running time: 80 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.98

Synopsis: An aspiring actress who has just landed her big break is forced to deal with traumatic events from her past, when those around her are being murdered one by one.

Nightmares was directed by John Lamond, an Australian filmmaker most known for his work within erotic cinema. Some of his more notable films include Australia After Dark and Felicity. The screenplay for Nightmares was  co-written Colin Eggleston, a filmmaker in his own right that is most known for directing the film Long Weekend. The score for Nightmares was composed by Brian May, who’s other notable scores include Patrick, Mad Max, Thirst and Dark Forces.

Narrative wise Nightmares is nothing more than your assembly line body count film, right down to its stereotypical ending that is all to familiar in these type of films. And while the story at hand does leave a lot to be desired. The bloody killings and ample amount of flesh on parade, make sure that this film is never lacking when it comes to eye candy.

Visually the film employs very effectively, the killer stocking it’s victim via a steady cam tracking shot. Unfortunately none kill / traumatic moment sequences tend to be more drab visually. In other areas of this production the pacing never becomes an issues as the kill scenes are spread out just far enough, that they can fully sink in before the next big revelation. Performance wise the cast are not given that much to work with and in the end this shows right through in every performance. Ultimately despite its shortcomings Nightmares is a mildly entertaining Slasher film that fans of this genre are sure to most out of it, while everyone else will be quickly turned off by this oddity.

The DVD:

Severin Films presents Nightmares in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original ‘scope’ aspect ratio. There are no problems with compression and edge enhancement is never too intrusive. Outside of a few moments in which details look soft, the majority of the film looks crisp. It should be noted that during scenes with heavy motion that there is some noticeable instances of combing.

When compared to the region 4 transfer DVD from Umbrella Entertainment, the transfer for Severin’s DVD release looks very similar. And it even appears that they may have come from the same source since both releases have identical running times, even though Umbrella’s release is PAL and Severin’s release is NTSC.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio sounds clear and consistent throughout.

Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (3 minutes 18 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), a fifteen minute featurette titled ‘A Brief History of Slasher Films’ with author Adam Rockoff, a audio commentary with director John Lamond and director Mark Hartley (Not Quite Hollywood) and a John Lamond trailer gallery (The ABC of Love and Sex, Felicity, Pacific Banana, Breakfast in Paris and Sky Pirates). Also included with this release are trailers for Bloody Moon, Horror Express and Psychomania. The featurette titled ‘A Brief History of Slasher Films’ is basically a very brief summation of the Slasher genre, that is bolstered with numerous clips and images from various Slasher films. The audio commentary included with this release on the other hand, it is a well rounded discussion about this production . Some topics covered include casting, filmmaker Colin Eggleston’s contributions to this production and working within the horror genre. Overall Nightmares gets a good DVD release from Severin Films.

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