Thursday, August 11, 2011

Nightmare In A Damaged Brain (1981)

After years of broken promises and delays NIGHTMARE IN A DAMAGED BRAIN has finally made it's way to DVD thanks to the folks at Code Red. Released simply as NIGHTMARE, I was pretty excited to see this Video Nasty for the first time after hearing about it for years.

George Tatum (Baird Stafford) is a potentially homicidal schizophrenic who suffers from seizures which are accompanied with disturbing fever dreams of a young boy attacking a woman and his father with an axe during the adults having sex. Tatum has is now wandering the streets with only an experimental drug to keep him sane. Over the course of 6 days he makes his way down to Florida, leaving a trail of blood in his wake. As his dreams get worse so do the killings until George is confronted with his past.

Writer/Director Romano Scavolini delivers what would become one of the most notorious slasher films of the 80s and one of the more disturbed as well. Baird Stafford does well in playing a mentally disturbed man who is torn up over what he does to people but the acting won't win any awards. This is your typical slasher film when it comes to acting, a few decent performances with a lot of overacting and some truly obnoxious characters (the mom!). There is enough of the red stuff to keep all of the gorehounds happy, and the effects are pretty damn good. This movie has one of the best decapitation scenes I've had the pleasure of viewing. Pacing may be one of the biggest problems about NIGHTMARE. Scavolini left rather large chunks of time with not a whole hell of a lot happening except for annoying characters to get under our skin just a little bit more. There are some killings during these stretches but some of them are off screen so there is minimal pay off.

After years of hearing about NIGHTMARE IN A DAMAGED BRAIN I was a mixed bag of reactions. Did it totally live up to the hype? No, not really. Was it entertaining? Yes, especially the final half hour or so. As most horror fans know dozens of movies were given the infamous "Video Nasty" tag in the UK during the excess crazed days of the 1980s and many are notable for that alone as they aren't very good. NIGHTMARE has enough entertainment and madness to keep your attention. If you're a fan of the gory body count films of the 80s you'll definitely get some enjoyment out of this.


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