Nightmare Cinema (2018)

Alejandro Brugués, Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Ryūhei Kitamura, and David Slade direct Mickey Rourke, Elizabeth Reaser and Zarah Mahler in this horror anthology where various moviegoers enter a deserted movie palace and are shown their grisly fate.

We’ve been exploring the streaming service Shudder’s back catalogue over lockdown, hence the recent focus on horror. You can get a one month free trial by using the code SHUTIN if you are quick. But in all honesty, after making a list of anything we haven’t seen before with a good hook or familiar name we’ve already exhausted our options after two months. Still that’s a dozen decent watches for a fiver and equal amount of bad bet dross. This anthology is a good sampler of the experience as it is just as variable but at least each entry doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Alejandro Brugués’ opener sees a buxom girl being chased around the woods by a welder with murderous intent. There’s a neat twist at the midway point and the whole chapter has a cartoonish energy. Going in blind I would have guessed this is the Joe Dante directed section, so it must be worth a watch, right? 6/10

Actually Joe Dante’s turn. A very Twilight Zone-esque diversion where a beautiful girl gets trapped in a plastic surgery mystery. Wraps up just before it threatens to get repetitive and has one or two decent make-up effects that’ll stay in the brain. Elevated by a great cameo from Richard Chamberlain and a notably good lead turn by Zarah Mahler. Hopefully she’ll be in more now she’s on my scream queen radar. 7/10

This one features the poster star demon who is an impressive creation. The surrounding tale involving sexy nuns, possessed orphans and forced suicides is too choppy and jumpy to follow on a late night watch and just lost me completely. 2/10

A woman brings her kids to a psychiatrist appointment and enters a hellish filth nightmare realm. Easily the best part of this or any horror anthology ever released. This is genuinely unsettling and well performed. David Slade previously directed Hard Candy and 30 Days of Night before moving onto franchise work. Terror is clearly his forte and this proves he should stick to it. 9/10

Mick Garris’ kiddie Ghost rip-off in a hospital lacks flair and scares. Very workmanlike and a poor closer for what has been a decent rollercoaster of dips and thrills. His framing scenes with Mickey Rourke as a ghastly projectionist have far more atmosphere. 4/10


Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here

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