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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Slasher > Australia > Nightmares (1980/Umbrella DVD)

Nightmares (1980/Umbrella DVD)

Picture: B Sound: B Extras: C Film: B

PLEASE NOTE: This Import DVD is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia, can only play on Blu-ray players that can handle the PAL DVD and can be ordered from the link below.

The 1980 Australian horror film Nightmares is something of a gem for horror fans and is directed superbly by John Lamond (Felicity, reviewed elsewhere on this site), who is a fantastic filmmaker in my opinion. This film, also going by the name Stage Fright, stars Jenny Neumann (Hell Night) and owes a lot to John Carpenter's Halloween, with some critics calling it a 'clone.' The main reason being that there are many long Steadicam shots from the perspective of the killer stalking the victim before a kill similar to the opening of Halloween, only here they are drawn out way longer to add to the creepiness and most of the victims are killed during sex. What makes it different aside from the plot obviously is that is doesn't shy away from nudity and gore in the way the original Halloween rightfully chose to do. Entertaining through and with a great ending, I found this to be a good watch and really enjoyed it!

Haunted by the sudden death of her mother at an early age, an aspiring actress (Neumann) is brought in the middle of a psychopath murdering spree during a stage production, similar in plot to Dario Argento's master work Opera. What is interesting here too is that there are killing going on even as the play is happening, with some victims getting picked off by just sitting in the audience simply watching.

The killer murders the victims with a long piece of glass and has no problem stabbing them repeatedly to assure their deaths (of course after slowly stalking them a bit first). The film is full of inventive moments and clever filmmaking tropes and I would recommend it to those who like Ozploitation, Italian giallo, or slasher films.

There is a another release of this film on DVD available from Severin Films (a review of which can be found elsewhere on this site) which is in many ways superior as it has an Audio Commentary track and a few more featurettes along with the same supplemental materials listed below.

As far as picture and sound transfers go, however, both versions are similar with a standard definition with a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation and a lossless Dolby Digital 2.0 English track that sound fine for the DVD format.

Extras include...

Confessions of an R-Rated Filmmaker: interview with director John D. Lamond

John Lamond Trailer Reel (a look at some his other work)

Still and poster gallery

Nightmares is an interesting film with some bizarre characters and moments of tension. The highlight of me was the score by Brian May, which constantly keeps the film suspenseful and in many ways reminded me of Henry Mancini's Friday the 13th soundtrack or a Bernard Herrmann score. Recommended.

To order this Umbrella import DVD, go to this link for it and other great, even hard to get releases at:


- James Lockhart



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