directed by john stanley
Purportedly a “horror comedy,” this offering could’ve used more of either, or both. Readymade for the bygone era of the “prize movie” – or Elvira, Mistress of the Night – Nightmare mostly plays it low-key, and is made with enough panache to avoid becoming fodder for MST3K types (or RiffTrax, if we wanna be up-to-date). The major problem it has is it doesn’t offer enough scares OR laughs for either aspect to become clear; it is also held back by its limited scope. The premise – famous vampire actor is marquee guest at horror convention, and actual vampire – probably works better if expanded beyond a focus on the same small set of characters. It may have been more effective in its own era, albeit merely with cult appeal – and turns out the writer/director, John Stanley, hosted a late-nite television program called Creature Features for eight years. Well, whaddya know.
why did i watch this movie?
Another unfamiliar title, its premise held promise … though I was unaware of its aim.
should you watch this movie?
If you have fond memories of watching B-movie scares on late-nite TV, or classic horrors during lazy weekend afternoon showcases, yes, by all means. I’d also be interested in hearing how it works or doesn’t when the intentions are clear beforehand.
highlight and low point
Some of the characters and scenarios are pretty amusing – the owner of the comics shop and the talkshow debate about whether horror movies are pernicious, for two examples – but too often the line between deft hommage and inept bungling is unclear. Much could well pass for unintentional humor. Is this a terrible movie, I found myself wondering, or a knowingly winking one?