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Film / Nightmare at Noon

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Nightmare at Noon is a 1987 American low-budget Direct to Video horror film written and directed by Nico Mastorakis.

A mad scientist (Brion James) creates a substance that turns people into mindless murderers with green blood, and uses it to infect people in a small town in Utah. Ken Griffiths (Wings Hauser) and his wife Cheri (Kimberly Beck) are tourists whose RV breaks down just outside town, leaving them stranded. They join forces with Sheriff Hanks (George Kennedy), the deputy Julia (Kimberly Ross), and former cop Reilly (Bo Hopkins) to defeat the scientist.

Nightmare at Noon contains examples of:

  • Batter Up!: Riley hits Charley (Neal Wheeler), the first victim, with a baseball bat to stop him from strangling Ken.
  • Blinded by the Light: Riley removes the scientist's sunglasses. He cries out and covers his eyes, as he is an albino.
  • Car Fu: Charley drives at a woman standing near her car, crushing her between the two cars.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Charley steals Sheriff Hanks' car and gleefully swerves all over the road, sometimes stopping to ram other people's cars.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Several cars explode when shot or crashed into. One car explodes when a man vaults over it, even though the car seems undamaged.
  • For the Evulz: The motivation of the albino scientist is vague—the heroes presume he's a foreign agent testing out chemicals for warfare, though it's never confirmed—but his sadistic little chuckle when he has a witness killed and his fixation on watching his carnage for hours on end through a pair of binoculars certainly suggest there's nothing greater for him in this than the fun of it.
  • Impaled Palm: Charley stabs a waitress through the hand, pinning her to the counter.
  • Left for Dead: Riley shoots the scientist in the leg, forces him to eat some of the substance he created, and leaves him in the desert as he starts to lose his mind.
  • Man on Fire: Sheriff Hanks gets set on fire by the scientist's goons' flamethrowers, shortly before the poison would have turned him into a killer. He runs around in flames, then throws himself into the goons' van to destroy it.
  • Mercy Kill: Attempted. After Cheri is contaminated, Ken goes to her cell to shoot her, crying, but Riley pulls him away and talks him out of it.
  • No-Sell: Ken punches Charley in the face. Charley barely reacts. Ken yells, "Oh, shiiiit!" as Charley throws him over a table.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Riley shoots the albino scientist in the leg and forces him to ingest some of the stuff that's been turning people into insane mutants, then leaves him out in the middle of the desert to die. Given the scientist had poisoned an entire town's water supply with the same stuff and gotten dozens of innocent people killed, apparently for nothing but his own amusement, there's little pity to be felt for him.
  • Smoking Barrel Blowout: Played with. After Julia injects a victim with tranquilizers, she blows on the syringe.
  • The Spook: Who is the albino Mad Scientist? Why does he poison the valley and why is he so obsessed with documenting the results (beyond, apparently, the shits and giggles)? Does he work for anybody? The film never answers these questions. At beat, the heroes speculate he could be from another country, but this is never confirmed. Not helping is the fact that neither the scientist nor his minions ever say a word, English or otherwise.
  • Vanity License Plate: Ken is an attorney. His license plate says, "I SUE U."
  • Water Source Tampering: The scientist put his substance into the town water supply, so people are safe as long as they don't drink the tap water.
  • Your Makeup Is Running: Julia cries mascara down her face when she shoots a victim who is attempting to murder her child.