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Film / Nightmares

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Nightmares is a 1983 horror anthology film directed by Joseph Sargent.

The film is divided into four different stories:

  • Terror in Topanga: A nicotine addict named Lisa (Cristina Raines), against her husband's warnings, goes out one night to buy another pack of cigarettes. Meanwhile, a radio bulletin announces that serial killer and escaped mental patient William Henry Glazier (Lee Ving) is on the loose after having stabbed a highway patrolman. Things go From Bad to Worse when Lisa's car runs out of gas, and she starts getting paranoid of every man she encounters, believing them to be Glazier.
  • The Bishop of Battle: The most popular of the four stories. Arcade wizard J. J. Cooney (Emilio Estevez) is obsessed with beating an insanely hard video game called The Bishop of Battle. The game is so difficult that not even the best players made it to the 13th level, some people thinking that the 13th level isn't even real. J. J.'s obsession with the game has grown so strong that his grades are dropping, and his parents ground him. He sneaks out after dark to play the game some more, and actually manages to reach the 13th level. Unfortunately, this results in the game's enemies escaping into the real world.
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  • The Benediction: Frank MacLeod (Lance Henriksen), a Catholic priest, suffers a crisis of faith after the pointlessly violent death of a young boy in the parish where he serves. Having lost his belief in the concepts of good and evil, he takes some holy water (which he views as ordinary tap water) and drives off to do some soul-searching. While driving on a highway, he encounters a black Chevrolet pickup truck traveling behind him. The truck soon disappears, but then reappears more and more frequently and even displaying some supernatural abilities. The truck is also revealed be Satanic in origin, and will stop at nothing to claim the life of the ex-priest.
  • Night of the Rat: The Houstons are a family suffering from a rat infestation. The father, Steven, (Richard Masur) wants to fix the problem himself. His wife, Claire (Veronica Cartwright), eventually gets fed up and calls an exterminator (Albert Kague). Despite thinking that a couple of rat traps can take care of the problem, the family can still hear sounds of scurrying paws in the walls and the attic. After discovering objects falling off shelves, power cables being chewed, holes gnawed in the walls, and the family cat having been torn to shreds, the Houstons discover that this particular rat is bigger, stronger, and more powerful than they thought.

The DVD was released by Anchor Bay Entertainment in 1999, but it's currently out-of-print. However, a Blu-ray of the movie was released by Shout Factory in 2015.

This film contains examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    Terror in Topanga 
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: Turns out the backseat of Lisa's car was where the killer was hiding.
  • Gas Station of Doom: A woman hears over the radio that a serial killer is on the loose. She naturally goes out to get a pack of cigarettes and stops at a gas station. The attendant perfectly matches the serial killer's description and she gets worried. The attendant drags her out of the car, pulls out a gun and shoots...the real serial killer, who was hiding in her back seat.
  • Red Herring: The attendant is not Glazier; the real Glazier is hiding in Lisa's back seat, only to be killed by the attendant.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: The only on-screen character who got killed was the serial killer himself, and the female protagonist returned home, relieved and rid of the cigarettes she had purchased. What's even better, she ends up throwing the cigarettes away herself, implying that's she's been cured of (or at least trying to cure) her addiction to them.
  • Twist Ending: See Red Herring. Based on how the scene was played out, the attendant looks and even initially acted like the serial killer, but the real serial killer turned out to be someone else.

    The Bishop of Battle 

    The Benediction 
  • Animate In Animate Object: Averted. The pickup was driven by Satan, though he never appears on-screen.
  • Car Fu: The pickup is responsible for damaging and destroying the Priest's car.
  • Catapult Nightmare: This story begins with Frank having a bizarre nightmare where a snake attacks and poisons a baby deer he was looking after, he grabs the snake and throws it through the air where it vanishes and then he screams at the venom that got on his hands, causing him to wake and sit up while holding his hands up.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The holy water the Priest took with him (He viewed it as mere tap water) ends up being the item that stops the pickup.
  • Dark Is Evil: The pickup is black in color, and is strongly implied to be driven by the devil.
  • Daylight Horror: The story occurs during day-time instead of night-time.
  • Everybody Lives: None of the characters in the story were killed on-screen. The only shown death was that of a boy who was killed off-screen for reasons not related to the black pickup.
  • Jump Scare: At one point, the pickup bursts out from the ground, complete with a loud engine sound.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: So The Priest had a crisis of faith and was well on his way to a self-exile. If the driver is who the segment implies then it should've left The Priest alone. Especially since him losing his faith in God constitutes as a win.
  • Satan: The driver, as implied by the upside down cross hanging on the pickup's mirror.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The pickup blows up MacLeod's car after ramming it several times.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: No one was killed on-screen, and it was strongly implied that the Priest had his faith restored following this harrowing incident.

    Night of the Rat 
  • All for Nothing: Steven wanted to kill the giant rat. In the end, he puts his gun down and the rat leaves the house, harming no one.
  • Bittersweet Ending: A minor case. The house cat was killed and the family's house was damaged from the conflict, but the family themselves were safe and sound, without any other injury or death.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: The normal-sized rat killed early in the segment was her baby, and its gigantic mother is looking for it.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: The mother rodent is about the size of a young human child.
  • Mama Bear: The mother rodent starts wrecking the family's house when she couldn't find her baby.
  • Uplifted Animal: The giant rat is so intelligent to the point that she is capable of differentiating between a rodent doll and other dolls, and also communicate her requests to a young girl.