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Film / Nightwish

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Nightwish is a 1989 horror movie. A scientist and four graduate students investigate paranormal occurrences at an abandoned mansion, where they run into various horrors.

Not to be confused with the Symphonic/Power Metal band of the same name.


This film provides examples of:

  • And You Were There: At the end, the protagonist wakes up from her nightmare to find that two Psycho Supporters from her dream were a janitor and security guard in the real world, respectively.
  • Chest Burster: The students go looking for ghosts in an abandoned mansion situated on top of of an abandoned mine, which turns out to be a breeding place for alien worms. They don't just burrow in people's chests, but all over the body, like a spider implanting hundreds of her young into a larger insect.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Most of the film is revealed to be one long nightmare experienced by Kim as she's undergoing sensory deprivation in a laboratory. During the dream, while trapped in an alien cave, she falls asleep at least once. And at the end it turns out that she might still not be really awake even after she "wakes up" in the lab room.
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  • Fingore: One of the students has his middle finger violently cut off by a crazy Igor-type character who wants a "souvenir".
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dean comes across as a bit of a dick to his friends, but he does genuinely care about his girlfriend.
  • Mad Scientist: The professor eventually takes his students captive to force them to cooperate with his dangerous experiments to investigate ghost activity. He even fatally stabs his assistant in the gut when he threatens to expose what the professor is doing.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: A scientist and his graduate students investigate lucid nightmares through sensory deprivation. The movie opens with someone being pursued in a dark alley by cannibals before waking up in a water tank. Most of the film then takes place in an Old, Dark House where they investigate paranormal occurrences, start hallucinating, and discover alien parasites that burrow in people's chests. At the end the female lead wakes up back in the laboratory after experiencing her own death. All seems normal until she tries to leave and finds herself back in the alien cave again. Like Schrödinger's Butterfly, she doesn't know if she's still dreaming or lost her sanity completely.
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  • Parasite Zombie: Someone who was previously killed shows up again without explanation. It turns out that his body was taken over by alien parasites who need human bodies to hibernate their young.
  • Poltergeist: A professor and some graduate students go looking for poltergeists in a deserted mansion. During several sessions looking for paranormal activity, the ghosts knock on the doors, walls, or mess with the machinery.
  • Primal Fear: A professor uses four graduate students to experience their worst fears, then recording their nightmares. Some of the fears covered include being alone in the dark at night, cannibalism, hallucinations, dismemberment, and parasites. However, what the professor really wants to see is the fear of death.
  • Psycho Supporter: A Mad Scientist who uses his graduate students as bait to investigate poltergeists at an Old, Dark House, makes use of several patients from a mental asylum to control them because they're easy to order around.
  • Scary Flashlight Face: A character who was previously murdered suddenly shows up again. The effect is enhanced because his face is illuminated by a flashlight.
  • Schrödinger's Butterfly: Discussed Trope at the end. Kim wakes up, the whole movie apparently having been a nightmare, but it turns out that either she hasn't woken up for real or she's still trapped in a cave being fed on by alien parasites. As well, when she was in the dream she fell asleep at one point and dreamt that she was elsewhere as well.
  • Sickly Green Glow: The ghosts/aliens emanate a green light.
  • Spiders Are Scary: A character hallucinates having her head placed inside a glass box full of tarantulas.
  • Stab the Scorpion: Dean suddenly approaches his girlfriend Kim with a tire iron to kill a rattlesnake that was sneaking up on her.
  • Visible Boom Mic: There's a visible boom mic in about three different scenes.

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