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Nightmare: Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Review

“Nightmare” is a tedious Hammer film.

In 1964’s “Nightmare,” a young woman named Janet (Jennie Linden) is plagued by nightmares about her mother. You see, 6 years prior, Janet saw her mother kill her father. Janet fears she will be committed to an asylum like her mother. Wanting to go home to her guardian (a lawyer named Henry played by a slimy David Knight), Janet departs a girls school with a teacher (Ms. Lewis). Upon arrival, Janet meets the staff and a woman named Grace (Moira Redmond) who was hired by Henry to be a companion (although she’s really a nurse). Alas, problems only worsen for poor Janet as she begins to see a mysterious woman roaming about the house. Is someone playing mind games with Janet or is she really going mad?

Directed by Freddie Francis and scripted by Jimmy Sangster, “Nightmare” is a difficult film to discuss because it’s essentially two movies in one. The first half is all about Janet while the second half switches narratives and focuses on other characters. In order to avoid spoiling the surprise, it was best to avoid mentioning what happens in the second half. Unfortunately, even with the unique narrative change, the psychological “Nightmare” never quite comes together.

Even though the film runs a short 83 minutes, Jimmy Sangster’s script falters for two reasons. One, the movie contains a supremely far fetched ruse that is downright cruel and warped beyond measure. Two, the movie contains so much tedious hysterics (both from Janet and another character in the second half) that take up much of the movie. Characters are in a constant state of confusion as they’re being gaslit and toyed with. Obviously, there’s a lot to explore within those concepts, but Sangster more or less just goes in circles with his characters until a revelation appears. Freddie Francis does his best to create an atmospheric psychological horror tale, but he can only do so much with the lackluster material given. Both Francis and Sangster collaborated on a far superior psychological horror film one year earlier with Hammer’s “Paranoiac” (which is also available from Scream Factory).


Presentation: 2.35:1 1080p. How does it look? The print has been given a 2K scan from the interpositive. The picture quality of this B&W movie has a few issues (ala lines) but it’s generally a crisp transfer.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? Expect a nice clean track.

* Theatrical trailer
* Still gallery
* New commentary by film historian Bruce Hallenbeck.
* “Reliving The Nightmare”- Interviews with crew members who talk about behind-the-scenes stories about “Nightmare.”
* “Jennie Linden Memories”- A 14 minute interview between Portia Booroff and actress Jennie Linden.
* “Madhouse: Inside Hammer’s Nightmare”- A featurette about the history of the movie.
* “Slice And Fright- Jonathan Rigby Remembers Nightmare”- An interview with author/film historian Jonathan Rigby who sheds light on the film’s history and talks about various scenes.
* “Nightmare In The Making”- A 27 minute featurette about the film’s production.
* “Sleepless Nights- Reflecting On A Nightmare Movie”- A near 17 minute interview with author and film critic Kim Newman. 

March 14, 2022 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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