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Since the death of his parents fourteen years ago, Billy Lynch has been raised by his over-protective aunt Cheryl. But once he turns seventeen, he is soon set on planning his life...without her. He's planing on going on to college and is dating local girl Julie. None of which sits well for his aunt, who's lost everyone else in her life and now with her nephew ready to leave, ensures she starts on a campaign to keep him with her...forever.But as her plans misfire she becomes swept up in a cycle of psychosis and frenzied violence all being blamed on Billy by everyone else...including a homophobic detective, who's anti-gay prejudice is steadily reaching its zenith...leading to an unforeseeable outcome. Written by
Nightmare Maker achieved cult status through it's inclusion on the DPP 'Video Nasty' list, which has also lead to it becoming a 'lost' film. It's somewhat unfortunate that William Asher's film was included on the infamous list, as aside from a couple of gory scenes; there really isn't anything in this film that warrants it's banning. Nightmare Maker focuses on themes of insanity and incest, and the way that the director portrays these themes is bold and uncompromising although I find it hard to believe that this film was banned for it's themes by the same set of censors who made such decisions as banning 'The Driller Killer' merely for it's artwork. The plot focuses on Billy Lynch; a young man living with his aunt after his parents were killed in an unfortunate car accident. However, his relationship with his aunt isn't how she would like it; as the aunt has designs of a sexual nature on the boy, and does her best to ruin all of his plans; including his relationship with his girlfriend, and his hopes of winning a scholarship. All in all, making his life a nightmare...
The film features performances from a few well known actors, including Bo Svenson as a bigoted sheriff and Susan Tyrrell as the maniacal aunt. The film also features a small early role for Bill Paxton; who, as he would in the rest of his career, doesn't appear in the film for long enough. The acting performances overall aren't bad considering the type of film; but it would be unwise to go into it expecting anything brilliant. Susan Tyrrell does get to enjoy herself as the central matriarchal figure, however, and seeing her descend into insanity is a lot of fun. The style of the film is very eighties indeed, and through gritty cinematography; director William Asher ensures that the film feels every bit like the 'Video Nasty' that it would become shortly after it's release. The scenes of gore are short and don't show much blood; although scenes involving a machete, as well as the pivotal scene that sees Billy's parents killed in a car crash are rather bloody and deserve mention. The plot never really gets going properly, which is a shame; although the final fifteen minutes are very good indeed and manage to bring closure to all the plot threads. Overall, this certainly isn't the best film on the Video Nasty list; but it's a good one, and well worth tracking down!
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