Anthology of four horror tales with a supernatural twist based on urban legends.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lisa the Wife (segment "Terror in Topanga")
Joe Lambie ...
Phil the Husband (segment "Terror in Topanga")
Anthony James ...
Store Clerk (segment "Terror in Topanga")
Clare Nono ...
Mori the Newswoman (segment "Terror in Topanga")
Raleigh Bond ...
Norman, a Neighbor (segment "Terror in Topanga")
Robert Phelps ...
Newsman (segment "Terror in Topanga")
Dixie Lynn Royce ...
Little Girl (segment "Terror in Topanga")
...
William Henry Glazier (segment "Terror in Topanga") (as Lee James Jude)
...
J.J. Cooney (segment "The Bishop of Battle")
...
Adele Cooney (segment "The Bishop of Battle")
...
Jerry Cooney (segment "The Bishop of Battle")
...
Pamela (segment "The Bishop of Battle") (as Moon Zappa)
...
Zock Maxwell (segment "The Bishop of Battle") (as Billy Jacoby)
Joshua Grenrock ...
Willie (segment "The Bishop of Battle")
...
Mazenza (segment "The Bishop of Battle") (as Gary Cervantes)
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Storyline

A collection of short stories. In one a woman who leaves her house late at night to drive to the store while a killer is loose encounters some problems. In the second an arcade whiz kid's obsession with a game leads to deadly consequences. In the third a small town priest loses his faith and decides to leave town, but in the desert is stalked by a mysterious black pick-up truck. In the final story, a family's problem with a rat is larger than they think. Written by Parca Mortem <icy_shadow@rocketmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Each summer one film opens that you've never heard of... and that you'll never forget. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 September 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Night of the Rat  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

These stories were originally written and filmed for the anthology series Darkroom (1981). They were deemed too intense by Universal and thus culled into an anthology film for theatrical release. See more »

Goofs

Presumably as the Bishop of Battle game progresses, the view/angle of each level changes to make it more difficult for the player. We see this the first time JJ plays the game as level 12 is at a lower angle and shows less of the overall play arena than level 11 had. However, the second time JJ gets to level 12, the angle is now almost a first person shooter, with the player's view being from the ground rather than an aerial view showing their player character. See more »

Quotes

[repeated line]
Bishop: Greetings, Earthling. I am the Bishop of Battle, master of all I survey. I have 13 progressively harder levels. Try me if you dare.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hélas pour moi (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

I Love Livin' in the City
(uncredited)
Performed by Fear
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nightmares Movie Review from The Massie Twins
31 October 2008 | by (www.GoneWithTheTwins.com) – See all my reviews

Though individually modest compared to the bloody affairs of horror movies these days, the sum of their parts provides a uniquely entertaining and accurate sampling of horror films of the early '80s. With four short stories addressing different areas of terror, from serial killers to giant rats, Joseph Sargent's Nightmares showcases a nostalgic spattering of the genre and an amusing range of highs and lows in substance and style.

Chapter one (Terror in Topanga) sets an appropriately foreboding mood as a maniacal serial killer is loosed upon the small town of Topanga. Recalling urban legends and classic slashers, the deranged William Henry Glazer is out on a killing spree and young Lisa (Cristina Raines) decides a pack of cigarettes is worth risking her life for. Spouting the now cliché horror film line "I'll be right back," Lisa proceeds to embark on a drive alone at night and winds up in a deadly predicament. A wise segment to open the film with, Terror in Topanga ably represents the sub-genre of slasher flicks with a pervasive atmosphere of paranoia and isolation.

The second chapter (The Bishop of Battle) is perhaps the most famous and features a young Emilio Estevez as J.J. Cooney, a video game hustler determined to take on the arcade game Bishop and reach the elusive Level 13. Sporting cheesy '80s special effects and a sinister green head for a villain, The Bishop of Battle cleverly plays off of obsessions and the fear of technological takeover. A virtual reality invasion of the real world and a convincing performance from Estevez make this the most engaging chapter.

Easily the weakest in both story and thrills, chapter three (Benediction) finds Lance Henriksen as a priest who loses his faith after a tragic event. Told with a multitude of traumatic dreams and sullen flashbacks, Benediction plays out like a weaker version of 1977's The Car, only this time the devil's choice of transport is a large black truck. Henriksen is capable as always, but the terror is light and short-lived – even for a short film.

Chapter four returns to good form in Night of the Rat, a killer rodent story revolving around the consequences of messing with Mother Nature and the task of confronting your own fears. The suspenseful buildup is by far its greatest asset, as a climax featuring disappointing special effects and laughable solutions leaves much to be desired.

Paranoia, obsession, faith, and obstinance all merge with entertaining examples of the horror genre's many facets to produce an effective representation of the thrillers of the time. By today's standards you'll likely be spared any real nightmares as a result of viewing this '80s gem, but it's still worth the visit to a period of innovation over gory visuals.

  • Joel Massie



5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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