Lee Ving, the lead singer of punk band Fear, appears in the segment "Terror in Topanga." One of the songs that J.J. (Emilio Estevez) listens to in the segment "Bishop of Battle" is actually "I Don't Care About You" by Fear.
When J.J. Cooney (Emilio Estevez) is sent to his room by his father in the segment "The Bishop of Battle", J.J. is seen sitting on his bed preparing to run away. On the wall behind him is a sign that reads: "Men Working". Estevez later wrote, directed and also co-starred in the movie Men at Work (1990).
According to an article in the May 1984 edition of 'American Cinematographer', video game special effects company Bo Gehring Associates, who produced computer graphics for the film's segment "The Bishop of Battle", achieved an output in record time. Bo Gehring claimed that his firm set a record for the rate of producing computer imaging, stating that four and half minutes of animation were completed in just nine weeks.
The picture premiered in New York City at a midnight sneak preview screening on 27th August 1983 at the Gemini Theater. The fourth and final segment in the film, "Night of the Rat", is set in New York City. The first one hundred patrons were offered free admission if they arrived at the cinema by 11.45 pm wearing pajamas. The 7th September 1983 edition of show-business trade paper 'Variety' reported that the event was sponsored by radio station WHTZ-FM and that "150 pajama-clad patrons" attended the screening free of charge.
The names of the film's four segments are [in chapter order of appearance]: Chapter One - "Terror in Topanga" ; Chapter Two - "The Bishop of Battle" ; Chapter Three - "The Benediction" ; and Chapter Four - "Night of the Rat".
Publicity for this picture originally announced this movie as being rated "PG" in the USA but when the picture actually launched stateside it had been rated "R" by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America).
The recurring line of dialogue said by Bishop (voiced by actor James Tolkan) heard in "The Bishop of Battle" segment was: "Greetings, Earthling. I am the Bishop of Battle, master of all I survey. I have thirteen progressively harder levels. Try me if you dare."
The movie's four segments are supposedly all apparently based on "urban legends". The later film Urban Legend (1998), like the first "Terror in Topanga" segment of Nightmares (1983), similarly began with a killer hiding in the back seat of a car, which is an "urban legend".
This anthology compendium film's third segment "The Benediction" was likened to The Car (1977) and Steven Spielberg's Duel (1971). Spielberg would soon oversee the Amazing Stories (1985) anthology television series, directing two episodes, which included a cinema movie version of it featuring three stories.
The make and model of the scary devilish haunting malevolent road vehicle in this film's third segment "The Benediction" was a black 1979 Chevrolet C-20 Fleetside pick-up truck. It featured such decals as a bull bar and four spot lights.
This supernatural sci-fi horror-thriller anthology picture was made and first released only about three years after the unrelated Australian slasher horror movie which shared the same title of "Nightmares" (aka "Stage Fright") [See: Stage Fright (1980)].
The American Film Institute reports that, according to the 11th July 1986 edition of show-business trade paper 'Daily Variety', ". . . the mystery writer Patricia J. Thurmond, also known as Patricia Steele, filed a plagiarism suit against Universal, alleging that one of the chapters in Nightmares (1983) was based on her story, 'If Cornered, Scream', which originally appeared in a 1977 issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. Thurmond requested an injunction against the film and unspecified compensation for 'loss of profits and failure to give her screen credit'."
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
For his role as J.J. Cooney in this film's second segment "The Bishop of Battle", actor Emilio Estevez went through a two week training course with the NYPD on gun use to train for his battle scenes when the computer-generated enemies entered the real world.