7.4/10
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The American Nightmare (2000)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Horror | 20 July 2003 (Austria)
An examination into the nature of 1960's-70's horror films, the involved artists, and how they reflected contemporary society.

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Cast

Credited cast:
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Tom Gunning ...
Himself
Carol J. Clover ...
Herself (as Carol Clover)
Adam Lowenstein ...
Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marshall Anker ...
Himself (archive footage)
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Kirsten Bishop ...
Herself (archive footage)
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Herself (archive footage)
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Storyline

Horror films have often been more than simple scares. At their best, they reflect society's anxiety's and concerns. In this film, major horror film makers such as George Romero and Tobe Hooper discuss the creation of their films in the 1960s and '70s and how they related to contemporary events while interviewed intellectuals give their own opinions. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@rogers.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A celebration of Films from Horror's Golden Age of Fright.


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

20 July 2003 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Az amerikai rémálom  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Packaged as an extra on the Region 2 release of Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes (1977). See more »

Quotes

Wes Craven: I think there is something about the "American Dream", the sort of Disneyesque dream if you will of the beautifully trimmed front lawn, the white picket fence, mom and dad and their happy children, god fearing and doing good whenever they can; that sort of expectation, and the flipside of it, the kind of anger and the sense of outrage that comes from discovering that that's not the truth of the matter, I think that gives American horror films in some ways kind of an additional rage...
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Connections

Features Halloween (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

Moya
(uncredited)
Performed by Godspeed You! Black Emperor
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User Reviews

The Best Horror Documentary I Have Yet Seen
30 April 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a serious look at some of the most groundbreaking and innovative horror films ever made. It is also incredibly graphic, disturbing and somewhat bleak and depressing, so consider yourselves warned. No hardcore fan of horror will want to miss this, but people with weak stomachs may not be able to take it.

There are long and satisfyingly gruesome clips from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Night of the Living Dead & Dawn of the Dead, Last House on the Left, Shivers and many others, each accompanied by a look at what was happening in the world at the time they were made, and the bizarre ways in which art imitates life and vice versa. Gore Make-up Master Tom Savini has some amazing stories to tell about his time in Vietnam and how the atrocities he viewed through a camera later inspired his craft. There are also some wickedly clever moments here, as film footage of crazed shoppers are intercut with scenes from the zombie feeding frenzy in Dawn of the Dead. Nausea inducing moments include the rape and sadistic torture scenes from Last House on the Left, and an unflinching look at such real life horrors as Vietnam, the rioting following the King assassination, the Kent State Massacre and the Kennedy Assassination.

The directors interviewed (Romero, Cronenberg, Carpenter, Hooper, Craven, etc) have some great stories to tell about their famous (and infamous) films, not only about how they were made, but also why, how they continue to inspire the current genre, what kind of an effect they had upon being released and how they reflect the times in which they were made.

This is a totally engrossing documentary from start to finish that was sometimes hard to watch but which also seemed much too short. I didn't want it to end! VERY well done and highly recommended for hardcore fans.


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