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The American Nightmare (2000)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 1,356 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 29 critic

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 ...
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Carol J. Clover ...
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Adam Lowenstein ...
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Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marshall Anker ...
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Evelyn Ankers ...
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Kirsten Bishop ...
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Joan Blackman ...
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Marilyn Burns ...
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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>

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


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Release Date:

20 July 2003 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Az amerikai rémálom  »

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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

References Demons (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
Interesting contents, but mixed feelings - The American Nightmare - German DVD version
13 July 2005 | by (Hamburg) – See all my reviews

American horror movies of the 70s are well known for newly defining the genre and changing the borders of what was possible to show up to that point. Up to then there had been Hammer Productions with their usual suspects like Frankenstein, Dracula or there had been "gentleman" murderers like Dr. Phybes, who killed their victims out revenge, but still with a certain esprit of spirit. The "new" horror of the American movies was highly influenced by five movies the directors of which still have their say in today's horror industry: George Romero („Night of the Living Dead" 1968), Wes Craven („The Last House on the Left" 1972), Tobe Hooper („The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" 1974), David Cronenberg („The Parasite Murders" 1975) as well as John Carpenter („Halloween" 1978). The documentation "The American Nightmare" now sets out to connect interviews of the film makers, film critics and academics with excerpts of contemporary as well as fictional movies. The core thesis now is that the young generation of the 60s and 70s had a feeling of fundamental uncertainty that was taken up by young film makers and transformed into angry visions full of nightmares - American nightmares. Against that foil we learn about the connections between the Civil Rights Movement and "Night of the Living Dead", we see Tom Savini talking about turning his experiences in Vietnam into his landmark splatter effects, David Cronenberg referring to the sexual liberation with "The Parasite Murders" or Wes Craven saying that on seeing Napalm attacks in Vietnam he learned that also Americans could commit atrocities. - The documentation allows some very interesting insights into the immediate historical context of American horror movies of the 60s and 70s. Especially in the middle of the documentation it might be challenging to ask oneself whether is is actually the fictional horror that horrifies us most. … Yet, the documentary also wants to be a creepy and entertaining movie itself. There is too much atmospheric gewgaw (Stockhausen's score, for example). Altogether you get too little concrete information about what you see. Whereas the film makers' commentaries are very interesting the critics are sometimes not convincing often digressing into their own individual movie watching nostalgia ("It was like - wow!"). Furthermore, the German DVD bonus materials mostly consist of text barely readable. So, all in all, highly interesting and enlightening, but I could have done with some more minutes of interviews and some more film clips.


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