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Horror...80's style.
notdempsey22 November 2004
Straight from the mid-80's comes the mild-mannered 'Nightmares,' a horror anthology of four seemingly unrelated tales of terror that hardly deserve the R-rating they so unjustly received (the film was released one year before 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,' which resulted in the PG-13 rating, a rating this film deserves, if not a PG).

Segment one, 'Terror in Topanga,' re-tells the old urban legend of a woman, an escaped psychopath, and a suspicious gas station attendant. In this case the woman is Lisa (Christina Raines), a cigarette smoker who needs a nic-fix so bad; she's willing to risk being horribly stabbed for some Marlboro 100's. I suspect the filmmakers were trying to comment on the health hazards of tobacco--something new in 1983. This is the third best, or second worst-depending on your point of view, segment of the film.

Segment two, 'The Bishop of Battle,' on the other hand, is undeniably the best! It stars none other than a very young Emilio Estevez ('the 'Mighty Ducks man himself!') as J.J. Cooney, a kid so good at arcade games, all the other kids stop playing to watch him. One game Cooney can't seem to beat is 'The Bishop of Battle,' which supposedly has 13 levels, although it is believed level 13 is a myth as nobody has gotten past level 12 (Cooney claims he heard about 'a kid in New Jersey' who did so…twice). Cooney becomes obsessed with surpassing level 12 and defeating 'The Bishop,' the digital master/boss of 'The Bishop of Battle,' he looks like an electronic-neon version of Magic Mirror from 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.' So obsessed does Cooney become, that he alienates his parents, sneaks out of his bedroom in the middle of the night, and breaks back into the arcade to take on 'The Bishop' one more time. I won't spoil the funky ending; suffice to say it evokes 'Tron,' sort of a 'Tron-in reverse.' The most enjoyable aspect of Segment two is the lacquer of 1980's youth culture it evokes. Estevez sports a neon, sleeveless shirt and a Walkman the size of a toaster that blasts punk-rock as Cooney hustles amateurs in the tough arcades of Oakland. Back at the mall, one anonymously delivered line of dialog from an unseen member of Cooney's spectators is, I kid you not, 'Totally awesome!' At one point, a flirtatious female friend asks him if he wants to 'Get a pizza!' This isn't really the 1980's I remember, it's how I'd like to remember them.

Horror legend Lance Hendriksen gives arguably the best performance of all segments in #3, 'The Benediction,' as a priest in the American-Mexican wasteland who, after witnessing the pointless death of a child, loses his faith and begins the long trip home across the desert. On the way he encounters a demonic monster truck apparently intent on killing him 'Duel' style. The truck is loud and deep black, with an upside down cross hanging in its rear-view mirror. At the stories climax, we see the truck literally burst out from the desert earth as if it were a surfacing submarine. It's a surprisingly effective, and very cool, moment in the film.

Despite a well tuned cast, 'Night of the Rat,' the fourth segment, is terrible, the worst in the film, and a poor finale. It centers on the Houston family's encounter with, as the title so eloquently eludes, a giant rat. As if that weren't enough, the rat has psychic powers as well! Wife Claire is the protagonist, played by polished actor Veronica Cartwright, who tries to convince her arrogant husband Steven (mustached character actor Richard Massur, whose demeanor mirrors his dry-toast last name) to call an exterminator. But alas, Steve refuses, and it's not until the devil-rat almost kills their young daughter (future overdosee Bridgette Andersen in a phenomenal child performance) that he whips out the conveniently closet-stored shotgun and goes-a-rat huntin'. The finale of 'Night of the Rat,' is too awfully hilarious for words to define.

Overall, 'Nightmares,' is too gentle to be scary. It reminded me of Nickelodeon's soft-core, 'Are You Afraid of the Dark?' which also had happy endings and corny fables (although I remain a fan of that series). I would recommend this film only for the nostalgic 'The Bishop of Battle,' Hendrickson's performance in 'The Benediction,' and as an overall night of laughs for 80's horror connoisseurs. 'Creepshow,' and 'Creepshow 2' are far superior horror anthologies than this film.

However I must admit I enjoyed it, in some ways, more than 'The Twilight Zone, The Movie.'
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For those not afraid of the 80's
HyperPup9 August 2003
For those not afraid of cheapo 80's television horror comes Nightmares. Essentially this was the remainder of the filmed episodes of Universals anthology series "The Darkroom", you know, the short lived one that was on ABC in the early eighties, had James Coburn as the host. Oh well, I tried. Anywho, the 4 story movie was very "un-scary" to most, but entertaining enough to sit through if you enjoy speculative fiction type stories. Of course the staple memory from this movie is the segment with E.Esteves called "The Bishop of Battle". After TRON failed to bag box office reciepts in the upper millions, I guess Universal thought they could do better with a video game nightmare story replete with computer graphics. Must have worked for this film as mentioning this segment, jars memories even in this day. Trivia bit: Eighties icon Moon Unit Zappa makes a guest appearance in the film, see if you can spot her.
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corny, dated but still fun cult horror anthology from Universal
AlsExGal9 December 2017
Directed by Joseph Sargent, it's split into 4 unconnected stories: 1) "Terror in Topanga" offers up that old chestnut about a dark night and an escaped killer on the prowl. Featuring Christina Raines and William Sanderson. 2) "The Bishop of Battle" stars Emilio Estevez as a video game expert determined to get to the final level on a new arcade game. Careful what you wish for! Also with Moon Unit Zappa. 3) "The Benediction" is a Duel take-off with Lance Henriksen as a priest who has lost his faith and may have run into the devil in the form of a menacing black truck on the highway. 4) "Night of the Rat" features a suburban family terrorized by, you guessed it, rats. With Richard Masur and Veronica Cartwright.

The effects are chintzy (including some very early computer effects), and a lot of it is one-note. But there's a camp charm to it, and it makes good viewing for those in the mood for some cheesy but not ghastly frights. Featuring some early 80's punk music by the likes of X, Black Flag, and Fear.
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The movie as a whole gets a 7.5, but Bishop of Battle gets a 9
deud4 January 2003
The movie as a whole is worth watching, in any case, start to finish, but the Bishop of Battle clearly stands out.

Emilio Esteves and the entire supporting cast give excellent performances. The story is both fun and scary, and the soundtrack rules.

Favorite scene: In the arcade in the Mexican neighborhood.

Favorite line: "There IS a level 13. I heard some kid out in Jersey got it twice."
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A Great Opening Segment, The Rest Are Kind Of Boring
Michael_Elliott8 October 2017
Nightmares (1983)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

'Terror in Topanga' has a crazy killer escaping prison but housewife Lisa (Cristina Raines) needs cigarettes so she decides to go out. Of course, you know what happens. In 'The Bishop of Battle' a teenager (Emilio Estevez) obsessed with getting to the thirteenth level of a video games gets more than he bargained for. 'The Benediction' has a Priest (Lance Henriksen) walking away from his faith and on a journey through the desert he runs into a mysterious black truck. 'Night of the Rat' has parents (Richard Masur, Veronica Cartwright) trying to protect their daughter and home from a giant rat.

As with any anthology film, NIGHTMARES is a mixed bag but overall it's worth watching if you're a fan of this type of film. With that said, there's no question that the best film is the first one. It's based off a fairly popular urban legend and I must admit that I found it to be quite creepy at times. Director Joseph Sargent really does a great job on this number and we've got a terrific performance from Raines that helps sell it. The entire sequence is the shortest of the lot but it really hammers home the tension and the twist is quite effective as well.

The following three stories aren't nearly as good and all of them are rather disappointing in their own way. I'd argue that the third one was the next best as Henriksen at least delivers a nice performance but the religious overtones never really work and what we're left with is a cheap copy of DUEL. The second story with the teenager playing video games probably belonged in a different movie. It's not creepy enough to fit with the rest of the film and I'd argue it would have been better in something else. It's just too bright and the special effects just don't ring a horror film.

The fourth and final story is without question the weakest and it's too bad because both Masur and Cartwright give very good performances. This type of story had already been done in several other films including stuff like THE FOOD OF THE GODS. The story runs way too long and I'd argue that the ending is more silly than anything else. In fact, I'd argue that stories two through four all ran way too long and none of them could compare to the first so that made them even more of a letdown.
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Surprisingly creepy...
The_Core13 February 2002
Thanks to good writing and excellent casting choices, this is (imho) the best of the "horror serial" movies popularized in the 1980's by films like "Creepshow." Some genuinely creepy moments and quality acting make for an excellent ride, although the first of the four stories is basically a throwaway. The special effects could be better, but this was the early 80's after all. Watch it at night after 1AM for best effect.

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A fun trip back to 1983
pcarrack12 November 2001
I enjoyed this movie very much, it's a perfect lazy Sunday afternoon flick when there's nothing to do. Although this movie really isn't that scary, not many were from this time period (The Shining excepted). Each of the 4 segments have their own charm, especially Emilio Estevez as the video game addict. 22 minutes of pure 80's nostalgia!! I would recommend this movie for a fun trip back to 1983, shag carpet and New Wave background music optional.
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Four horror tales to fright and delight you!
Aaron137514 February 2004
Not the best anthology movie made, but it was somewhat good. I liked "Creepshow" and "Cat's Eye" better, but this one is on par with "Twilight Zone: the Movie". There are other anthology movies that this one is a lot better than. For one it has a good number of stories, though in the end they are a little like episodes of the show "Tales from the Darkside". The first one is based on an urban myth as a woman goes out for cigarettes on a night some crazed mental patient is on the loose. I can't really say much more or I will end up ruining the ending (which you will know if you ever heard the myth like I have). The next story is the best one in my book, mainly because I play a lot of video games. It features a young Emilo Estevez as this really good game player. He is obsessed with this one game called "The Bishop of Battle". He wants to get to this level that no one has ever gotten too, and one night he breaks into the arcade and he makes it to the level and let's just say he is in for a surprise at what the mystery level contains. The third story is about a priest who has lost his faith. He is driving in the desert where he is confronted by a mysterious truck with tinted windows. They do a cat and mouse routine through the desert terrain. Finally, we have the story of a couple who have a small rat problem. This anthology movie is not going to blow you away, but the tales are good enough to be rather entertaining.
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Plesent Dreams
hellraiser78 May 2014
I'm a fan of horror as well as the horror anthologies, this anthology is an under the radar and even slightly forgotten gem. Yeah, it's not not one of the best anthologies in my book, but I still think it's a solid and it's true the only weakness for it would be that the first and fourth tale are pretty lame but that what you get with most to all anthologies there's going to be hits and misses. So all isn't lost since there are two that I personally think are memorable and are the ones to watch, so I'm just going to talk about them.

The Benidiction: this one is my second favorite tale. It's pretty much a Christianity version of "Duel" which is cool, the tale is both thrilling but also has a good message at the end about faith. Lance Hendrickson whom is an actor I really like I think is very good as a priest whom has lost his faith after a tragedy which pushed him over the edge.

His character really is sympathetic because the questions he asks and anger with them is the same as ours depending on what faith you serve, on why is there so much suffering and why is God if he/she exists allows it to happen, why doesn't he/she do anything about it. I hate to admit it but sometimes when things don't go my way even I sometimes ask those questions.

And of course his faith is put to the test as Satan comes in driving in, like in "Duel" we never see the driver which is fine by me. But I really like the design even color of the 4 by 4 pickup truck which is just menacing looking, almost made to seem like a rolling beast.

The chase sequences are done very well and very suspenseful, the driving and stunt work is well choreographed. But I also like that it's not just a chase but also a deadly game of hide and seek, as that truck at time just appears out of nowhere and anywhere. Your constantly hopping Lance will find a way to evade and outrun the truck.

But of course the biggest highlight of the film is the second tale which is my favorite "The Biship of Battle". This tale was a dream come true for me since I'm a gamer and I've been to the video arcade myself ever since I was six. In a way this tale is sort of a time capsule since I'll admit seeing those video arcades and the cabinets really made me miss them now that most video arcades has gone extinct like the drive ins.

Anyway, it was a fun and suspenseful tale. This was a first film for Emelo Estavez and all I can say is great start, I like his performance as the character J.J. which I thought was believable, whom at first seems like a cool guy you could almost be friends with but then further on we see he's became or is an addict. I don't know whether the video game put a spell on him as there was some hints from the mom and his best friend saying he's not himself or his own free will all the same from the way he's behaving you already know he's going down. Like for example J.J. ditches a would be date just to play another round of the game; if I had a girlfriend that looked like Emma Watson and she asked me to go for pizza I'd just go because a. want to spend time with her and b. I'm hungry; so yeah J.J. doing that is not a good sign.

However the real star of the tale is of course "The Biship of Battle" game which just looks awesome, it's a shame that video game doesn't really exist. It was the use of 3D and Polygon technology for the programing and design of the game which at the time was revolutionary and was used in video games like "Tempest" and the underrated "I Robot". One of my favorite moments of the game was level 12 which predates the video game "Doom" where the game goes into first person shooter mode and the cinematography is great you really feel like your in the game going thorough the maze and shooting down the minions.

The CGI effects I think are just fantastic because they are an example of the technology used the right way and reasons, and this was way before the technology was common place and they still look great in my opinion. I really love the designs of the minions of the Biship and whey they come out of the game they don't disappoint. Along with the bishop himself voiced well by James Tolken another actor I really like. His voice acting is just excellent it has that detached friendly but also cold and slightly sinister/menacing tone which is the kind of voice I sometimes hear in the pinball games sometimes.

And the battle sequence is well chirography, Emelio had LAPD gun maneuver training for two weeks and it shows, he really does it well. It's just one of my favorite battles of all time as the video arcade becomes a battlefield and he's armed with only the laser gun, just blasting away at the minions and they also return fire both causing some explosions to their enviorment, it's just fraking awesome.

If the story has a message it's simply don't let video game be your whole life, unplug once in a while otherwise just like in the video games life will beat you. At least that's what I think.

So just like all the story in an anthology, give this one a try and pleasant dreams.

Rating: 3 stars
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Good horror film in the tradition of Twilight Zone: The Movie
pleiades1015 August 2000
Nightmares came out in the same year that Twilight Zone:The Movie was released. Whether this movie was intended to directly compete with TZ by copying it's style, or whether it's release date is simply a coincidence, may never be known.

Both movies focus on short horror tales, each about a half hour in length, that feature odd twist endings. While TZ has the legacy of the great Rod Serling behind it, Nightmares has for the most part, wallowed in obscurity. This is undeserved.

The first story, about a chain smoker whom encounters a killer at a gas station is the weakest of the four, and is easily dismissed. The second, "The Bishop of Battle" is clearly the strongest story, featuring a young Emilio Estevez as a video game champ eager to beat a hot new video game. Just gotta get to level 13! Great special effects, and a claustrophobic ending highlight this one. The third story, about a priest getting pursued through the desert by a mysterious driver in a pick up truck, is very well paced and creepy. The final story, about a giant rat living in the basement of a suburban home, can be a little silly, and seems to borrow more from the "Night Gallery" style of horror.

Give this one a try for a solid entry in the horror anthology genre.
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Good Horror Anthology
eric-1445 July 1999
A good horror movie anthology which has four stories about people caught in some of their worst nightmares. The first is about a woman who just has to have a pack of cigarettes late at night and gets chased by a serial killer. The second is about a teen who desperately wants to beat a video game and when he does finds out this video game is alot more then it seems. The third is about a priest being chased by a truck from hell(literally). And the fourth is a family being terrorized by a giant rat. They are all pretty good but is the R rating really necessary?????? I mean with maybe one scene taken out this could have easily been a made for tv movie. Still worth seeing though.
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A mildly entertaining anthology.
BA_Harrison15 January 2017
Unlike many an anthology movie, Nightmares has no wraparound story to link each chapter, the film consisting of four unconnected supernatural tales ranging from the genuinely suspenseful to the rather routine.

Tale number one, Terror in Topanga, is easily the most intense of the group. Based on a popular urban legend about an escaped inmate from a lunatic asylum and a housewife (Cristina Raines) who unwisely leaves her home to purchase cigarettes, you'll probably know how this one is going to end way before you get there, but with sharp direction, a great central performance, and even a little gore, the familiarity of the material matters not—it's a great way to kick off proceedings.

Chapter two is The Battle of Bishop, the tamest of the four stories, which stars Emilio Estevez as teenager J.J. Cooney, who is obsessed with reaching level 13 of a particularly challenging arcade machine. Breaking into the arcade after closing time to play the game, he finally finds out what finishing The Battle of Bishop involves. Like an episode of Amazing Stories, this one isn't in the least bit scary but does deliver a likable turn from Estevez and some fairly decent computer graphics for the day.

The penultimate story is The Benediction, which stars Lance Henriksen as father MacLeod, a priest who has lost his faith. Leaving his parish, McLeod drives into the desert where he is repeatedly attacked by a mysterious black truck with tinted windows. Like a cross between Spielberg's Duel and '70s film The Car, this one offers up some reasonably exciting scenes of vehicular action (including the impressive sight of the truck bursting out of the ground), and its always great to see Henriksen on screen.

Last of the four tales is Night of the Rat, in which a family find themselves terrorised by a giant devil rat that invades their home. This one builds the tension nicely only to spoil it in the closing moments with some cheesy special effects using a real rat made to look oversized. Veronica Cartwright is great as the terrified mother, but she really deserves better than this.
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Horror/Thriller/Suspense/100% = Nightmares
Richard_Dominguez4 January 2017
I Saw This Movie During It's Release In 1983 And Loved It ... This Is The Movie That Got Me Hooked On Anthologies ... Nightmares Is 4 Short Stories That Are About 25 Minutes Each ... First Is "Terror In Topanga" Is Just Under 20 Minutes Of Suspense/Terror That Ask How Much Are You Willing To Pay For A Carton Of Cigarettes ... Next Is "The Bishop Of Battle" A Teenagers Obsession With Beating A Game And Learning To Late That Sometimes Winning Is A Lose ... Third (My Favorite) Is "The Benediction" Lance Henrickson (The First Time I Had Seen Him In A Movie) Plays A Priest Who Has Lost His Faith, During His Deepest And Darkest Moment Receives His Benediction ... The Last One "The Night Of The Rat" A Nightmare With Fangs In The Most Basic Of Horror Stories ... A Great Cast, Which Includes Moon Zappa, Nightmares Is A Great Film That (In My Opinion) Still Can Hold Its Own (Easily) Against Modern Anthologies ...
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Caps Fan29 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I first saw this film back in the good old days of VHS. It wasn't easy to find on DVD, but I got it in the end, hence this review.

A feature of British horror movies in the 60s and 70s were the compendiums brought out by producers like Amicus, where a frame story formed the background for three or four short films. Nightmares looks like something similar, but without the framework. The four short stories were actually intended for television, but were deemed too intense for that medium, so were sewn together as a film.

So what do we have? In the first story, a nicotine-addicted woman braves a dark night with a serial killer on the loose to get some cigarettes. In the second, a video game addict meets his match. The third sees a priest who has lost his faith confronted by a dark enemy, while the fourth has a suburban family attracting the attention of a giant rodent.

For me, the first two stories were the ones that worked the best. Maybe the conclusion of the first (Terror in Topanga) is predictable, but it works. The second (The Bishop of Battle) has probably the most memorable quote – "I am the Bishop of Battle, master of all I survey" – and its conclusion satisfies in context. However, the third one (The Benediction) is absorbing enough for a while, but seems to lose interest in its story and the ending is rather abrupt. The fourth one (Night of the Rat) suffers a severe case of cute kid syndrome and just can't resist the temptation to sink into mawkish sentimentality that spoils so many films for me.

Given the time it was made and what looks like a modest budget, production values, including special effects, are satisfactory and performances aren't bad. The music isn't up to much though.

This was a favorite of mine as a teenager and remains so now. It won't be long before I watch it again.

Rating: 7/10.
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Pretty ok
black_flag21 February 2003
This isn't that bad of a movie. The first, about a chain-smoker encountering a killer in her back seat wasn't too bad, it's just a very overplayed urban legend. The second was my favourite, with Emilio Estevez as a video-game addict who ends up with horrible consequences. The thing that shot that one above the rest to me was the relentless array of hardcore punk like Black Flag and Fear. The third, about a priest losing faith who encounters Satan's truck (whoo-hoo Satan drives a GMC! Go dark lord!) was spooky and mysterious. The last, about a cheap man and his family who have a rather'large' rodent problem, was kind of redundant. The rat looked so cheesy, but it was save by pretty good casting. MY RATING: 7/10
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A nifty 80's horror anthology outing
Woodyanders14 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This omnibus affair offers four scary tales altogether. First and most tense story, "Terror in Topanga" - Chainsmoking housewife Lisa (well played by the lovely Christina Raines) finds herself being stalked by a vicious escaped psychopath when she goes out late at night for a pack of cigarettes. This vignette culminates in a positively harrowing conclusion, plus boasts neat cameos by familiar character actors Anthony James as a store clerk and William Sanderson as a gas station attendant. Second and coolest yarn, "Bishop of Battle" - Cocky whiz kid arcade rat J.J. Cooney (a likable portrayal by Emilio Estevez) reaches the thirteenth level of the tough video game the Bishop of Battle (voiced with sinister aplomb by James Tolkan) and finds himself in considerable jeopardy when the game becomes dangerously real. Several gnarly punk songs by Fear on the soundtrack and the funky special effects make this one a total blast to watch. Third and most exciting segment, "The Benediction" - The always excellent Lance Henrikson gives a typically fine and intense performance as MacLeod, a Catholic priest who loses his faith and subsequently has a frightening encounter with an evil satanic black pick-up on a lonely stretch of desert road. This absorbing "Duel" variant makes effectively eerie use of its desolate isolated setting and is highlighted by the startling sequence in which the pick-up bursts forth from the ground. Fourth and most freaky anecdote, "Night of the Rat" - A suburban family are terrorized by a huge demonic rodent that invades their home. Richard Masur and Veronica Cartwright excel as the unhappy bickering married couple, child actress Bridgette Anderson is remarkable as their sweet little girl Brooke, and Albert Hague contributes an engaging turn as folksy exterminator Mel Keefer. This story builds plenty of tension and offers a truly creepy and unsettling atmosphere that's slightly marred by some unfortunately shoddy (not so) special effects towards the end. Director Joseph Sargent maintains a brisk pace throughout and stages the shock scenes with commendable efficiency. Craig Safan supplies an appropriately spooky'n'shuddery score. The slick cinematography by Mario DiLeo and Gerald Perry Finnerman gives the picture a smooth glossy look. A fun fright feature.
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One excellent story. The others are so-so.
dsfilm1233 August 2000
Nightmares came out in 1983. It is a horror anthology with 4 short stories. One being truly excellent and the rest being ok. The first one has been done many times before. It's about an escaped killer on the loose. Now the second one is the highlight. A teenager is destined to beat a video game called The Biship Of Battle. The main character of this story is JJ Cooney, he is an interesting character, because it seems that he can't get this video game off his mind. The Game has 13 levels and , except for a rumor that "some kid in Jersey got to the 13th level", no one has ever beat it. After an unsuccessful night at the arcade trying to get to the 13th level, JJ goes home but just can't seem to get this game out of his mind. So he sneaks out of his house and breaks into the Arcade at night. He plays the game and reaches the 13th level. Well the 13th level is not like any other level he has ever seen before. Rent this movie for this story, it is like a very good episode of Amazing Stories or Tales from the Darkside. The rest of the stories are satisfactory-- othe 3rd about a truck from hell and the last about an ancient giant rat.
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Don't Expect Much
view_and_review30 December 2019
Nightmares is a video anthology of four different sagas. A couple of them seemed incomplete to me. If I were to give my own titles to the four episodes it'd be something like this:

Ep 1: The Dangers of Smoking

Ep 2: The Dangers of Video Game Addiction

Ep 3: My Lord, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

Ep 4: I Need a Bigger Rat Trap

If I were to rate them independently I'd rate them a 7/10, 7/10, 3/10, and 4/10 respectively. Let's see... that averages out to 5.25, let me round down to 5, and that's what my overall assessment would be. A 5/10.
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fair, acceptable anthology
tdrish27 April 2019
Nightmares is not a bad collection at all, and coming from the director of Jaws The Revenge ( not that we shift the entire blame to him), we can accept this as one of his better films. The movie consists of four short tales, like Creepshow, but without the humor and comic book feel to it. A woman is chased by a serial killer, a young teen plays a lethal video game, a priest is stalked by a terrorizing truck, and a giant rat invades a family. Nightmares is surprisingly light on the violence, I think this is a mild R rated film compared to some of the other horror anthologies released in the 80's. Well entertaining, well worth a look, Nightmares is a fair shake at mixing the unknown withe known, giving each story the supernatural feel I believe it was going for. Opening entry I give 5 stars, Battle Of The Bishops gets 6 stars, and the remaining shorts I give 5 stars to. Altogether, we can safely round this out to a 6 star review, and I say give it a shot! ( It's not strong enough to give the average person nightmares.)
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Kept me entertained the entire time!
mzgolfmz2 September 2018
I grew up in Los Angeles in the early 80s and 90s; so seeing this movie was so awesome. The first nightmare was set in Topanga Canyon, and I just loved the setting locations. From inside of the house with all of the plants hanging From the loft, to all of the old gas stations on every corner. The second One was filmed at a mall where I practically grew up in....the Game Center was so much fun! I Remember when I was little they had a helicopter ride that you could navigate and it would go up and down and that was my favorite ride. I also remember playing Pac-Man in there. The third movie I didn't really pay attention to I got distracted but it looked good. The fourth one was very entertaining; yes the seen at the end is very dated with their computer system they were using but if you look past that one scene it kind Of reminds you of poltergeist the movie. Two thumbs up and I miss the retro days and I miss the non gory entertaining movies that we use to have. That being said" Great Film"!!!!!!
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Worth tracking down.
deathadder-1387830 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Nifty little anthology horror flick that was under seen at the time, though in my opinion it's a better ride than the similar but more campy Creepshow (1982), which suffered from pacing problems and actors camping it up to varying degrees.

The first story is about an average couple, one of whom needs her smokes. She learns of an escaped mental patient, but ignores this and her concerned husband because she's dying for a cigarette which leads her to venture out, at night, to the store. Not a whole lot here, but there's nice direction and photography as she encounters various individuals lurking in the middle-American evening gloom. The actors are naturalistic; this is an earnest movie that aims to build suspense and give you a few jolts. It's not the type of cheap movie that makes you cheer against annoying caricatures. No lulls or missteps in this one.

The second story, the one that some people seem to remember and talk about, deals with Emilio Estevez as an arcade ruling video game expert who becomes obsessed with beating a very difficult game. This being the 80's, arcades are shown to be a popular hangout for unruly teenagers. We get a bit more depth and interaction with the characters in this one, and the acting is pretty good given the mostly young cast. Estevez, as the story progresses, gets more unhinged in his mania to beat the game at any cost. Breaking into his favorite arcade, he manages, through the sweaty palms and eye strain, to get to the last level.....Some people might laugh at the old video games and how they're merged with the real world, but frankly, I think the F/X people did a good job of making things aesthetically interesting. I'm not sure how much of this was done with actual CG (which would've been difficult and expensive in 1983) vs old-fashioned animation, but I think it still works pretty well and old-school video game fans should really like this one.

The third story has a neurotic priest, Lance Henriksen, leave his desert parish out of frustration and self-doubt, only to have a malevolent black truck with an unseen driver challenge him. It plays out in a naturalistic fashion, like the first story, before elements of fantasy and surrealism suddenly appear at the very end. Henriksen, and the other actors, give this story a somber and obscure tone. This story is less about the pure thrills, and more about putting you in Henriksen's shoes as he first battles his personal demons before fighting a real demon.

The fourth, and weakest, story is about an upper middle class family fending off a giant rat. The actors here are more plainly unlikable compared to the other stories. The initial suggestions of the rat's presence are creepy and gross enough, but the moment the rat is revealed you will be shocked by how lame the F/X are. It looks like they took footage of a real rat, blew the photo resolution up, and then superimposed it on the set. If the F/X weren't bad enough, the story resolution is a bummer, too: the other stories didn't tell you any more than you needed to know, but in the rat one we're told that the rat was out for revenge! That weakens the impact even more than the effects. The ending really is like a bad mid-Century sci-fi/horror flick. Generic characters, nerdy plot, and bad F/X that look even worse in 1980's color film than they would in 1950's black & white.

Supposedly, the stories were put in order of how well test audiences like them, with the best reviewed being put first. But the rat story is by far the worst of the bunch; I guess every anthology has a dud, as though it's tough to ask filmmakers to develop and execute every story well. I think the filmmakers knew how bad the rat story was, and put more money and time into the first three. The first three stories, though, are on par with anything comparable released back then or since. Let's be grateful when movie makers and actors take this kind of material sincerely, and put in a good effort.
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May your nightmares take you...
PredragReviews17 November 2016
This presentation contains 4 chapters of shadowmantic horror. Immediately, we course through a darkened landscape cracking with magma, as if Hell is bursting up from beneath. We are met with two glowing red eyes staring deep into the soul. A splendid introduction. A well-to-do couple experience the toils of vermin infestation so saturated, that they know no peace. It eventually is revealed that this particular breed of rat is surnamed "The Devil Rat", and it takes the wise efforts of a seasoned kind-hearted occultist to alleviate the problem, but not without a tragic end.

It's very obvious that it was made in the 80's. If you do not like or enjoy horror movies of that period you will not like this movie. It's just fun and there is moments that follow a formula which will forever be creepy and get you at moments. I love this for nostalgic reasons, which means that someone who views this more objectively may not love it. If you grew up in the 80's or are just fascinated with 80's arcade culture then pick this up.

Overall rating: 7 out of 10.
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Nothing special, but solidly entertaining.
Hey_Sweden8 January 2016
"Nightmares" is an acceptable horror anthology with 'Twilight Zone' aspirations. It was originally made for TV, but headed to theatres instead after NBC executives proved unwilling to pay for it. With the first three segments written by producer Christopher Crowe, and the fourth written by Jeffrey Bloom, it might therefore strike some hardcore horror fans as a little "safe". Still, it has an excellent cast of many familiar faces, and is paced more than adequately, with capable direction by Joseph Sargent ("Colossus: The Forbin Project", "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three"). The music score by Craig Safan is also noteworthy.

There is no wrapround story or connecting thread, so I'll move right along to assessing the individual stories:

"Terror in Topanga". A young wife (Cristina Raines) with a hopeless cigarette addiction heads out late at night for her fix. The fact that a knife wielding psycho is on the loose does little to dissuade her. Worth it for the twist ending that hearkens back to an old urban legend.

"The Bishop of Battle". J.J. Cooney (Emilio Estevez) is a kid hellbent on making it to the 13th level of the title video arcade game. Again, it's the ending that makes the story. The visual effects are pretty good for a movie made approximately 33 years ago.

"The Benediction". Lance Henriksen plays MacLeod, a priest who's suffered a crisis of faith, and leaves the church. While driving through the desert, he is menaced over and over by a mysterious character driving a black pick up truck. Overall, too reminiscent of "Duel" and "The Car", but there's one brilliant moment at about the one hour mark.

"Night of the Rat". Richard Masur, Veronica Cartwright, and Bridgette Andersen are the Houstons, a suburban family menaced by a monster rat. It may be tough going for a while since Masurs' character is so unlikable and stupidly stubborn. The special effects leave something to be desired.

At its best, "Nightmares" is creepy and atmospheric, even if the stories aren't all that great. It's "The Bishop of Battle" that stands out, since it's the most unpredictable of the bunch, and due to its cool punk soundtrack.

Anthony James, (an uncredited) William Sanderson, Lee Ving, Mariclare Costello, Louis Giambalvo, Moon Unit Zappa, Billy Jayne, James Tolkan (voice only), Tony Plana, Timothy Scott, Robin Gammell, and Albert Hague are also among those stopping by.

Definitely worth a look for 80s horror enthusiasts and lovers of the anthology format.

Seven out of 10.
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Good, Underrated 80's Horror!
gwnightscream7 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Emilio Estevez, Lance Henriksen, Christina Raines and Richard Masur star in this 1983 horror anthology film featuring 4 creepy tales. "Terror in Topanga" features a woman (Raines) driving to the store with an escaped killer on the loose. "The Bishop of Battle" features a teen (Estevez) trying to beat a video game, but must pay the price. "The Benediction" features a priest (Henriksen) who loses his faith and deals with an evil black truck. "Night of the Rat" features a man (Masur) and his family being terrorized by a giant rat invading their home. This is a good, underrated 80's horror film and if you're a fan of "Creepshow" and "Tales from the Crypt," I recommend this.
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cheesy 80s anthology flick
alistairc_20009 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I watched this on sci-fi tonight. I had not seen it for a number of years 22 to be exact. So it is a horror anthology story movie.

First segment there is a killer on the loose. A woman goes out to buy cigarettes when she come back to her car guess where the killer is ??? The back seat? the front seat with a take out ? A bit unoriginal.

Emilio Esteves is addicted to this one game and he just has to beat it he has to be the master. So he bunks off in the middle of the night to play the game in the arcade. The game looks so lame these days. It is vector-scan just like asteroids. So he get to level 12 out of thirteen and beats in. Then for level 13 the aliens come out of the arcade game. How lame can you get? The cheese factor was high on this segment. Lance Henrickson is a priest who finds his face after the devil sends someone to kill him in a 4 by 4 which behaves like the car out of the car. So lame it hurts. Lasty hour of the rat. A rat make home in a family house. The rat is a baddie and its huge. Now begins a fight between them and the rat. It ends so badly it is untrue. This anthology makes vault of horror look like a classic.
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