Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film (2009) Poster

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6/10
Nothing groundbreaking, but horror newcomers - and fanboys & girls - will enjoy it!
prettyh22 January 2011
This review may seem as though it outlines the entire documentary, but believe me, it only scratches the surface. :) No spoilers to be had here!

The pros: There are some interesting clips with some horror heavy-hitters - George Romero, John Carpenter, Mick Garrison, Joe Dante and more - interspersed with clips from everyone's favourite scary movies. We catch glimpses of other great talents behind the stories, too, like Tobe Hooper, Wes Craven, David Cronenberg and Stephen King. And when the description of of the documentary says that this is the history of the American horror film, they're not kidding: we're shown clips from the very first "Frankenstein" in 1910, through the classic Monster Movies ("Dracula," "The Phantom Of The Opera," "The Wolfman," "King Kong" and so on) all the way up to much more contemporary films, like "Se7en," "American Psycho," and franchises such as the "Saw" and "Scream" films. It's all narrated by the great voice of Lance Henriksen, who takes us on a chronological journey through what has been popular in American theatres since the silent film days and gives context to how (and why) we got from there to here.

The cons: I felt it was too short for the ground it wanted to cover; a three-part series would have allowed more time and space to get into what each director wanted to say, rather than limiting them to sound bites.

Also, for me, a lot of the attempts to politicize the evolution of horror films feel ham-fisted. Saying that Freddy Krueger's "making the children pay for the sins of the father" was a mirror of what Reagan was doing in office at the time? Tying in the ever-more excessive gore of the remakes like "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Dawn Of The Dead" with the media coverage of the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan? Commenting on how there's a new moralistic level to horror films like "Saw" because victims now have "the power to choose"? "Hostel" being nothing more than a metaphor for xenophobia? According to some of the critics and writers giving their two cents, every horror film is made to have a moral (yes, they even manage to moralize "Gremlins" and Poltergeist"!). It's all a bit of a reach, really. Certainly art imitates life, though I wouldn't go as far as some of these guys do. Perhaps its brief running time adds to the problem, as each of the examples I gave above are no more than one line out of the entire documentary.

Still, none of the cons take away from this being a fun and entertaining look into the history of scary movies. If all you're seeking is 90-ish minutes of great nostalgia (or a crash-course intro to horror), along with some face time with many of our favourite directors of the genre & clips of a whole lot of films that'll make you think, "Oh, I need to rent that again!"...then this is definitely for you!

||| ***½ out of 5 ||| ******½ out of 10 |||
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10/10
The most comprehensive and lucid horror documentary to date
worldpieceprod3 July 2010
"Nightmares" is as much of a social and political history lesson as it is a documentary of the origins of Horror films. I was taken back at how extensively and intelligently this film covered my favorite genre of film. There is a constant link made between the different subcategories of horror that have emerged over the years and the different social and political ties that drive them. "Nightmares" ended up being far more philosophical in its approach to the reasons why our society craves horror and violence on film. This is the closest I've ever seen to a "Ken Burns" history lesson on Horror Movies. I not only loved it, I learned something.
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Tired retread bringing nothing new to the table......
suspiria5622 August 2011
Yet again we are fed the same old treatment for a new decade. (The American Nightmare treaded much the same ground previously). Watching this latest 'historic' instalment of how cinema's arguably finest and most effective genre came into fruition, feels like a retread, nothing new, nothing challenged. Granted the first half of the 20th century is covered with enthusiasm, but it is when contemporary American horror cinema is tackled does this documentary fall flat, with an approach almost like first year academia.

However, John Carpenter makes a perfect point mid-way through in that we give directors like Craven (for Last House on the Left) too much credit by saying that films like Last House on the Left was pure social commentary. Or like Eli Roth's criminally over rated Hostel. These are not great social comments on America.

Indeed, Last House on the Left is an excellent film, but it is an excellent exploitation film…and a film that can only be a product of its time - i.e. US cinema became more independent following the mid-60s boom, of which European cinema had been for many years. Before that, it had been controlled implicitly by a studio system. The horror genre will always thrive through independence.

With Hostel, it is again a product of its time (okay it has trite, spoon feeding themes in it, but still…). It is a reaction to how desensitised audiences have become with the genre, a marketable push again by Hollywood studios to cash in on real issues - it's painful really, and a reason why the sludge of American horror cinema at the moment is truly woeful.

Another point made here also was that the barrage of updates/remakes of 70s horror has become more gory and violent linked to events in the world ….don't give me that, it is purely that we are used to dumbed down violence, not just from news reports but by the need to shock and go one step further with what has previously been made, typified again by the US studio system (can you imagine a remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre with no blood in it, ironically like the original - the studios wouldn't take the risk). The US studio system would remake anything if they could, but the marketable agenda is largely ignored. If the point was that these remakes reflected social ills, why is it that the slew of far Eastern horror, mainly from Korea and Japan, are tame versions of their original sources, not bloody, shocking versions. It is studio tactics, nothing more, nothing less. It is of no coincidence that the far Eastern originals are far superior, particularly as effective examples of the horror genre.

Ultimately, the real depth to US contemporary horror was missed here again with this doc. We've heard the same trite academic stances before, over and over, with no counter argument. It is worth noting, and ignored in this documentary, that 70's US exploitation cinema is just as important in the history of the American horror film. Exploitation cinema exists outside of the studio system, away from franchises, pushing boundaries and normal expectations, much in the same way that there is a wealth of amazing European exploitation films (Italy, Germany and Spain being obvious sources of origin, yet many more beside). This brought to American cinema, certainly through the advent of the drive-in cinema and grindhouse picture house, a tidal wave of cinema free to explore any avenue, upping the ante of what audiences consumed.

Despite its enthusiasm, and with the usual suspects (Carpenter, Romero, Dante et al) being interviewed, all this documentary really tells us is the historic arc of marketing the horror film….and for that motivation, misses the point entirely.
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4/10
More of a Political Commentary Than a Discussion on Horror Films
culmo8022 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The beginning of this movie was actually pretty good; I enjoyed the discussion (albeit brief) of the birth of horror films. It got a bit muddled when it entered the 30's and 40's...I feel like they were trying to make too many political points where none really existed.

When it got to the 50's, that's really when the politics overtakes the discussion of the movies. This is partially because most of the directors grew up in or started directing in the 60's and they were all counter-culture types.

Normally when you watch a documentary about something, you get a full view, not an utterly biased piece of propaganda...

I'm sorry, comparing Ronald Reagan to Freddy Krueger as the scariest person in the 80's? Really??? Most Americans would disagree - I mean other than the staunchest leftists who see Obama as too conservative still hold any sort of vindictiveness for Reagan.

If you were looking for a documentary about how these films came into being or where the horror genre has been and where it's going...eh, you'll get a very thin layer of that. The directors they have in here spend way too much time discussing how important their relatively unimportant films were in establishing the political tones (who really looks at horror movies for politics?) and too little time actually discussing American horror films.

It would have been nice for them to discuss how British horror films influenced American horror films (Universal competing against Hammer for instance) or how authors like Edgar Allen Poe, Shirley Jackson, and Richard Matheson provided much of the fodder for the horror films in the 50's and 60's...other than a passing mention of Poe, there is no mention of any author other than Stephen King.

This is a poor attempt to document the history of the horror film genre. There are plenty of clips from films, but they are far too brief to really enjoy. Too little time is given to too many films for there to be any real depth here. Ironically, there is almost no mention of contemporary horror films that actually are worthwhile...namely independent directors and films that aren't just blood and gorefests.

Oh well! Don't bother with this.
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5/10
Great "Horror" History Lesson, But Also A Lot Of Babble
zkonedog7 March 2017
When it comes to film-making, horror flicks have carved out quite a nice little existence for themselves. This documentary does two things: it reflects back on the history of the horror movie, as well as gives some reasons as to why they have evolved over the years.

That first part, the reflection, is truly what carries "Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue". It is interesting to see the history of the genre, remembering all the terrifying (whether physically or emotionally) images that have branded themselves into our collective "film conscience".

However, the "discussion" parts of the documentary leave much to be desired. The approach here is very political (in one laughable segment, former President Ronald Reagan is compared to Freddy Krueger!) and really tries to understand why the "Monster Era" of the early 1900s gave way to the aliens of the 50s, the slashers of the 80s, or the psychological thrillers of the 90s, for instance. While I appreciated the effort, the reasoning just seemed a bit ridiculous at times, almost as if the panel of guests were reaching for conclusions where perhaps none in fact exist.

Overall, then, "Nightmares" is a great doc if all you care about is a history lesson on horror movies. If you want anything deeper, be prepared to take pretty much every comment with a grain of salt or that nagging feeling of "this is all just being trumped up to sell a genre".
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10/10
A horror fan's dream documentary
super marauder10 June 2013
An excellent documentary about American horror movies from Thomas Edison's 'Frankenstien' to 'The Mist'. It talks about the evolution of horror movies and the times they were made. But it it is interesting how these movies reflected their era. From the aftermath of World War I all the way to 9/11.

I never figured Lance Hendrickson would be a good narrator, but he was. And I like all the film historian's insight. What's really cool is the interviews of the 'Masters of Horror', Mick Garris, John Carpenter, Larry Cohen, Joe Dante, etc... and how they all loved horror films as kids. I loved it when George Remero talks about 'The Thing', and his own 'Night of the Living Dead'. You find out horror directors are not sick, demented people. They simply make these movies because they enjoy them and the have a true passion for good horror movies. And they are not above shaking things up a bit as well.

You find out true horror movies aren't always madmen killing sexually active teenagers in strange ways, but how true horror is all around us every day and these movies reflect that. It also shows horror films will never die. Like it or not they will always be with us.
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8/10
Probably the Best Overall Horror Documentary I Have Seen
gavin694219 March 2011
Horror and sci-fi veteran Lance Henriksen narrates this look at the history of the American horror film, examining the earliest monster movies of the silent era up to the scariest modern-day masterpieces. Highlights include interviews with genre masters Roger Corman, Joe Dante, John Carpenter and George A. Romero, plus clips from classic films like The Exorcist, Night of the Living Dead and Rosemary's Baby.

I have seen my share of horror documentaries, I have read my share of interviews and interviewed my share of people in the horror industry. I have met most of the people in this documentary personally. So, my thought on this film going in was: this is going to be fun and a bit of a refresher for things I already know, a good thing to kick back and watch lazily. Nothing new to be learned here!

Well, that may not have been completely true. While the film covered a lot of the same ground as things I was familiar with: the politics, the culture, how films of the 1950s reflected nuclear fears... the documentary had some new angles, too. Who thought we would see a horror documentary that brings in "Easy Rider" and the James Bond films? I never thought so.

As I said, there is much talk of politics, particularly Reagan. Vietnam comes in, as does the Great Depression and the Cold War to a point. But the 1980s dominate, from John Carpenter's "They Live" to "American Psycho". There is even an argument made (which I find very dubious) that the 80s were a decade of excess, and this is in part why there is such an excess of blood in "Evil Dead 2". I doubt Sam Raimi would agree.

Larry Cohen says early on, "If a horror film is cutting off people's thumbs and gouging your eyes out, I guess that's a certain of horror. But it's not the kind of horror film that interests me." I liked this distinction, because horror seems to be heading in the direction where more films are just violence without any fun, suspense or subtle message. And that is just cheap. Horror films may not win Oscars, but they still range from bad to good, and the best are more than just torture.

The documentary also touched on numerous many overlooked films (such as "Atomic War Bride"), some that ought to have been overlooked ("Uncle Sam") and some lesser-known modern ones such as "The Devil's Backbone". The focus was on American films, so Hammer is not here, nor are the current foreign films of Japan. No Italian giallo. I think Vincent Price received far too little screen time, but overall the film covered just about every American film you could name that affected the history of horror in some way.
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5/10
The Only Thing To Fear Is Fear Itself
strong-122-47888526 March 2015
Can you believe that even today (56 years later) Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" still continues to have a substantial impact on the general direction of contemporary, American, horror movies? Well, it does!

And, with that in mind - Is it any wonder that this particular genre of film has become the stalest and most predictably trite movie category of them all?

According to all of the horror-movie directors, story-writers and historians who offered up their opinions in their fright-flick documentary - It was completely unanimous by all that Psycho was, indeed, the turning point. In the decades to follow, Psycho single-handedly set the inevitable direction that horror movies would head.

And, of course, in order to continue to compete with such a significant milestone as Psycho, horror-movie scenarios quickly accelerated into fast-pace mode and became a helluva lot messier and horrendously more sadistic in those years that followed Hitchcock's unforgettable slasher classic.

Yet, as is clearly evident today, it has been proved virtually impossible to fully satisfy and quench America's seemingly insatiable thirst for buckets of blood, and geysers of gore, and horrific stories that escalate into a non-stop barrage of pure, x-rated ultra-violence.

2 things that quickly lost this documentary some serious points were -

(1) All of those who offered up their opinions on the subject of horror movies placed a ludicrous amount of emphasis on directly connecting up these films with the socio-political mood (especially since 1950) that was clearly present in American society (at any given time in their nation's turbulent history).

(2) Way too much screen-time was given over to focusing in on director John Carpenter's half-baked opinions. As well, far too many film clips from his movies were spotlighted in this documentary. Also movies adapted from Stephen King novels were given too much attention, too.

P.S. - In order to make a point, I thought it was really pushing things a little too far when a particular scene from Disney's animated, 1940, classic Pinocchio was included in this film as yet another example of a horrific movie-moment worth discussing..... Spare me!
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5/10
Repetitious and a bit disappointing
werewolf7-559-4311107 August 2010
I got a chance to watch a screening of this with the director followed by a Q & A session. It actually starts out well. It breaks into the major time periods of the 20th century and posits that the social issues of the time helped craft their most notable horror films. Paranoia and the threat of nuclear war in the 50s led to "Invasion of the Body Snacthers" and "Them!" The loosening of social mores helped drive the slasher films of the 70s and 80s.

It's when this movie gets to the modern day that it stumbles. Face it, to 2000s have been a TERRIBLE time for American horror. The biggest characteristic of this decade has been not original films, but remakes of either past classics or more inventive foreign films. "Nightmares" somewhat acknowledges this, but by saying that since we face many of the same social problems as we did in decades past, THAT is the reason we've turned to remakes. Yeah, I know. LAME.

I would have much better things to say about the movie if it had acknowledged that the quality of the genre has flagged from time to time, and we're currently in a slump. Such a lost opportunity.
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4/10
Flag it as a Somewhat See
thesar-218 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Eh, you could do worse than the Nightmares in Red, White and Blue documentary.

After a great opening, I thought I was headed toward an informative, inventive and exciting doc on horror movies in the U.S. (Which by the way, isn't all state-side…but still…)

Unfortunately, it got boring and provided information that kids that grew up in my era (or before) already knew. Little was provided and they jumped all over the place in the horror genre and skipped large chunks while just barely mentioning them. (Very little attention was given to huge leaps in the horror staples: Scream and The Blair Witch Project – which both, like 'em or hate 'em, they're enormously significant in the past few decades of scary cinema.)

It's only 96 minutes, so I would recommend just a Saturday afternoon killing-time horror documentary.
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9/10
Excellent Overview of the Genre
bcthedj4 October 2010
Yes - a fine introduction to 'Horror' in American Film.

But the singular use of the word 'Horror' does not do justice. Are many elements of Film Genres that cross over, and this Documentary gives tribute - so add Suspense, Thriller, Crime, Sci-Fi and all those other 'things' in Movies, Stories, and Tales that keep us on the edge of our seat, or huddled in fear around the campfire.

Especially impressive is the Multi-Disciplinary approach. Movies and Stories don't exist in a vacuum, so factors of History and Culture are included to give further understanding of Society and how these Movies illuminate and/or reflect their Times. And although not directly mentioned, the Film does give tacit reference to Freud/Jung/Joseph Campbell's insights on Dreams, Archetypes and Myth - nothing you'd notice if you weren't aware of their work, but a taste to tease those who want to learn more.

At the time of my posting are only 2 other reviews, with value in them both. Yes, a Ken Burns comparison is appropriate - has that Academic Quality. And yes, the 2000's as a decade may not measure up to those in the past. But this Film, at least in passing, does address that somewhat - plus, is difficult to write History as it's still evolving.

Now, what is maybe the Greatest Thing™ ?

All the Movies it tells us about, then gives the complete list, by Date, during the End Credits.

Should keep you busy here at IMDb - and your 'video store' - for a while (smile).

.
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Good Documentary
Michael_Elliott31 May 2012
Nightmares in Red, White and Blue (2009)

*** (out of 4)

Lance Henriksen narrates this documentary that takes a look at the history of horror movies in American cinema. We start off in the silent era and move all the way through the recent "torture/porn" films and get interviews with such people as Carpenter, Corman, Cohen, Yunza, Dante, Garris, Romero, Bousman and McLoughlin. NIGHTMARES IN RED, WHITE AND BLUE is a pretty good documentary but it's certainly not oging to teach die-hard fans anything that they didn't already know. I think the biggest problem with the film is that it really doesn't shine any new light on the subject as everything here has been covered before in other documentaries and even those interviewed here are giving the same stories that they have before. With that being said, as a die-hard horror fan I always enjoy hearing the stories so I'm sure others like myself will enjoy the film. If you're unfamiliar with the genre then this film does a pretty good job at giving you the history of the genre even though it does skip around quite a bit and doesn't appear to be following any real plan. We start off in the silent era where Lon Chaney is discussed and then we hit the Universal monsters, the Val Lewton productions, the atomic films, the monsters from outer space, the Norman Bates of the world and then into the 70s attitude with graphic movies, the slashers and then there's the recent torture movies. You're certainly going to get a lot of film clips and I'm sure those who don't particularly like slashers won't enjoy that segment as there's all sorts of gore and violence. The one thing I found to be really fun was the Friday THE 13TH tribute where we see all the death and sex scenes from the entire series edited together in a little montage. Fans of the genre aren't going to learn anything new but this is still a fun film.
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7/10
"Vice Precedes Slice and Dice"
view_and_review24 February 2022
"Nightmares in Red, White and Blue" is a chronological march from the earliest horror movies to today. It begins in the thirties with movies such as "Dracula" (1931), "Frankenstein" (1931), and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1931) and takes the viewer up to current day movies (2009) such as the "Saw" franchise, "Hostel" (2006)

The commentators are some of the horror genre heavyweights. There was John Carpenter, George A. Romero, Darren Lynn Bousman, Larry Cohen, Joe Dante, Tom McLoughlin, Brain Yuzma, and Tony Timpone.

They cover monsters, animals, serial killers, demons, slashers, aliens and more. They don't get to much into the paranormal scary films. They mention classics like "The Exorcist," "Poltergeist," and "The Amityville Horror," but don't mention "Paranormal Activity," "The Ring," or "The Grudge." All of it is commentary about the era and times in which the movies were made with something about a deeper meaning of the movie itself, so don't expect to see how the movies are made. It's a cool documentary for horror buffs.

Free on IMDbTV.
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2/10
The Liberal Horror Documentary
BenTramerLives7816 December 2020
Nightmares in Red, White and Blue is a documentary, narrated by the great Lance Henriksen, about the evolution of the horror genre. We see clips of horror films from the beginning of film, like the silent version of The Phantom of The Opera, to the modern day films like Saw. This documentary uses American history and politics to compare what's on screen to what was occurring in real life. It's interesting to see how current events reflected in film, but some of the talking heads take things a little too far. One guy compares Ronald Reagan to Freddy Krueger. As someone who isn't on the left side of things more often than not, I can deal with the viewpoints of others, but some of the things said in this documentary just don't cut it for me. I enjoy seeing the clips from classics like "The Leopard Man", a film I admit I've never heard of, and the more modern titles, but I just don't like mixing politics with entertainment. If you don't like mixing the two, this movie isn't for you either.
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7/10
I had a haunting good time watching this documentary, even with its flaws. It's still a perfect way to get you pumped up for Halloween.
ironhorse_iv30 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
With each coming decade, the history of horror films has always reflect the changing times, and the fears that accompany them. This documentary directed by Andrew Monument & adapted from the book of the same name by author Joseph Maddrey, tries to showcases that, by exploring its humble beginnings with silent era Gothic to 1930s Universal Monsters, to the Sci-Fi nightmares of the Atomic Age, to the present day reflection of real-world scares with 200 film clips of the various types within the horror genre, intercuts with archive news footages throughout the years. All divided into eight sections, each of which deal with a specific period of time and the socio-political context in which horror films of that era were born into. While, the idea of combining film from various sources to make something new is a controversial issue, with some people still, thinks it's stealing. I believe collage films like this, are fine, even if it seems like a glorious clip show. Nevertheless, it's still has problems in two important ways. One is the way, the documentary visually show them. "Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film" doesn't present the film clips in their original aspect ratios, which means, that some of the film footages are zoomed way, too much to fit with the documentary's 1.78:1 frame or seemed cropped. Because of this, the film gives, somewhat half-ass blurry images of some of the subjects, tarnishing how good, these original films sources, honestly looked. Another problem with this approach, is how it cut down, on the suspense, that these scary imageries, were, original shown. It's really does strip down, the scare value. Only, leaving the somewhat distorted, out of context, disturbing fast-cut, quick blunt-force of violent gory imagery with large noises that could be, a little overwhelming to the senses & people's stomachs. The montages in this film can feel like being strapped to a chair, injected with drugs, and forced to watch films of sex and violence with your eyes propped open, as if it's 1971's 'A Clockwork Orange'. They can be a bit excessive & nauseating at times. Look, I get that the movie can't cover, all the material. That said, I love how all the film footages also supported, secondary by narrating from Lance Henriksen, whom does a great job, in establish credibility with his voice. However, I just wish, the information, that the filmmaker gave Heriksen wasn't so broad, without much context. After all, I really don't see much of a connection, in parallels between the charisma and motives of fictional antagonist Freddy Krueger of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and that of, former United States President Ronald Reagan, at all! Nor, how Leatherface from 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' can be compare with Osama bin Laden. Also, who though, it was a good idea, to brings in footage from 1969's "Easy Rider" and the James Bond films in a horror documentary? It doesn't make much sense. Another problem with the narrative is how short, some parts are. It really does make it seem, like they cut corners and really only skim the surface of a few pretty important moments in the evolution of the genre. I was really surprised that, the film didn't dig deep enough to explore the decline of the studio system, the rise of the independent movie movement, the advent of television, and the coming of the home video market. I get that, the movie can only go so far, but the whole sequence about the first ten years of the 2000s, seem a bit rushed. Look, I get that, streaming based viewing culture was still, starting out, when this movie was coming out, but, the documentary should had explore more, how the internet have change the industry, as a whole. It's kinda of, a big deal. Another thing, I think the film should get, some of their history, correct. After all, there were plenty of examples of events & movies, not fitting in with the chronological order, they were establishing with. Without going too much into detail, the idea that 1910's 'Frankenstein' is the first horror film is deeply wrong. I guess, the filmmakers never heard of 1896's 'The Devil's Castle' by film pioneer, Georges Méliès. Yes, I get that, it's technically, not an American film, but when talking the history of horror, you have to mention things like this, even if it's foreign. It doesn't make sense for a film to say that they will focus on Hollywood movies, yet talk about German Expressionist & Spanish Cinema and not much on Hammer Films, J-Horror or Italian Giallo. Obviously, a movie can't cover all the material that a book can, but to be fair, this movie should had been expanded into a three-part miniseries. It would had work better. The commentaries from the filmmakers, such as John Carpenter, Roger Corman, George A. Romero, Wes Craven, and others, would had more to say. Sadly, their interviews felt nothing, but sound-bites. Nothing really groundbreaking, came from their presence. It wasn't as entertaining and educational as it should had been. Overall: This documentary may not provide anything new for major horror fans, but it definitely worth seeing, even with its flaws. I just wish, it could had been better.
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9/10
An Outstanding Documentary Of Horror Films
Easygoer1010 October 2019
This is a terrific review of the horror genre in films. Lance Henrickson narrates. John Carpenter and numerous other exceptional horror film directors reflect on this from the silent film era to date (2009). They leave out a few films like "Terminator" (1984) and "A Clockwork Orange" (1971), however they really go in depth to the socio-economic-pathologic aspects of so many films. A must see documentary.
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9/10
Informative and Entertaining
jamiemiller-0761110 September 2021
Something that drives me nuts is when people say horror isn't political. It's the most political genre there is and one of the only safe places to explore deep, hard hitting social issues without feeling like you're being hit over the head with a message.

Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue sets out to explore why people love horror and why it moves them so much by talking to many of America's most celebrated horror filmmakers. It goes through each decade and explains why certain types of horror were big during these time periods and does so in a thoughtful, probing, and entertaining way.
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8/10
My all time favorite documentary ever
GeekCritique28 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This begins is quite possibly the best documentary ever. It goes through the silent era all the way into the modern era and it highlights all the films that changed the genre. From beginning with the monster being Soldiers from WWI who lost limbs,to Lon Chaney, to the iconic Universal monsters. This highlights the films to the Giant monster era (1950's) to the beginning of the slasher genre. Really interesting, only if they went more behind the classics of how they made them, the behind the scenes. There is also several nice directors who know the genre best, the entire ensemble includes: Wes Craven, John Carpenter, Rob Zombie because he know horror, George A. Romero, and Guillermo Del Torro, along others. It really talks about why the horror genre is the biggest and the most important in the film industry. Its all interesting until the late 1980's (1987-1989 :( boring years) and after. This is still one of my favorite documentaries ever.
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7/10
Not News, But Enjoyable Nonetheless
utslitt12 July 2019
While fans of horror might not necessarily learn anything new from watching this documentary, they'll definitely enjoy the time listening to their favorite directors, producers, and alike's, input on classics of the genre as well as what inspired them to be apart of the films that they did. The movie begins with horror in its early days of cinema and works its way up to modern day, showing us what the title suggests it will: "The Evolution of the American HOrror FIlm." Again, while you might not learn anything new, this documentary gives us the opportunity to jump into the brilliant minds of some of those who made some of our favorite films, and for that I am grateful. Worth the watch!
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8/10
Very enjoyable
abrakka18 April 2017
The documentary manages to present some very interesting opinions regarding the evolution of American horror, and while I did think it lacked a bit of comparison regarding the objectives of cinema as a whole, it does present some very interesting takes on what the horror movies try to express through time and how they evolved as audiences evolved.
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