The Merits of Sin: Nightmare aka Nightmares in a Damaged Brain (1981) (USA/Italy)

I’m not sure where my love of sleazy movies came from. I know my dad used to program the VCR to record whatever horror flicks would be playing on our local channel 66 at whatever ungodly hour of the night and ask me to tell him how the movies were. It’s where I discovered Fulci and Night of the Demons. I know Nightmare came along early into my growing obsession. It definitely helped shape my somewhat warped view on cinema. Acting, technical proficiency, and sensical scripts never really mattered that much but Nightmare showed me I could love a film with a genuine lack of all these “necessities”. It’s nasty, gritty and a bit stupid, which is fine by me.

Previously on the Little Rascals

George Tatum is a psychotic mess. Plagued by nightmares of a brutal axe murder, if he ain’t waking up screaming then he ain’t waking up at all. Treated with an experimental drug with the hopes of being able to use him for government/military work, his doctor foolishly believes he should be free to roam the public. He is granted this and sure as shit makes a B-line to find a shitty family in Florida, leaving some bodies in his wake. Why Florida? Well, there’s a family there consisting of a mother who doesn’t seem to keen on being one, her daughters who don’t really figure into the script and a young son named CJ who has to go down as one of the most annoying children in film history.

A child Bears fan living in Florida? Of course he has a gun

The higher ups want George’s doctor to clean up the mess and George just wants to get to this family and slaughter as many people as he can. It all culminates in a climax involving one of my all time favorite masks and a very obvious reveal. The trip getting to this point is filled with some harsh violence, a genuinely disturbing vibe and that regional filmmaking flare I’ve loved for as long as I can remember.


With the atmosphere of a smoke filled strip club populated by pessimists, Nightmare hits you in the stomach and then tells you it’s marrying your mother. Braid Stafford plays the psychopath to queasy perfection and the world he populates is the 42nd Street (which it briefly filmed in) sore of regional films. Every other cast member is suitably despicable and the workman like vibe behind it only increases the ickiness. This is prime trash and it will not apologize for it. 9/10

Love in the time of nausea

Code Red has released the only version of this film you will ever need.

Get it here:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s