Nightmare USA Project

For this post, which will almost certainly end up as the longest on this site, I’m going to attempt to write about every film mentioned in my favorite book on genre cinema ever, Nightmare USA. I’ll be updating this as I go, so make sure to check back to see my progress.

Basket Case:

The Crazies:

Don’t Go in the Woods:

On stephen throwers recommendation, I also checked out The Dirtiest Game in the World, an earlier sex film also by James Bryan. With some truly disturbing content and political satire that actually hits, I was very impressed by The Dirtiest Game. It predates many of the Golden age pornographic films, and as a result there is no penetration shown, however the end result hits very hard. I love watching earlier low budget films by filmmakers whose work I enjoy. In a way its a purer sense of their talent, since nothing can be hidden by larger budgets. Bryan would go on to direct two more softcover features before moving into hardcore territory and eventually directing an action film in Lady Street fighter.

I wouldn’t necessarily call Dont Go in the Woods a good movie, but it was a ton of fun. The acting is often laughably bad and the deranged killer looks more silly than scary, putting this firmly in the so bad its good category. Adding to this is the bright red color of the blood throughout. In that way, it’s s like an Italian movie made in the 60s. One thing the film does really well is it never quite let’s you get bored with the large amount of gruesome killings, which are well spaced throughout. While certainly not a must watch, I can recommend this film to anyone who is looking to dive deeper than just the classic slasher movies.

I watched the film in the form of a vinegar syndrome blu ray. The transfer looks great, especially for a film with such a limited budget. The disk also contained some interesting tv spots with the director as well as multiple different commentary tracks, giving it a ton of rewatchability. Given this was my first time watching the movie, I went for no commentary, but I can see myself going back to check out a couple of them.

Frozen Scream:

Frozen Scream was a strange experience. Stephen Thrower is clearly a big fan of Renee Harmon, but I really didn’t get much from this one at all. Watched on Tubi TV.

The Gore Gore Girls:

See my post on the Herschell Gordon Lewis Feast set.

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death:

Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood:

Maniac:

Messiah of Evil:

Phantasm:

The Premonition:

The Witch Who Came from the Sea:

This film is not an easy one to watch, especially if you are sensitive to the idea of sexual abuse. However, the strong acting and bizarre mix of trauma and references to sailors and the Sea make it one of the best films I’ve seen yet during this project. Molly was an obvious victim of her father during her childhood leading her to suffer delusions about the type of man he really was. Her sister constantly calls him a no good drunk, but it seems the reality is much more than just that. The film is an interesting examination of a broken psyche and the ability of trauma to push people into seriously disturbing worldviews and situations as a result. I absolutely recommend it to anyone who can handle some fairly transgressive subject matter in their films.

Watched as part of volume 1 of Arrow’s American Horror Project.

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