Like Unto a… – Nightmare (1981)

Though Nightmare might star no one of note, the actors are not what calls one to this picture but its notoriety as a former Video Nasty and the sheer brutality and visceral killings by the monster at its core.

Directed by Romano Scavolini, he would not so much as create something new or groundbreaking but he would produce a film that would keep his audience hooked from the first moment to the last due to the sheer amount of blood, gore and sheer visciousness of it.  It did not hurt that finding out what would happen to the man doing said killings when all was said and done was also a must given his rehabilitation that obviously did not take. As it would begin, the film would see an inmate at a psychiatric institution being reprogrammed so that he might be reintroduced to society in what is largely a test so that maybe others might be able to do the same. Unbeknownst to those doing said reprogramming, it turns out to be a colossal failure for after visiting a peepshow and seeing a couple of naked women, the man has flashbacks to his mom or some other woman getting murdered when he was a little boy, thereby undoing everything he just went through. Scavolini then just sends the guy into full slasher-mode and the film never really lets up from that point as said killer decides to head back home so that he might murder his current family.

One can easily see why this film might have been controversial back in 1981 as it would not only feature a child-murdering his family or the copious amounts of close-up shots of each wound, the brutality that would be dealt to each of the victims but a bit of nudity during the beginning when Baird Stafford’s character George would go to the peep show that would border on being hardcore. That too would add to the movie rather than take away from it, adding a layer of grime to an atmosphere that was already dark and dirty and sometimes quite disturbing much like the mind of George.

There were few faults to be found unless one is particularly averse to all the blood and gore to be found within. The story was captivating and the performances were good with Scavolini delivering an effective shocker compared to many released during the following decade when slashers were king. It is straight-up horror, a slasher that does not pull any punches at any moment and when all is said and done, stands amongst the best the genre has to offer.

3.5 out of 5

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