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"Nightmare In a Damaged Brain" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

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"Nightmare In a Damaged Brain" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

Old 09-24-23, 11:59 PM
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"Nightmare In a Damaged Brain" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge



Nightmare (1981)




Selected by Darth Maher


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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

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2023 DISCUSSION | 2023 LISTS
Old 10-11-23, 11:41 PM
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Re: "Nightmare In a Damaged Brain" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

The stylized disjointed way Nightmare capitalizes on home invasion tropes is brilliant, it creeps in showing the journey back into madness from the killer more and more leering into the normalcy of a family in the house. One of my pet peeves is mental illness being used as a catchall 'explaination' in pop culture - that the real plot is some guy has Schizophrenia so people die (lazy storytelling). Here the rotating timeframes and camera tricks of memory blending past and present play well. The gore is intense if not dated at times.

My favorite part is how the flashbacks versus modern day confuse the killer and the child. Its unclear to what degree they are two separate peole. Is the killer a nightmare in the child's damaged brain? Is the child that part of the killer that is set free when his bloodlist is satiated? The killer seems relatable at times while the child menacing and visa versa. There are perhaps two children - the killer's son and the killer as a child but it all seems ripe for interpretation.

Look at how dated and fake those computers are...
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jholmes (10-27-23)
Old 10-25-23, 01:47 PM
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Re: "Nightmare In a Damaged Brain" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Undeadcow
My favorite part is how the flashbacks versus modern day confuse the killer and the child. Its unclear to what degree they are two separate peole. Is the killer a nightmare in the child's damaged brain? Is the child that part of the killer that is set free when his bloodlist is satiated? The killer seems relatable at times while the child menacing and visa versa. There are perhaps two children - the killer's son and the killer as a child but it all seems ripe for interpretation.
I think you may be giving the makers of this movie more credit than they deserve with your interpretation.

I know this movie has a decent minor fan base, but I just don't think much of it. It doesn't feel like a movie made in 1981 at all. It looks like a movie made ten years prior and feels like a Herschell Gordon Lewis splatter film from the mid 60's plot & acting wise. Knowing it is 1981 is jarring.

And it pisses me off that basically CJ comes across as a hero of the movie (though a demented one) after they make the audience want to wring his neck the entire picture. It is a cool looking time capsule when he is walking through the adult district. Jeez...the way men had to ingest their porn back in the day was pretty fucking gross.

My rating: ** out of *****
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Old 10-27-23, 10:18 AM
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Re: "Nightmare In a Damaged Brain" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

This was a film I needed to watch for the Zombies list, so I was happy it was picked for a subset.

This was much better than I expected. Obviously low budget, but the script was quite good. I don't think I've ever seen such a realistic depiction of motherhood and kids in a movie. That mom was *not* having a good time. The way she'd just go off on the kids and get hysterical, and her boyfriend would try to calm her down -- that struck me as being so true to life. And the kids would randomly squabble loudly in a way kids do. Usually kids are portrayed as way more mature and reasonable than their age.

The parallels between the killer and the little boy were well-done too. I loved that CJ just up and shot the intruder, over and over, and then went back again to look for him. Again, that's not something I've seen before, a child being that cold-blooded. CJ's character development arc was superb. From being annoying and taking delight in scaring others to being stoic as he was interrogated by the police and not particularly bothered by his friend's death, to shooting someone in self-defense, which is reasonable, yet you can see the edge of psychosis undernearth.

Did I miss some reference to her husband early on? She says it at the very end, "My husband!", but I don't recall her ever saying where he was or what she thought he was doing. Maybe I just missed it.

ETA: Yes, the stabbing effects were super cheap. It didn't look like real flesh at all.
Old 10-27-23, 12:03 PM
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Re: "Nightmare In a Damaged Brain" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

Not entirely sure what I just watched, but this movie was just all over the freaking place. I payed attention, and my full attention really just didn't pay off. I have both the 88 and CR blu of this movie,and I can't figure why I had the need to get both. The volume on this is just all over the place. I'll turn it all the way up and still not hear what the characters are saying, then the guy has another nightmare and the house is shaking from the amped up volume.
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Spiderbite (10-27-23)
Old 10-27-23, 12:24 PM
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Re: "Nightmare In a Damaged Brain" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Spiderbite
And it pisses me off that basically CJ comes across as a hero of the movie (though a demented one) after they make the audience want to wring his neck the entire picture. It is a cool looking time capsule when he is walking through the adult district. Jeez...the way men had to ingest their porn back in the day was pretty fucking gross.
Yep, CJ was a little jerk. Suffer a serious abdominal injury to get mom there quick, and it's all faked!

Yes, lots of good things playing during the walk down the adult district. The 5 Venoms!
Old 10-27-23, 01:44 PM
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Re: "Nightmare In a Damaged Brain" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by WillieMLF
I'll turn it all the way up and still not hear what the characters are saying, then the guy has another nightmare and the house is shaking from the amped up volume.
I totally forgot to mention that, and I meant to. Holy god...the movie had jump scares, but it was because of the freaking volume issues. I did the same thing several times and finally just set the volume low enough to where I could barely hear the dialogue but didn't get blown out of the room with the high-pitched screaming. So annoying. I was just thinking it was possibly the streaming version I was watching.
Old 10-31-23, 10:27 AM
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Re: "Nightmare In a Damaged Brain" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

I watched this last night. The only place I could find to stream it was Youtube, and the only full length version that I found there was a Dutch VHS version with Dutch subtitles. Also, I don't know what he OAR is for this, but being a VHS version, this was full screen.

So all that said, not optimal viewing conditions, but I guess I shouldn't complain about what I get for free. This was okay. As a parent myself, I didn't sympathize with the mother, and thought she was often cruel to CJ who I was reading as just a rambunctious kid. The boyfriend seemed more suited to being a parent than she was. That said, I also saw the twist coming about George being CJ's father from a mile away, so what do I know, lol? I guess putting up with George made her that way? Maybe she was worried that CJ was ending up like him, and that freaked her out. Weird movie, but I kind of enjoyed it.
Old 10-31-23, 02:48 PM
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Re: "Nightmare In a Damaged Brain" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

Classic 80s 42nd street sleaze. It works on so many levels.
8/10

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