Nightmares (1983)

R | 99 mins | Horror, Anthology | 2 September 1983

Director:

Joseph Sargent

Producer:

Christopher Crowe

Production Designer:

Dean Edward Mitzner

Production Company:

Universal Pictures
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HISTORY

No music authorship was included in credits, so Music Text is incomplete.
       The 6 Jul 1983 Var reported that Nightmares was filmed in late 1982 as a two-hour pilot for a proposed series to be aired by the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) during its 1983-84 television season. Instead, Universal Pictures executives decided to put it out as a theatrical film, to be released 26 Aug 1983. Although the article stated that Nightmares was rated “PG,” the picture was rated “R” by the time of its release. According to the 13 Sep 1983 LAHExam, the budget was $6 million.
       An article in the May 1984 AmCin highlighted the contributions of the computer graphics firm, Bo Gehring Associates, to the sequence of the film titled, “The Bishop of Battle.” Gehring believed his company set a record for computer imaging, producing “four and a half minutes of animation in nine weeks.”
       A full-page advertisement in the 26 Aug 1983 NYT announced the film’s 27 Aug 1983 debut at the Gemini Theater in New York City. The midnight “sneak preview” offered free admission to the first 100 patrons to arrive by 11:45 pm wearing pajamas. The 7 Sep 1983 Var stated that “150 pajama-clad patrons” were given free admission, and that the event was cosponsored by radio station WHTZ-FM.
       LAHExam blamed “poor opening weekend grosses” on an advertising campaign geared toward horror audiences, who reportedly found the film’s lack of violence and bloodshed disappointing.
       Nightmares opened to lukewarm reviews. While the 7 Sep 1983 ... More Less

No music authorship was included in credits, so Music Text is incomplete.
       The 6 Jul 1983 Var reported that Nightmares was filmed in late 1982 as a two-hour pilot for a proposed series to be aired by the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) during its 1983-84 television season. Instead, Universal Pictures executives decided to put it out as a theatrical film, to be released 26 Aug 1983. Although the article stated that Nightmares was rated “PG,” the picture was rated “R” by the time of its release. According to the 13 Sep 1983 LAHExam, the budget was $6 million.
       An article in the May 1984 AmCin highlighted the contributions of the computer graphics firm, Bo Gehring Associates, to the sequence of the film titled, “The Bishop of Battle.” Gehring believed his company set a record for computer imaging, producing “four and a half minutes of animation in nine weeks.”
       A full-page advertisement in the 26 Aug 1983 NYT announced the film’s 27 Aug 1983 debut at the Gemini Theater in New York City. The midnight “sneak preview” offered free admission to the first 100 patrons to arrive by 11:45 pm wearing pajamas. The 7 Sep 1983 Var stated that “150 pajama-clad patrons” were given free admission, and that the event was cosponsored by radio station WHTZ-FM.
       LAHExam blamed “poor opening weekend grosses” on an advertising campaign geared toward horror audiences, who reportedly found the film’s lack of violence and bloodshed disappointing.
       Nightmares opened to lukewarm reviews. While the 7 Sep 1983 HR called it a “generally appealing shocker,” the same day’s Var described the film as “adequately scary but overly-predictable.” Var also credited actor William Sanderson with a small role in the opening segment.
       The 11 Jul 1986 DV reported that mystery writer Patricia J. Thurmond, also known as Patricia Steele, filed a plagiarism suit against Universal, alleging that one of the chapters in Nightmares was based on her story, “If Cornered, Scream,” which originally appeared in a 1977 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. Thurmond requested an injunction against the film and unspecified compensation for “loss of profits and failure to give her screen credit.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
May 1984
pp. 89-91.
Daily Variety
29 Jun 1983.
---
Daily Variety
11 Jul 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 1983
p. 3, 6.
LAHExam
13 Sep 1983.
---
Los Angeles Times
12 Sep 1983
p. 4.
New York Times
26 Aug 1983.
---
New York Times
3 Sep 1983
p. 14.
Variety
6 Jul 1983.
---
Variety
7 Sep 1983
p. 18.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Starring
Chapter One [Terror in Topanga]
[and]
Chapter One [Terror in Topanga]
Co-Starring
Chapter One [Terror in Topanga]
[and]
Chapter One [Terror in Topanga]
Starring
Chapter Two [The Bishop of Battle]
Chapter Two [The Bishop of Battle]
Chapter Two [The Bishop of Battle]
Chapter Two [The Bishop of Battle]
and
Chapter Two [The Bishop of Battle] as
Co-Starring
Chapter Two [The Bishop of Battle]
+

NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Starring
Chapter One [Terror in Topanga]
[and]
Chapter One [Terror in Topanga]
Co-Starring
Chapter One [Terror in Topanga]
[and]
Chapter One [Terror in Topanga]
Starring
Chapter Two [The Bishop of Battle]
Chapter Two [The Bishop of Battle]
Chapter Two [The Bishop of Battle]
Chapter Two [The Bishop of Battle]
and
Chapter Two [The Bishop of Battle] as
Co-Starring
Chapter Two [The Bishop of Battle]
Chapter Two [The Bishop of Battle]
Starring
Chapter Three [The Benediction]
[and]
Chapter Three [The Benediction]
Co-Starring
Chapter Three [The Benediction]
and
Chapter Three [The Benediction] as
Starring
Chapter Four [Night of the Rat]
Chapter Four [Night of the Rat]
Chapter Four [Night of the Rat]
[and]
Chapter Four [Night of the Rat]
Terror in Topanga
Terror in Topanga
Terror in Topanga
Terror in Topanga
The Bishop of Battle
The Bishop of Battle
The Bishop of Battle
The Bishop of Battle
The Bishop of Battle
The Bishop of Battle
The Bishop of Battle
The Benediction
[and]
Night of the Rat
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Wrt, Chapters 1, 2, & 3
Wrt, Chapter 4
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog, Chapters 1 & 2
Dir of photog, Chapters 3 & 4
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Matte artist
FILM EDITORS
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Women`s cost
Men`s cost
MUSIC
Mus ed
Addl mus
Addl mus
Addl mus
Addl mus
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
Singer
SOUND
Sd eff ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Opt cam
Titles and opt eff
Video game spec eff by
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Let's Have A War," written by Lee Ving and Philo Cramer, performed by Fear
"Louie, Louie," written by Richard Berry, performed by Black Flag.
DETAILS
Release Date:
2 September 1983
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 2 September 1983
Los Angeles opening: 9 September 1983
Production Date:
late 1982
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
9 December 1983
Copyright Number:
PA193535
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Color by Technicolor®
Lenses
Panaflex camera and lenses by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
99
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Near Malibu, California, as a highway patrolman radios his dispatcher, a knife-wielding madman stabs him repeatedly. In nearby Topanga Canyon, Phil, a young husband and father, listens to a late-night news report about escaped mental patient William Henry Glazier, who is responsible for five stabbing deaths. His wife, Lisa, is desperate for a cigarette and insists on driving to the store. Concerned for her safety, Phil forbids her to go, but Lisa sneaks out of the house at her first opportunity. On her way to the store, Lisa hears a description of Glazier on the radio. She reaches her destination, buys a carton of cigarettes, along with a few groceries, and returns to her car, which she discovers is almost out of fuel. Although she finds an all-night gas station, she locks herself inside the car upon realizing that the attendant fits Glazier’s description. The attendant smashes a window and drags Lisa toward his office, then fires a pistol, killing Glazier as he emerges from her car’s back seat. Lisa is too upset to drive and accepts a ride home from the police. Upon her arrival, Phil asks if she got her cigarettes, and she shows him the carton. On a city street in Los Angeles, California, teenagers J. J. Cooney and his friend, Zock Maxwell, enter a video arcade. J. J. approaches a Latino boy, offering to join him in a game. The boy agrees, providing the winner receives one dollar per game, with a five-game minimum. After J. J. loses six games in a row, he raises the stakes to $25. A group ... +


Near Malibu, California, as a highway patrolman radios his dispatcher, a knife-wielding madman stabs him repeatedly. In nearby Topanga Canyon, Phil, a young husband and father, listens to a late-night news report about escaped mental patient William Henry Glazier, who is responsible for five stabbing deaths. His wife, Lisa, is desperate for a cigarette and insists on driving to the store. Concerned for her safety, Phil forbids her to go, but Lisa sneaks out of the house at her first opportunity. On her way to the store, Lisa hears a description of Glazier on the radio. She reaches her destination, buys a carton of cigarettes, along with a few groceries, and returns to her car, which she discovers is almost out of fuel. Although she finds an all-night gas station, she locks herself inside the car upon realizing that the attendant fits Glazier’s description. The attendant smashes a window and drags Lisa toward his office, then fires a pistol, killing Glazier as he emerges from her car’s back seat. Lisa is too upset to drive and accepts a ride home from the police. Upon her arrival, Phil asks if she got her cigarettes, and she shows him the carton. On a city street in Los Angeles, California, teenagers J. J. Cooney and his friend, Zock Maxwell, enter a video arcade. J. J. approaches a Latino boy, offering to join him in a game. The boy agrees, providing the winner receives one dollar per game, with a five-game minimum. After J. J. loses six games in a row, he raises the stakes to $25. A group of older boys cover the bet and a crowd gathers around the two players. After J. J. outscores his opponent, a younger boy recognizes him, and informs the others that they are being “hustled.” J. J. and Zock run to the exit and board a bus, narrowly escaping their pursuers. They disembark at a suburban shopping mall and make their way toward the video arcade, where J. J. intends to reach the highest level of “The Bishop of Battle,” a game with thirteen levels, each more challenging than the last. As Zock leaves for home, he tells J. J. that the game has turned him into “some kind of fiend.” J. J. is greeted enthusiastically as he enters the arcade, and a crowd gathers around as he begins playing, cheering him on when he reaches Level 12. However, when J. J. is unable to reach Level 13, the crowd disbands. The only person remaining is Pamela, who invites J. J. to join her for pizza and conversation in hopes of rekindling their friendship, but J. J. is not interested. Upon his return home, J. J.’s parents, Jerry and Adele, forbid him to attend the arcade. Later, he sneaks out of the apartment and breaks into the arcade, desperate to reach Level 13. Meanwhile, Zock awakens Adele with a telephone call, asking if his friend made it home that night. Upon discovering that J. J. has left the house, Adele, Jerry, and Zock search the neighborhood. At the arcade, as J. J. reaches Level 13, the computer graphics become three-dimensional weapons, and he is fighting for his life. He runs from the arcade, but is engulfed by the face of the Bishop of Battle. The next morning, Adele, Jerry, and Zock arrive at the arcade, which is in shambles from the previous night’s conflict. They hear J. J.’s voice emanating from one of the machines, announcing himself as the Bishop of Battle. In a small desert town, Frank McLeod, a Catholic priest, conducts a funeral service for a small boy who was killed during a robbery, but is unable to offer comfort to the mourners. Overcome by the suffering he has witnessed, Frank no longer believes in God and is determined to drive as far from his tiny parish as funds will allow. Among his supplies is a canister of holy water, which he intends to drink during his long trek across the desert. Shortly after Frank’s departure, a large, black pickup truck nearly collides with his car. Sometime later, the truck reappears and forces him off the road, leaving him with a flat tire and a detached rear bumper. Frank replaces the tire, and as he continues down the empty road, the truck resumes its pursuit. It rams Frank’s car, causing it to roll over and scatter its contents on the road. Frank climbs from the wreckage, and as the truck barrels toward him, he throws the canister of holy water through its windshield, causing it to vanish. That night, as paramedics bandage Frank’s wounds, they offer him a choice of hospitals, and Frank selects the one in his parish. Late at night, in a middle-class suburban home, Claire Houston is awakened by the sound of a rat crawling inside the wall. The next morning, as Claire prepares breakfast for her husband, Steven, and their young daughter, Brooke, she peruses the telephone book for an exterminator. Steven protests, and offers to lay rattraps rather than pay an exterminator with money the family has earmarked for a swimming pool. Late that night, the rat is caught and Steven disposes of the carcass in a garbage can. Afterward, the family cat, Rosie, wanders into the cellar, where she is killed by an unseen creature. In the morning, Brooke is concerned about the cat’s disappearance, while Claire and Steven discover that the kitchen sink is clogged with rat fur. Later, Claire finds Rosie’s carcass in the cellar and flees in terror upon seeing a pair of eyes staring from a dark corner. She also discovers that Brooke’s bedroom has been vandalized, with most of the girl’s stuffed animals in tatters. Exterminator Mel Keefer arrives the next day, finding severed electrical wiring and an enormous hole in the kitchen wall, all of which were created overnight. Steven enters and tells the exterminator to leave, then admonishes Claire for her disobedience. That night, Mel telephones Claire and suggests that her house may be haunted by the Devil Rodent, a legendary beast that terrorized “certain villainous individuals” in seventeenth-century Germany. Steven grabs the receiver from Claire and insists that Mel leave them alone. Moments later, they investigate noises in the living room and find their piano damaged, as their electrical power goes on and off. While Steven hunts for the creature with a rifle, the door slams shut on Brooke’s bedroom. Steven breaks through the door and finds a giant, wailing rat at the foot of his daughter’s bed. Brooke is able to understand the creature and explains that it “wants her baby back.” Steven retrieves the rat carcass from the garbage and brings it to the bedroom, placing on a windowsill. The creature takes the carcass, emits an earthshaking wail, and disappears out the window. As the family members embrace, Brooke wonders aloud who the Devil Rodent will visit next. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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