‘Pray you never have one.’
American Nightmare is a 1981 (released 1983) Canadian horror film directed by Don McBrearty (The Haunting of Lisa) from a screenplay by John Sheppard (Mania, Never Cry Werewolf) based on a story by John Gault and Steven Blake. Ray Sager – who played Montag the Magnificent The Wizard of Gore – produced.
Lawrence S. Day, Lora Staley, Neil Dainard, Lenore Zann, Claudia Udy, Page Fletcher, Michael Ironside (Scanners, Visiting Hours), Larry Aubrey, Michael Copeman, Bunty Webb, Tom Harvey, Paul Bradley, Peter Lavender, Martin Doyle, Don MacQuarrie, Alexandra Paul (Christine), Nancy Oliver.
Wealthy pianist Eric Blade (Lawrence Day) tries to locate his missing runaway sister Isabelle in an unnamed city [actually Toronto] with the help of her roommate.
Blade uncovers a sleazy trail of strip joints, prostitution, drug addiction, blackmail… and a serial killer. The police aren’t really interested in a missing hooker until they find out she is the daughter of a wealthy businessman…
“Overall, it’s more of a thriller than a straight-ahead slasher flick; it also bares more breasts than blood. But American Nightmare is interesting as a hybrid of slasher and giallo with a couple of key characters (Staley, Zann) who make you care about what’s going on, and a thoughtful subtext (that’s right, you heard me) that adds meat to the mystery.” Dave Stewart, Retro Slashers
“While the message may be a tad too pessimistic, and the overall feeling of the film may be gritty, dark and depressing, it is nevertheless a quality motion picture. The giallo film in Europe was a way for filmmakers to comment on the physical and moral decay of its city streets, and McBrearty has done something brave in reviving the fundamentals of the genre to offer a similar critique on America. If Canadians have to make American-based movies, they may as well flavour it with a little homegrown pessimism. American Nightmare, indeed!” Rhett Miller, Canuxploitation!
“Where it lacks in an engaging story and consistent acting, it totally makes up for with working with the uglier side of the underbelly of city life, specifically the red-light district…” Todd Jordan, Rock! Shop! Pop!
“You come to a funeral to apologise?”