Nightmare Cinema – USA, 2017: updated with first reviews

Nightmare Cinema is a 2017 American horror anthology film directed by Alejandro Brugués, Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Ryûhei Kitamura and David Slade. It stars Mickey Rourke, Richard Chamberlain and Maurice Benard.

A series of down-on-their-luck individuals enter the decrepit and spine-chilling Rialto movie house, only to have their deepest and darkest fears brought to life on the silver screen by The Projectionist (Mickey Rourke) – a mysterious, ghostly figure who holds the nightmarish futures of all who attend his screenings. By the time the doomed patrons realise the truth, escape is no longer an option…

Segment stories:

Alejandro Brugues (Juan of the Dead) – ‘The Thing in the Woods’ by Brugues
Joe Dante (GremlinsThe HowlingPiranha) – ‘Mirari’ by Richard Matheson
Mick Garris (The Stand) – ‘Tyler’s Third Act’, from his own story
Ryuhei Kitamura (Midnight Meat Train; Versus) – ‘Mashit’ by Sandra Becerril
David Slade (30 Days of Night) ‘This Way to Egress’ co-written with Lawrence C. Connelly, based on Connelly’s short, ‘Traumatic Descent’

Reviews:

“Simply put, four of these entries are worthwhile, leaving only one stinker. That’s an impressive batting average. But lack of cohesion and a confusing overall premise hurt the film much more than you’d expect. It’s still very much worth seeing, but the shortcomings are frustrating for how much they mar an otherwise great anthology.” Evan Saathoff, Birth. Movies. Death.

“The tricky thing about bringing such varying, distinct voices together in one film, though, is that it can be difficult to meld together such stylistically and tonally different directors together in one film. Add in a wraparound that doesn’t quite work, and Nightmare Cinema is a mixed bag.” Meagan Navarro, Bloody Disgusting

“A bit of restructuring would the film a heap of favors. However, Nightmare Cinema is still ultimately a stronger-than-average anthology with some good-to-great material worth checking out, especially ‘The Thing in the Woods’ and ‘This Way to Egress’, which are both true horror anthology bangers.” Haleigh Foutch, Collider

” …a mixed bag that might best be experienced depending on the viewer’s horror sensibilities. If its gory fun you want the first two segments should satisfy, while Slade brings a more elevated sensibility to the proceedings, with the third and fifth segments being the runt of the litter.” Max Evry, Coming Soon

…Nightmare Cinema gets so much more right than it gets wrong, and I think fans are going to enjoy what these genre masters have cooked up in their anthological collaboration. It might lose a bit of its energy towards the end, but as a whole, Nightmare Cinema delivers up a steady stream of genre goodness that crackles with ingenuity and affection…” Heather Wixson, Daily Dead

“If you adored the TV series Masters of Horror (2005-2007), you’ll enjoy the zaniness of this film. It represents exceptional teamwork and extraordinary planning, with each director bringing their experience to the table to create something on their own terms. As with most nightmares, this movie will have you thinking about it long after you watch it.” Zena Dixon, Dread Central

“Overall, Nightmare Cinema is certainly not a runaway success. It’s uneven to say the least, and I think each of the stories could have benefited from a little more length to flesh out story, characters, and ideas. The premise also doesn’t quite coalesce the way it ought to, though the idea of a movie theater from hell is solid.” Kyle Anderson, Nerdist

“Even when the stories flip their perspectives, or pile on their emotional demons, or just try to build up an old fashioned jump scare, the enterprise comes up short. It’s oddly annoying too, how the shorts can overlap thematically and aesthetically, but without meaning anything: many of the mini-films by these guys are about women’s experiences, or feature characters trapped in a certain medical state with no one to help them.” Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com

“Five short films which vary wildly in style and content, connected with a framing device not quite as kitschy as the Crypt Keeper from HBO’s venerable Tales From the Crypt anthology show, and yet, it must be said that Mickey Rourke is as awkward as he is unsettling (intentionally or not) as ‘The Projectionist.’” Kurt Halfyard, Screen Anarchy

Main cast and characters:

  • Mickey Rourke … The Projectionist
  • Richard Chamberlain … Dr. Mirari
  • Maurice Benard … Father Benedict
  • Adam Godley … Doctor Salvadore
  • Orson Chaplin … Jenkins
  • Stephanie Cood … Dani
  • Jamie Lynn Concepcion … Cindy
  • Kevin Fonteyne … Jason
  • Lexy Panterra … Casey
  • Mark Grossman … David
  • Eric Nelsen … Fred / The Welder

Filming locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

Image credits: Mike Moriatis/ Cinelou Films

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Categories: 2018, anthology

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