Lake Dead / The Deaths of Ian Stone / Unearthed
Crazy Eights / Tooth & Nail / Nightmare Man / Borderland

STUDIO: Lions Gate
MSRP: $14.99
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

  • Miss Horrorfest 2007 Contest webisodes
  • Commentary by director Rolfe Kanefsky, producer Esther Goodstein and Tiffany Shepis
  • Extended Scenes
  • Creating a Nightmare featurette
  • Flubbing a Nightmare gag reel
  • Tiffany’s Behind The Scenes video diary
  • Stills gallery

The Pitch

Some nightmares are a tad more real than others.

The Humans

Blythe Metz, Tiffany Shepis, Luciano Szafir, James Ferris, Jack Sway, Hanna Putnam, Robert Donovan, Richard Moll.

The Joan Rivers Face Mask mail order business was going well, all things considered…

The Nutshell

Ellen (Metz), a wife involved in a failing marriage, orders an African fertility mask in the whimsical hope that it will help the couple conceive. However, upon receiving the mask, she finds that it’s a frightfully ugly thing and immediately plans to send it back. It’s not long after she receives it, however, that she’s plagued by dreams of a demonic entity with the face of the mask menacing her. This leads to her husband, Bill (Szafir), to drive her to an asylum in the hopes that she can be cured of her hysteria, which is only controlled by pills that she takes. But when their car runs out of gas and he leaves her to walk to a gas station, the entity, named Nightmare Man, comes out of nowhere and tries to kill her in the real world. She’s chased deep into the woods to a house where two couples are on vacation. The couples take the hysterical Ellen in and themselves become targets of Nightmare Man.

“Where’s my agent?!  I’m gonna kill him!  You hear me, Bernie!  I’ll get you for this…”

The Lowdown

Nightmare Man is the capper in this series of
After Dark Horrorfest films that ranges from decent to downright weak and as a whole have ultimately proven to be nothing short of disappointing. Nightmare Man isn’t the worst of the lot, but it’s near the bottom. Its a low budget horror exercise that has nothing – a clever script, over-the-top gore nor good acting – to elevate it to anything much beyond that. Even the Cinemax-level nudity can’t save this forgettable film that desperately needed some of the flavor present in the last act throughout the rest of the film. 

“Okay, here’s the situation: we’re stuck in the woods, a madman is stalking us and I’m on my own with three hot chicks, one of whom may or may not be crazy.”
“So what are we going to do?”
“Personally, I’m down for a four way, how about you?”

The first two thirds of the film are a formulaic and somewhat plodding misadventure of a killer-in-the-woods who menaces an isolated group of twentysomethings who’s best idea for entertaining themselves is participating in sexual truth or dare. When things do pick up around an hour in with a couple of twists that you may or may not see coming, it’s already too late to save the movie as a whole. And the hook present in the last reel of Nightmare Man immediately smacks of Evil Dead, but with little to none of the Raimi / Campbell flavor.

Identity of this actress withheld at her request.

The characters are so primed to be victims that they should’ve had targets on their foreheads, particularly one poor slob who gets drilled in the piehole with an arrow. Nearly all of the horror film playbook is followed here and the snuffings are telegraphed like a bad wrestling move. There’s little to no emotional resonance in any of the deaths, especially from the characters themselves. The only one with any significant presence is Shepis as the uninhibited Mia, who has no compunction about dancing around in lingerie, giving her man a kiss-your-ass-goodbye-worthy full moon, rolling around in the woods in the altogether and is handy with the crossbow and hunting rifle.

Is it me or does it pretty much not get better than a demon chick-on-chick tongue kiss?  Vampire chick-on chick tongue kiss you say?  Good call.

Nightmare Man doesn’t go for the heavy horror, but more the irreverent type. But the problem is that it takes way too long to get to that and the film could have benefited from a sustained dose of that irreverence from the get-go. There’s also a chase through the woods that is interminably long. The endgame for the main plot and arrival of a pivotal character isn’t played up enough in the first sixty minutes.  Yet that character’s arrival does send the rest of the film into a somewhat entertaining festival of death and carnage, but it’s too little too late. The ending wasn’t bad though and primes openly for a sequel.

Yep, Linda Blair’s still got it…

The Package

The look of this film is pretty ordinary at best in 1.78:1 and a lot of it is shrouded in a bit too much darkness at times with an occasionally blotchy transfer. Sound is fine in Dolby. There’s a commentary by director Rolfe Kanefsky, Shepis and producer Esther Goodstein, extended scenes, a still gallery, gag reel, an on-set video diary from Shepis and a 20-minute making-of. The omni-present Miss Horrorfest 2007 Contest webisodes round out the offerings.

4.2 out of 10