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Nightmare

UK 1964
produced by
Jimmy Sangster for Hammer
directed by Freddie Francis
starring David Knight, Moira Redmond, Jennie Linden, Brenda Bruce, George A.Cooper, Clytie Jessop, John Welsh, Timothy Bateson, Elizabeth Dear, Isla Cameron, Julie Samuel, Hedger Wallace
written by Jimmy Sangster, music by Don Banks, music supervisor: John Hollingsworth

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Janet (Jennie Linden) is having nightmares bad enough that she is sent home from boarding school, accompanied by her sympathetic teacher Ms Lewis (Brenda Bruce). At Janet's home, Ms Lewis learns about Janet's background: She is the offspring of rich parents, but one fine day - Janet's eleventh birthday actually -, her mum (Isla Cameron) went nuts and stabbed her dad, right in front of the girl's eyes. Naturally, mum was committed to an asylum immediately afterwards, and now Janet lives with John (George A.Cooper) and Mrs Gibbs (Irene Richmond), the caretakers of her parents' estate, with her parents' lawyer Henry (David Knight) - whom she has a secret crush on - acting as her guardian. And then there's Grace (Moira Redmond), whom Henry claims he has hired as a companion for the girl, but she's really a nurse ... because you see, of late, Janet thinks she's going crazy, just like her mum ...

Soon enough, Janet thinks she is seeing things, like a woman in white (Clytie Jessop) suddenly showing up in her room and luring her to her parents' old room, where the woman in white suddenly pops up dead, stabbed just like Janet's father ... which is driving Janet more and more over the edge ... until, on her seventeenth birthday, Janet receives a cake just like the one she got to her eleventh, a cakeknife like the one her mum has used on her dad is in place too, and Henry introduces his wife, whom Janet has never seen before, to her - and she is the woman in white from her hallucinations ... upon which Janet grabs a knife and stabs Henry's wife dead, and in front of many witnesses too. There's no doubt about it now, Janet is mad as a hatter ... and she's committed to a mental institution immediately.

... but of course (as always in these films), Janet isn't really mad, it was all just a ploy of Henry and Grace to get rid of his wife and get their hands on Janet's fortune, in what you might call a perfect crime ... but is it ?

Soon enough, Grace gathers more and more evidence that Henry is cheating on her, but nothing definite, and he's denying it, too (but then again, he would ...), plus she doesn't feel at all comfy living in Janet's old house, but Henry wouldn't have it any other way ... and soon enough, Janet herself starts seeing things, like people moving through the house and stuff, and soon enough, she thinks that Henry is playing the same trick on her he played on Janet ... until she learns that Janet has actually broken out of the asylum - which drives her so over the edge that she at one point stabs Henry, with plans of blaming it all on escaped Janet ... until she learns that Janet hasn't escaped at all but is getting better by the hour, and everything was just an elaborate ploy by Ms Lewis, John and Mrs Gibbs, who all loved and cared for Janet, to have Henry and Grace pay for what they did to the young girl - and the plan was a total success ...

 

On a script-level, Nightmare, obviously inspired by Henri-Georges Clouzot's 1955 classic Les Diaboliques, could be described as a small desaster: It's over-convoluted, it's utterly unbelievable, it's totally predictable, and it's not really thought through all that well. That said though, Nightmare still turns out to be a quite enjoyable film, it's competently crafted, it's totally atmospheric, it's full of tension and suspense, and it's very well-acted. So yes, it's a completely watchable film, just don't think about the plot too much ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
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Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD