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Nightmares In A Damaged Brain
cast: Baird Stafford, Sharon Smith, C.J. Cook, Mik Cribben, and Kathleen Ferguson

director: Romano Scavolini

97 minutes (18) 1981
widescreen ratio 16:9
Prism Leisure DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 1/10
reviewed by Martin Drury
George is an escaped mental patient. He spends his days dreaming of people being murdered in horrific circumstances. In his dreams, people are attacked with an axe. One day, George's dreams come true. This is the film that gore wrote and taste and decency forgot. It's certainly not for the faint of heart and you need a strong stomach to comprehend the plot yet alone survive the blood drizzled scenes of the aftermath of a visit from a homicidal maniac. The military even make an appearance in the form of a subplot that sees the cure for homicidal lunatics apparently being used to help in the fight against the enemy. Or, in America's case, the enemy which never existed...

This version of the film has been censored and true hardcore fans are already debating the pros and cons of sanitising the film to such a degree in order to provide an alternative to the uncut version. It's not as if the censored version saves grace. You're still treated to mind-boggling special effects where the blood pumps and the flesh parts as a blade of cold steel slices clean through meat, bone and puss. Nightmares In A Damaged Brain (aka: Nightmare) is both an guaranteed appetite suppressor and an apt description of what was going on inside the director's head when he composed this mess of a movie.

The Scream movie franchise represents the pastiche of the 'slasher' film. Nightmares In A Damaged Brain is simply an addition to the 'splatter' school of celluloid. Here, you're not supposed to marvel at the acting, gaze at the scenery or even laugh at the in-jokes that provide such succour to comedy buffs in the Scream series or the Scary Movie franchise. In this movie, you're just meant to see the blood, and clap. Clap quite loudly as you watch someone's head being split open by an axe. Laugh with joy and contented glee as more and more people, one after one, get killed in the most brutal fashion possible. In other words, you're meant to enjoy being horrified, as if life and death were nothing but a spectacle to savour in an unreality where consequence and remorse were nothing more than foreign, imported sounding concepts. There's no suspense. You're not on the edge of your seat. In fact, you've got your head down the toilet because the sight of so much blood, flesh and bone has given you the excuse you needed to remove yesterday's dinner from your digestive system.

None of the stars of this movie produce performances that are worth noting and indeed, appreciation of the actors does not form the driving force behind the piece. It's a splatter romp that never quite manages to live up to audience approval or its own expectations. Nightmares In A Damaged Brain is a film to avoid, even if you are a devotee of the genre. If you want to glimpse the aftermath of someone brutally murdering their wife and kids, chances are these days that you could just simply watch the news and hear a raucous debate about the issues of family life. The film has no purpose. Refuse to offer it any appreciation.
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