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Haunted Sideshow

Dustin Putman

Nightmare Weekend  (1986)

Reviewed for by Dustin Putman

The Film
1.5 Stars
(Release Date: September 22, 2015) – Filmed in Ocala, Florida, with a predominately French crew and American actors, "Nightmare Weekend" is an unapologetically trashy oddity straight out of 1986. Director Henri Sala (credited here as H. Sala) brings a quirky international flavor to an already bizarre, frequently inscrutable script, adding a liberal dose of soft-core sex and nudity in between bouts of violence and gore effects.

The premise is not to be believed or fully understood, but here goes. Three wayward college gals on spring break are invited to stay on the property of brilliant scientist Edward Brake (Wellington Meffert), who has created a computerized behavior modification program. When his colleague, Julie Clingstone (Debbie Laster), takes control of it, she sends strange silver spheres to penetrate the girls and transform them into neuropathic mutants. Now no one is safe, and only Brake's teenage daughter Jessica (Debra Hunter) and new boyfriend Ken (Dale Midkiff) can stop Julie's maniacal reign of terror.

"Nightmare Weekend" is the kind of movie where the viewer can kinda-sorta follow the general outline of what is going on even if fully understanding it is a lost cause. The insatiably libidinous characters think nothing of having sex in the back of limos and on top of pinball machines as friends and strangers nonchalantly watch them and a weird guy off to the side sways to music. In glorious mid-'80s fashion, Jessica travels by way of roller skates while jamming out to her Walkman. Her most trusted companion is a mischievous hand puppet named George who controls her bedroom computer and sets evil deeds into motion. The deadly spheres which attack the girls and their one-day, one-night and one-anytime stands are right out of 1979's "Phantasm." Toss in aerobics classes, killer Dobermans, a cheesy pop ballad called "Nightmare Fantasy," obvious voice dubbing despite everyone clearly speaking English, and priceless lines like, "You're quantity and I'm quality," and, "You may look innocent but you're a slut, just like your mother," and what we have is one of the strangest, funniest, most inane horror films from the VHS era.

Blu-ray Picture/Sound

The 1080p transfer of Nightmare Weekend" was restored in 2K from the 35mm internegative. A low-low-budget film such as this has no reason to look as impressive as it does. The print appears to be in very good shape. Grain levels are on the thicker side (this is to be expected), while colors appear to be natural. An early scene set at an aerobics studio has a slight pulsation to its image, but clears up quickly. Detail and clarity receive an enormous uptick from previous editions; if you haven't seen this movie since the days of VHS, this Blu-ray presentation is like watching a different picture altogether. It is also uncut rather than the previously released R-rated version—a big bonus. As for the 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio, faint cracks and pops can be heard during the rare silent moments, but otherwise this audio track sounds far better than expected. This is a robust presentation with terrific fidelity, an authentic rendering of the music score, and intelligible dialogue.

Blu-ray Features
  • "Thank God It's Monday: Surviving Nightmare Weekend with Dean Gates" Featurette (22:54, HD)
  • "Killer Weekend: An Interview with Marc Gottlieb" Featurette (12:50, HD)
  • Alternate 'R-Rated' Edits (7:47, HD)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (2:26, HD)
Bottom Line
"Nightmare Weekend" is certifiably insane. By conventional movie standards, it's difficult to call it "good," but for a certain bad-movie connoisseur who loves crazy plots, awkward dubbing, plenty of sex and gruesome make-up effects, and a whole lot of unintentional camp, Vinegar Syndrome's uncut, 2K-remastered Blu-ray is rapturously recommendable. If this sounds like something you're interested in (and you know who you are), do not hesitate to pick up this quality high-def release.

Buy Online from Vinegar Syndrome

© 2015 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman

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