The monster that a married woman imagines becomes a tad more real than anyone bargains for in horror specialist Rolfe Kanefsky's boobs n' scares trash horror outing, "Nightmare Man." If there were a 99 Cents Store for movies, cheapo pic -- designed more for lonely male geeks in their teens and above than the date crowd -- would fit nicely on the shelves.

The monster that a married woman imagines becomes a tad more real than anyone bargains for in horror specialist Rolfe Kanefsky’s boobs n’ scares trash horror outing, “Nightmare Man.” If there were a 99 Cents Store for movies, cheapo pic — designed more for lonely male geeks in their teens and above than the date crowd — would fit nicely on the shelves. Rather than screening as a midnight item, self-distribbed “flick” (as Kanefsky bills it in credits) is four-walling at Laemmle’s Sunset Five in Los Angeles starting Aug. 4 in hopes of a multi-city breakout prior to joining other profitable vid spooks.

After receiving an exotic mask decor item in a shipment, Ellen (Blythe Metz) is perpetually visited in her nightmares by a horned chap whose face resembles the demon-like mask. Convinced that she’s nuts, husband Bill (Luciano Szafir) decides to commit her to a mental hospital, but as he drives her through the woods, they run of out of gas. Ellen stays alone in the car as Bill treks to the nearest gas station, and, sure enough, Nightmare Man (Aaron Sherry) appears and attacks her.

A ridiculous fight in the woods ends up with them being near a cabin where Mia (Tiffany Shepis) is hosting pals Trinity (Hanna Putnam), Jack (James Ferris) and Ed (Jack Sway) for a bit of weekend truth or dare.

Final twist may be less predictable than what comes before, but it certainly gets to have it both ways by trading psychological for supernatural horror that’s no more or less credible than anything else in this silly programmer.

In a bow to ’60s and ’70s trash-o-ramas and to Troma pics, no gal appears onscreen very long before she gets (at least partially) naked, perfs are either absurdly stiff or over-the-top, and effects and makeup look like they were made in someone’s garage. Unlike pics of yore shot on film, Paul Deng’s digital lensing is dreadful during nighttime scenes — comprising about 95% of the running time.

Nightmare Man

Production

A Valkhn Films release and presentation in association with Paradigm Films. Produced by Rolfe Kanesky, Frederico Lapenda, Esther Goodstein, Victor Kanefsky. Executive producer, Alice Glenn. Directed, written by Rolfe Kanesky.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Paul Deng; editors, Victor Kanefsky, George Panos; music, Christopher Farrell; art director, Ann Nord; costume designer, Stacy Owens; makeup/hair, Hedvig Kacser; sound, Olivier Virmont ; supervising sound editors, George Panos, Roman Hankewycz; visual effects supervisor, Al Magliochetti; special effects supervisor, Chris Bergschneider; visual effects, Eye Candy; special effects makeup designer, Jeff Farley; stunt coordinator, Aaron Sherry; fight choreographer, Sherry; assistant director, Kirsten Wagner. Reviewed at Wilshire screening room, Beverly Hills, July 26, 2006. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

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