Nightmare Cinema is Mick Garris’ newest horror anthology movie featuring stories from a fantastic group of filmmakers. Included in the film are segments by directors Joe Dante, David Slade, Ryūhei Kitamura and Alejandro Brugués. Each one of their stories is unique and Mick Garris ties it all together directing the final story and the wraparound featuring the legendary Mickey Rourke. It’s a fun film that many horror and genre fans are going to enjoy.
The Thing in the Woods
The first segment of this anthology is directed by Argentinian filmmaker Alejandro Brugués. It’s a set up that plays with a lot of classic tropes die hard horror fans are especially going to enjoy. The Thing in the Woods starts off as a typical crazed killer versus a cabin in the woods full of teens, but then the gallows humor sets in. With a surprise reveal that’s out of this world, this one is a great start to the anthology and sets a tone that immediately establishes a good time.
Joe Dante’s part of the film Mirare is easily the most unsettling and disturbing of the bunch. The main hook of the wraparound story that starts off each subsequent movie shows us a couple on a date. When their story begins we follow a plot that is at times equal parts body horror and tomophobia. Richard Chamberlain of Dr. Kildare fame is the demented surgeon who operates and terrifies our main character in this dark and oddly absurd tale of horrifying cosmetic surgery.
Where the film is at it’s most kinetic and energized is obviously with cult director Ryūhei Kitamura’s segment Mashit. Shot primarily in the same church used in John Carpenter’s The Fog, this is a tale of demonic possession and Catholic set mayhem. So good that it had genre titan Brian Trenchard-Smith roaring with laughter during the screening, Mashit is a riot and one of the absolute biggest reasons to seek out seeing this movie in a packed theater.
This Way to Egress
With David Slade’s entry in Nightmare Cinema, the film turns a corner and becomes far more serious and truly nightmarish. The most singularly stylistic and dark of the lot, This Way to Egress feels like a bad dream on the way through Purgatory towards Hell. Characters shift shape and the world decays as our lead character played by Elizabeth Reaser tries to find out if she has something medically wrong with her. It’s the kind of nightmare scenario that feels all too real.
Mick Garris’ final entry in the film before we return to the main wrap story is actually the most emotionally heartfelt of all of them. It’s a tale of a young kid who loses his parents and finds himself in extreme danger while trying to recover in the hospital. The story dwells on many deep life and death themes, and while some parts and motives are left ambiguous the short as a whole is gripping. This entry is very well probably the best that could have been saved for last.
Recently we saw this at the Portland Horror Film Festival where the crowd loved it. Mick Garris joined the event to talk with the audience and everyone had a blast. Some of the questions focused on the extreme gore and violence of some parts of Nightmare Cinema, and the best thing he had to say was, “we had no cap on how much gore we could do, only decap!” Mick Garris was honored with a lifetime achievement award for his career and work, and there couldn’t have been a better time to award him then now when he’s still making entertaining movies for his fans.