Search - The American Nightmare - A Celebration of Films from Hollywood's Golden Age of Fright on DVD

The American Nightmare - A Celebration of Films from Hollywood's Golden Age of Fright
The American Nightmare - A Celebration of Films from Hollywood's Golden Age of Fright
Actors: John Carpenter, Carol J. Clover, Wes Craven, David Cronenberg, Tom Gunning
Director: Adam Simon
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Documentary
NR     2004     1hr 13min

Disfigured knife-wielding murderers. Buxom teens fleeing for their lives through dark woods. Hordes of the undead limping along deserted streets. These images, now synonymous with horror movies, were born in the groundbr...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: John Carpenter, Carol J. Clover, Wes Craven, David Cronenberg, Tom Gunning
Director: Adam Simon
Creators: Immo Horn, Adam Simon, Paul Carlin, Caroline Kaplan, Colin MacCabe, Eliza Mellor, Jonathan Sehring, Paula Jalfon
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, History, Vietnam War, Film History & Film Making, Film History & Film Making
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 03/30/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 13min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Insightful, Respectful Documentary
L. E. Pearlman | New York, NY | 08/25/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"A well directed, informative documentary that explains the links between horror films of the late sixties and seventies and the social changes going on in the United States at the same time. This documentary serves as a great companion to David J. Skal's book "The Monster Show" and other essays that tackle horror movies from a more sociological standpoint. One cannot ignore what was going on in the world at the time their favorite film was made. Even with escapist fare, the social and political goings on of the era often trickle into horror movies in the most surprising of ways as this doc shows. I've always been a fan of George Romero's Zombie movies, but was even more impressed with the way this doc dealt with Wes Craven's "Last House on the Left" and David Cronenberg's "Shivers", two movies that I've found in the past to be pretty unredeemable. Hearing the filmmakers discuss their motivations for these two movies helped me understand them better and made me want to give them another look! My only complaint with this movie was that it was not longer. I think that the film makers could have expanded on their thesis and covered more ground. I would love to see a sequel documentary that deals with the slashers of the later seventies like "Friday the 13th" and the arrival of the more psychological and fantasy oriented "Nightmare on Elm Street" series that came on the scene in the eighties and how they were linked to their respective decades."
Interesting Documentary Of Films From The Golden Age of Frig
Amy Lynn | Pennsylvania United States | 02/14/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a documentary about horror films and their impact on the world between 1968-1979. We get to hear the points of views of the directors of some of the most frightening classic horror films ever made. IFC interviews Tobe Hooper, John Carpenter, David Cronenburg, John Landis, Wes Craven, George Romero and more. We get an in depth look at the politics and upheaval of the 60's and 70's and how they influenced everyones life and the horror genre.

The DVD contains clips from events in history such as the Vietnam War, assasinations of some of the most prominent figures in America, clips from classic horror movies and discussions on what horror is about and why we go to see these films. The directors discuss some of their inspirations for the films, what scared them as a child and the horrors of the real world. Theres many striking and powerful images in this documentary, both real and fiction.

In a way it reminds you reality can be just as frightening as fiction, the real events that happen can be compared to the horror films, just with a diffrent face. Some of these events do happen in real life, yet we dare to face them, facing it gives you the illusion of control or knowing and that is the first step. Confronting it. And you can even examine what parts frighten you and what parts you enjoy and ask yourself why?

Professor Tom Gunning's words- Why do you go to see a horror film? some compare it to a roller coaster ride, theres a desire in a funny way for stimulus, we sometimes get disatisfied with that protection and we want it to be pierced.

Director Adam Simon left out some important horror/thriller films of the 70's like The Exorcist, Jaws, Carrie etc.. But i assume the movies he covered were some of his personal favorites. The ones he covered were enough to satisfy but i would have liked to have seen more films discussed.

Very good documentary and Highly recomended."
The best doc on horror movies, ever!
joe vanderhooven | Truth or Consequences, NM | 04/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"a beautiful documentary that treats these horror films with the respect they deserve" dawn of the dead, shivers, halloween, last house on the left, texas chainsaw combines interviews with the directors, tom savini, and several film scholars; as they all describe how the films were actual unconscious reflections of the times. combined with the beautiful music of "godspeed you black emperor," this film gives overdue creedence and social justification to these films.and, i have to say, the ending of shot of the leatherface dance, combined with music from "godspeed" is one of the most beautiful pieces of film i've ever seen!"
A truly superb ode to the golden age of horror.
pizowell | 02/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This documentary is an absolute treasure for any true horror film buff. Containing insightful interviews from film philosophers and sociologists analyzing the films and the circumstances and reflections of the times in which they were made along with detailed and compelling interviews with such pioneering genre filmmakers as Tobe Hooper, Wes Craven, David Cronenberg, George A. Romero, John Carpenter and others. The interview with special effects master Tom Savini in which he recalls gruesome images from his tour in Vietnam is riveting, adding to the overall bleakness of the piece. Fascinating, thoughtful, chilling and ultimately unforgettable. I applaud director Adam Simon for assembling the components to pull off this highly analytical serenade to the most profound and influential horror films and filmmakers and his ability to do so with integrity and intelligence and an obvious love for the genre. Extra kudos for the Godspeed You Black Emperor soundtrack. Brilliant."