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Nightmare in Blood
Nightmare in Blood
Actors: Mark Anger, Justin Bishop, Dan Caldwell, John Cochran, Drew Eshelman
Genres: Comedy, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
R     2004     1hr 30min


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Movie Details

Actors: Mark Anger, Justin Bishop, Dan Caldwell, John Cochran, Drew Eshelman
Genres: Comedy, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 02/17/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A lot of fun!
(4 out of 5 stars)

"If you're a fan of classic and contemporary horror films, Nightmare in Blood (1978) can be a lot of fun. That's not to say this cheaply made feature is actually good, but it's clearly ambitious. Its creative team obviously tried making the best film they could given their inexperience and the project's budgetary limitations, and to its credit Nightmare in Blood has a respect for and understanding of its audience. The picture has a lot of good ideas (and a few bad ones), and is more polished than other horror movies with similarly low budgets.
The picture was apparently shot in and around the San Francisco-Oakland area over several years, from roughly 1973-75, and wasn't actually released until 1978. The story takes place at an old movie palace (filmed at the long-gone Fox Theater in Oakland), several days before a horror convention is to take place. As the convention committee -- writer Professor Seabrook (Dan Caldwell), pert ingenue Cindy (Barrie Youngfellow), and mystery fan Scotty (John Cochran) -- whip the theater into shape, the show's Guest of Honor arrives. He is movie vampire Malakai (Jerry Walter), a Hollywood eccentric who believes in living the part, right down to sleeping in a coffin and shooting his pictures only at night. In tow are Malakai's creepy publicists: B.B. (Ray K. Goman) and Harris (Hy Pyke). Not at all surprisingly, Malakai turns out to be a real, undead vampire. What's more, the Burke and Hare-like B.B. and Harris really are Burke and Hare, kept alive with Frankensteinian equipment smuggled into the theater's basement. As the trio arbitrarily begins choosing victims and draining their blood, and as our three heroes (joined by eccentric comic book dealer Gary) begin to unravel the mystery behind the killings, a Van Helsing-like vampire hunter Ben-Halik (Irving Israel) shows up to fill in the blanks and pass out stakes. The few who have written about this extremely obscure picture often refer to it as tongue-in-cheek, suggesting something similar to the campy monster movie segments in The House That Dripped Blood (1970) and The Uncanny (1977). Actually, Nightmare in Blood is much more along the lines of The Projectionist (1971) or My Lovely Monster (1990), movies made by movie buffs with a genuine affection for the horror/fantasy genre. The film has several interesting concepts, such as making Ben-Halik a Jew who had originally pursued Malakai as a Nazi-era war criminal; only later did he determine Malakai also happened to be a vampire. (In a grievous misstep though, the filmmakers use stock footage of real Holocaust victims being bulldozed into mass graves, an out-of-place image in Saturday matinee material like this.) The film abounds with references to both horror movies and their stars, from Lon Chaney to Christopher Lee, to comic books like Vault of Horror and Plop!. Indeed, there's even a nice scene that's practically a love poem to the influence of comic books. In the theater, there are posters hung everywhere worth pennies then and thousands now. (Oddly, one of these is for The Fighting Rats of Tobruk, a 1944 British war movie!) A major subplot involves a condescending local horror movie host, George Wilson (Morgan Upton), and a censorship advocate, Dr. Karl Unsworth (Justine Bishop), both shrewdly calculated to piss off the very audience that Nightmare in Blood was targeted at. Guess what happens to them? There are several movies within the movie, one of which offers a fleeting glimpse at a very young Kathleen Quinlan. The most prominent of these faux films though is "The Zaroff Doom," notable in that it features Kerwin Mathews battling Malakai but more obviously referencing Mathews's Sinbad persona. Watching his scenes (and how well Mathews aged), leaves one wishing the actor had continued in the Sinbad role through the 1970s Harryhausen pictures. As for Nightmare in Blood, the film is at once more polished than you'd expect yet still overwhelmingly cheap and generally routine in its horror elements. The film was shot in Techniscope, and cinematographers Kenn Davis (who co-wrote and co-produced) and Charles Rudnick manage some decent compositions, and the movie's score is pretty good for such a low budget film. Outside of Mathews and Quinlan, the cast consisted of local talent, many of whom had small parts in Hollywood productions filmed in the Bay Area, such as the Dirty Harry movies and the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The acting is uneven, with several performers shamelessly hammy, but most, yet again, are better than usual for such cheap films. Video & Audio Happily, Nightmare in Blood is presented here in its original Techniscope aspect ratio in a 16:9 anamorphic transfer. It appears a 35mm theatrical print was used, judging by the long scratches and missing frames here and there. Considering the obscurity of this title and that at its peak probably no more than a half-dozen prints were ever struck, one should be thankful the film exists at all. The mono soundtrack also seems derived from the same print source and is fair at best; there are no subtitles. Extras The DVD has a pretty nice selection of extras, several having nothing to do with the movie, but amusing in their own way. First and foremost is an audio commentary track, one of the most entertaining this reviewer has heard in a long while, featuring director/co-producer/co-writer John Stanley and the aforementioned Kenn Davis. In sharp contrast to the superficial big studio commentary, the pair are nostalgic but forthright about the problems they endured getting the picture made and distributed, saying up front that theirs is both a "how-to" and "how-not" to make such a picture. They offer up a lot of interesting tidbits, pointing out future director Fred Dekker (then 13 years old) as a mask-wearing extra, and how actor Jerry Walter went on to loop innumerable stormtrooper voices in Star Wars. Next is a nine-minute Interview with Leonard Maltin about his annual TV Movies and a seven minute interview with writer Richard P. Jewell (now an Associate Dean at the USC School of Cinema-Television) about his book The RKO Story. What does this have to do with Nightmare in Blood? Nothing, but director Stanley, for those not living in San Francisco during the late-1970s/early-1980s, also hosted a local horror movie show, Creature Features, from whence these segments are derived. Both pieces seem to date from about 1983, and both use scads of film clips that, despite their extremely poor quality, may inadvertently turn this DVD into a collector's item. Two other Creature Feature segments, one spoofing The Bad Seed the other, of all things, a Tae Kwon Do demonstration featuring an extremely nervous and dry-mouthed martial artist/instructor, will appeal only to nostalgic San Franciscans who want to remember the show. A photo gallery rounds out the batch."
Nightmare in Blood - sucks!
robert campbell | nice, ca United States | 04/12/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)

"What a terrible movie! It is funny that the film was about a convention in San Francisco when the movie was actually shot in Downtown Oakland at the Fox Oakland Theatre before the theatre was ravaged by a fire and the seats were torn out. Here it is 30 years later, the Fox Oakland is still there and vacant, (not gone as stated by another writer)and so is this movie! As a native from Oakland, and a projectionist for many years, the scene of the Avenue Theatre just brought back so many memories. Warren Lubich on the organ! It is now a church.I was an employee of the Fox Oakland. During the narration of the movie, it was stated that it felt like there was a spirit of somekind there. There is. Wierd, wierd, things used to happen in there. On each side of the stage there were two buddahs, holding pots. Dry ice would be dropped in it and it would explode with smoke. The right buddah used to light up all by itself and it had eyes that looked like it followed you everywhere. The left buddah would spout smoke when the mechanical device that ran it wasn't even connected. Pictures of the buddahs are at The curtains on the stage would close and reopen by itself. One time when the movie started and the curtains started to open, the screen started to move upward and eventually the movie was showing on the bare wall! The projectionist tried to stop it but couldn't cause there was no switch!. In the row of seats in front of the projection booth in the balcony, when you looked up you would see a old lady sitting there all by herself, she would look at you and smile and slowly disappear. Frances, the evening usher, saw her when the Fox was closing for the evening, she fainted. She quit the next day. When the Fox Oakland was ravaged by not one but two fires, the seats were removed. There was a pleasure faire there and several employees saw the old lady in the projection booth, scared the heck out of a lot of people. The Fox Oakland is under renovation - and is haunted, no doubt.The producers of this film picked a perfect place.When I first saw the film, it played at the York Theatre in San Francisco. A quarter of the people walked out. Sad, but true!"
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 02/19/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

""Nightmare in Blood" has a lot going for it but is hampered by a very low budget, amateurish production values and a very dark DVD print. It concerns a "Horrorcon"---horror film convention---in San Francisco where the guest of honor, vampire star Malakai, turns out to be the real thing. He's accompanied by the rejuvenated corpse snatchers Burke and Hare. They start conducting their rejuvination experiments in the basement of the theater where the convention is being held. Victims soon start being dissected and organs stolen. A Jewish vampire hunter is hot on Malakai's trail because Malakai was a disciple of Hitler! But the intrepid cast band together with the hunter to stop the carnage. And there is carnage. There's violence and gore and some of it appears to have been trimmed because there's a choppiness to it that gets annoying. Cast features Barrie Youngfellow (of the 70's sitcom "It's a Living") as Cindy and Kathleen Quinlan (billed as "Kathy") can be seen screaming in a brief scene. The film has lots of references to old horror films as well as clips and posters used as props. Much discussion about horror films' effects on society and children is used throughout as well. Overall, "Nightmare in Blood" is an odd, drive-in style film that suffers from some problems. The acting ranges from good to downright bad and I wish the print wasn't so dark. But some may like it and if you're curious it's worth a look. It has some interesting, if not entirely successful, points."