Nightmare Cinema (2018)

nightmare cinema poster 2018 movie
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

Love horror anthologies

Not the strongest horror anthology

Movie Info

Movie Name: Nightmare Cinema

Studio: Cinelou Films

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s):  July 12, 2018 (Fantasia Film Festival)/June 21, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

nightmare cinema projectionist mickey rourke

Step into my theater

In a strange theater off the beaten path, five strangers are about the meet their fate.  At the hands of the projectionist (Mickey Rourke), they are going to see into their lives and the dangers they are about to experience.  Be it a survivor of a slasher who is attempting survive a weekend in the woods, a woman (Zarah Mahler) debating plastic surgery for a childhood injury, a Catholic school ravaged by a demon named Mashit, a woman (Elizabeth Reaser) trapped in a world of decay, or a protégé pianist (Faly Rakotohavana) who is facing the darkest of fates, the theater will show the truth in their actions…and the horror that will follow.

Directed by Alejandro Brugués, Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Ryūhei Kitamura, and David Slade, Nightmare Cinema is a horror anthology film.  Originally released at the Fantasia International Film Festival, the film received a limited release.

I love horror anthologies.  Creepshow and Night Gallery were early introductions to “horror” and I always love attempts to recreate the ideas and themes of the movies.  Nightmare Theater is another try to find that spark of short tales of horror, and like many tales, it finds success on occasion and fails at other points.

nightmare cinema the thing in the woods

“The Thing in the Woods”

“The Thing in the Woods”

Threatened by the Welder, campers fight for survival…but the truth is scarier than fiction.  I like the post-modern approach of this story (aka the slasher is the one in right and killing the campers is a good thing).  The story is a good way to kick off the movie and shows a different take on the classic horror story.  Unfortunately, most of the other stories in the movie don’t take this approach and feel like rather basic anthology entries.  A post-modern slasher story, the movie combines elements of movies like Friday the 13th and Halloween with an alien invasion.  The film “flips the switch” about halfway through and the people who the audience are rooting for are actually the villains being possessed by space spiders.  The movie’s concepts and ideas are very valid and I almost wish that it had been a feature film.

nightmare cinema mirari zarah mahler plastic surgery



A woman (Zarah Mahler) finds herself pressured into plastic surgery which turns into a horror story in line with Tales from the Crypt episodes.  Unlike a Tales from the Crypt story, the woman isn’t at fault.  She’s insecure but she’s not vain and the outside encouragement for the surgery is by her fiancé (Mark Grossman) and the fact she falls victim to the surgeon (Richard Chamberlain) and the man she trusts is rather tragic.  It is a tale where the innocent pay and that leaves a bit of sour taste in the mouth of jaded horror viewers where the guilty are usually the victims.

nightmare cinema mashit demon kids



A demon is spreading amongst the school children of a Catholic school.  A nun (Mariela Garriga) and the priest (Maurice Benard) could be the only means to stop the spread…but the evil is great and humans have faults. The story is probably the most gruesome of the stories in the movie and hard core.  It is simple, and I do like the no-holds-bar style of the movie, but it ends as you kind of expect it.

nightmare cinema this way to egress monsters

“This Way to Egress”

“This Way to Egress”

A woman (Elizabeth Reaser) finds herself trapped in a world of rot and horror…and everyone seems to be lying to her.  Though this black-and-white entry is one of the simpler stories of the film, I find that the story is a bit more developed than some of the other segment.  The film is about depression and fear, and Helen is sinking deeper and deeper into the mire of her surroundings.  The decay and rot feels like a combination of what someone suffering from depression feels in a real world setting and the horror is natural.  Though it is a basic story, it feels like one of the more developed tales of the movie.

nightmare cinema dead faly rakotohavana



A piano prodigy (Faly Rakotohavana) has his parents killed in front of him and finds his own injuries allow him to bridge the gap between the living and the dead.  Once again, the story feels a bit underdeveloped.  The story could have been a whole movie and feels a bit rushed in this format.  The acting is so-so, and some of the effects are pretty cheesy, but the basic ideas of the story are solid…it just isn’t executed well.

Nightmare Cinema isn’t the best outing for a horror anthology.  Usually with an anthology, you hope for at least fifty percent of the stories to be really compelling and it is about forty percent here.  It isn’t a bad movie, but it is extremely average and Mickey Rourke as the projectionist was criminally underused.  If Nightmare Cinema had been a limited series TV show on something like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Shudder, or Amazon with a half-an-hour devoted to each story, it probably would have been a good film…but here, the movie just doesn’t reach the level it needs to.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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