Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue (2009)

nightmares in red white and blue the evolution of the american horror film poster 2009 movie documentary
7.5 Overall Score

Nice collection of movies and some smart observations

Narration is a bit too flowery and pompous

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue:  The Evolution of the American Horror Film

Studio:  Lux Digital Pictures, Inc.

Genre(s):  Documentary/Horror

Release Date(s):  March 20, 2009 (Cannes Film Market)

MPAA Rating:  Unrated


George A. Romero stops in

The fascination of bringing horror to the screen started with Thomas Edison’s version of Frankenstein.  Over the years, the ideas have changed and styles have altered, but horror films continue to be one of the most money making genres that hit the big screen.  Here, the directors and creators of some of the biggest horror films explore the reasons behind horror’s continued success.

Directed by Andrew Monument, Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue (full title is Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue:  The Evolution of the American Horror Film) was narrated by Lance Henriksen and received mostly positive reviews.


They Live…making a horror documentary appearance

The movie follows early horror to the modern day explores the evolution through social events, improvements in film technology, and changes in storytelling.  It contains interviews with popular horror directors, writers, and producers like Joe Dante, John Carpenter, Mick Garris, Darren Lynn Bousman, Tom McLoughlin, George A. Romero, Brian Yuzna, and Roger Corman.  They discuss their films and how other films affected their work and reflected society.

Like many documentaries (especially film documentaries), it feels a little pompous with flowery and self-important dialogue tied to sometimes good, sometimes awful films.  The attempts to tie the relevance of films to society aren’t always great.  George A. Romero sometimes says he was making a social statement with the casting of an African-American for his lead in Night of the Living Dead and sometimes he says he just casts the best actor…I don’t know you can have it both ways and often this style of documentary does attempt to glamorize filming decisions that often weren’t considered.


John Carpenter is there to talk about all “Things” horror

Many times, like in this film and the previous documentary film Terror in the Aisles, it just feels like a clip film with the “best of horror” being the subject.  That being said, the movie does have a good amount of clips and it is fun to see the films it touches on.  Having seen most of the subject films, it is interesting what films they choose to highlight and what films are forgotten.  Some of the interviews and discussions just make you want to watch the movies and not see the documentary.

Compared to something like Terror in the Aisles, this film does feel deeper and more involved despite overdone narration.  The movie is fun for horror fans and fun for those who might just be looking for new movies to check out and see.  Documentaries on film are one of the toughest films to find a good balance, Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue:  The Evolution of the American Horror Film is a good attempt that doesn’t quite find the balance.

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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