Written and Directed by: Bruce R. Cook
Starring: Jack Starrett, Elizabeth Kaitan, Alisha Das, Clayton Rohner, Artur Cybulski
and Brian Thompson.
Nightwish, Out of Control - Hungary/West Germany
Monstrous en la noche (Monsters at Night) - Spain
Nocne Życzenie (literally translates as Night Wish) - Poland
Sonhos de Horror (Dreams of Horror) - Brazil
I didn't really know what to expect going into this film. It had been taunting me on Netflix streaming for some time. Every time I sat down to watch a flick, I'd scroll by Nightwish and stop for a second or two, contemplating watching it....then I would think of something else that I had been meaning to watch and go on my merry way. Well, I've been under the weather for the past few days and pretty much laid up in bed. In between bouts of fever sleep, when I just couldn't force myself to sleep anymore, I'd fire up Netflix and it finally came time to give Nightwish a shot.
I'm not going to lie....this movie is a mess. It starts out like standard horror fare. A blonde is out at night alone. She comes across a man's shoe.....then a bloody shirt (I think.....it kinda looked like a torn shirt....but really, who cares), and then his severed hands. She is then spotted and chased by a cannibal/zombie/lunatic. She tries to give him the slip, but then runs into another one. They chase her to a building door and catch her. She screams as the people inside the building stare out the window at her. Turns out it was just a dream. There's a doctor and science students doing dream studies. Apparently the doctor wants them to "Project their own death" into their dreams. None of them can do it though because their "dreams get away from them and they lose control". Then the doctor proceeds to tell them that when he's finished with them, they won't be afraid of anything. Creepy, Doc.....real creepy. The students, Kim, Donna, Bill and Jack all seem like they're a bit old for college, but hey, what do I know.
Okay.....so this is gonna be like a killer dreams type of flick, eh? Okay cool! No wait....now they're in a van driven by a dude named Dean (Brian Thompson....you know....Kabal from Dr. Mordrid!) heading to a cabin to meet the doctor and help him with some parapsychological investigations. Parapsychological.....not sure if that's a word, but I'm gonna run with it. Makes me sounds smaht. Yep.....that H was on purpse.....I AM from Massachusetts after all. Which means I'm wicked pissah. Now that I've derailed my own review......
So they're at the cabin and weird shit starts to happen almost immediately. Turns out the good doctor and Bill rigged up the equipment to start going haywire to freak the others out. Apparently, this is some sort of "training" according to the doctor. But there was an ectoplasmic snake that wasn't part of the doc's bag of tricks. From here on out it starts getting really wonky. The doc sets up a seance in the basement with a pentagram and handcuffs everyone around the symbol. When things don't go quite like the doc wants, he stabs one of the kids, a weird bald guy comes up out of the sub basement level that works for the doctor.....and shit generally just falls apart.
Under penalty of death, the mad doc forces the three remaining kids to continue their paranormal investigations of the house. Donna manages to escape....sort of and discovers that The Doctor and Bill are friggin' aliens! Or maybe not....there's a lot of talk about the "entity" in the house causing people to hallucinate. It really starts turning into a "throw the kitchen sink at 'em" scenario. Aliens, Ghosts, Possessions, Dreams, Mad Doctors......it's all in here.....and it's all weird.
Now having said all of this, I'm not saying I didn't enjoy the film. This certainly is not for everyone. Those who really enjoy 80's B horror flicks will get a kick out of the bad acting and the gore effects. It may interest some as well, that there is a bit of a nifty twist at the end, which predates the likes of films such as Inception. If you've got 90 minutes to kill then you could do worse than Nightwish. Even better....invite some friends over to watch it with you.....some drinks and snacks would make this a hell of a Friday Night Flick!
Midnight Cinephile Totals:
Body Count: 8 + - In addition to the eight direct deaths that involve the immediate characters in the film, there are also the bodies of past victims that we see in the alien chamber beneath the house....not sure exactly how many bodies there were there. Of course then again, did anybody really die?
Skin Count: We get to see two sets of boobs in this one. First we get to see Elizabeth Kaitan in a soaking wet see through shirt (which she then takes off). Later we see her breasts again in a shear purple nighty....thing. We also see Alisha Das' breasts as she feels herself up during an alien fever dream.
Monster Count: There are a few different creatures in this one. There's the Ectoplasm Snake, There's an Evil Tornado, Aliens and you know what.fuck it...I'm going to count Stanley....The Doctors helper. He's not really a creature....but he is god damned ugly!
Despite it's flaws, there is much to like about Nightwish. Even though it never quite gels on a solid concept, it's that very same flaw that gives this flick some of it's strength. Whether it was intentional or not, Nightwish operates on a certain dream logic that makes little sense in the sunlight. But when the sun goes down and the moon comes up....I turn into a teenage Goo Goo Muck....and the film totally works. Plus it's got Elizabeth Kaitan in it....which makes it awesome no matter how wonky the plot is.
Three out of Five Pizza Rolls