Caught up in the UK’s video nasties saga of the early 80s and therefore getting a notorious reputation to boot, Nightmares In A Damaged Brain is a gore-soaked opus.

It is also confusing, illogical, very slow in places and, to be totally blunt, too damn nasty to be enjoyable.

Now anyone that knows me knows that usually the nastier the better as far as I am concerned, but Nightmares is just something else.

It also doesn’t really make any sense and the chucked together ‘twist’ ending just doesn’t work.

The focus of the film is George Tatum (played by Baird Stafford), a psychotic who is undergoing therapy via some experimental drugs.

George endures bloody nightmares on seemingly a nightly basis (very bloody it has to be said) – nightmares that often leave him writhing, foaming at the mouth.

They all seemed linked to a trauma from his childhood – a trauma the makers think will prove a mystery to the viewer, even though it is blindingly obvious.

Anyhow, George somehow finds himself back on the streets and sets about heading back to his old house.

Living there now is a new family, complete with an annoying youngster, CJ.

CJ is the type of kid who only really exists in movies – constantly playing pranks, a big fan or horror make-up etc – think Corey Feldman in Friday the 13th Pt.4 etc.

CJ’s antics allow director Romano Scavolini to throw in a few false scares, alongside the legit ones as George naturally carves up a few people on the way.

On his trail are a handful of the most bungling, ineffective psychologists you are likely to see on film, who pop up every now and then to explain a few plot points.

It all builds to a climax at the house where we do at least get a resolution – even if it doesn’t really make sense.

To be honest, I doubt anyone sitting through this did so for the storyline and if you did, then more fool you.

Obviously it is all about the gore (that’s why I bought the DVD after all) and you have to say those scenes (overseen by fx legend Tom Savini) are done extremely well.

We get decapitations, hammers through arms, neck-slitting, shootings and gallons of blood flowing.

Hardly surprising then, when these gore scenes were edited together for parliament that the country’s MPs got into such a lather back in the day.

The acting is unsurprisingly nothing of note, although it must be said Stafford’s hysteria is something to behold.

Scavolini’s direction is sluggish, with long stretches of the film passing by at a snail’s pace.

There is also a hefty amount of nudity, mainly of the female variety of course, which also proves a bit tiresome after a while.

Virtually impossible to recommend, Nightmares In A Damaged Brain has little going for it other than the effects – so only go near this is you need a 80s gore fix.


About The Author

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Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle