Nightmares is a 1983 film with four tales of horror, starring Emilio Estevez and Lance Henriksen. The film is directed by T.V. veteran Joseph Sargent and began as a television project of four horror stories. The results were deemed too strong for the small screen. An opening scene was added and the project was instead shipped into theaters by Universal Pictures.
"Terror in Topanga"Edit
During a traffic stop at night, a cop is stabbed to death by someone leaping from the bushes. A killer is terrorizing a local California area and the TV and radio are reporting that the cop is his fifth victim.
After Lisa (Raines) puts her children to bed, she discovers that she's out of cigarettes. Her husband (Joe Lambie) forbids her to go to the store, but she sneaks out anyway and heads down the canyon.
Lisa gets the cigarettes and begins home only to realize that she's almost out of gas. All the gas stations appear to be closed. Finally, she stops at an out of the way station and out comes an attendant, who just happens to perfectly match the killer's (Lee Ving) description on the radio.
"Bishop of Battle"Edit
Young J.J. Cooney (Estevez) is a video game wizard and arcade game hustler with help from his bespectacled friend Zock (Billy Jayne).
After an argument about J.J.'s obsession with video games, they split up for the day, and J.J. goes into his local arcade to try again to beat The Bishop of Battle, a maddeningly difficult video game that features thirteen levels with everyone he knows having died on the twelfth. He repeatedly tries and fails to make it to the thirteenth level until the owner kicks him out at closing time.
J.J.'s parents, concerned about his grades in school, ground him until his courses improve. That night, he sneaks out and breaks into the arcade to finally finish the game. However, the game at the 13th Level comes alive with the enemies flying out. (Estevez went through a two-week gun training session with the NYPD to realistically perform his gun maneuvers for these scenes.) J.J. flees to the parking lot, but the Bishop of Battle appears drawing closer and closer to the terrified J.J. The scene cuts to the next morning, where his friends and family, see J.J.'s image on screen of the arcade machines for a few seconds before it turns into the player avatar and the short ends.
The computer game sequences in this segment were generated on an ACS1200 and cost so much that it nearly bankrupted production.
Lance Henriksen plays a priest serving at a small parish and is facing a crisis of faith brought on by the violent death of a young boy. He explains to his bishop (Plana) that he's lost his belief in the concepts of good and evil. He finally leaves the ministry and takes off across the desert in his car.
Out of no where he encounters a black Chevrolet 4x4. At first, it just cuts him off and takes off. However, it keeps reappearing, forcing him off the road and knocking off his bumper. This is no ordinary truck. With nowhere left to run the priest has no choice but to face this seemingly unstoppable entity.
"Night of the Rat"Edit
Claire (Cartwright) can hear the rats moving in the walls of her home but her husband Steven (Masur) ignores it.
Even though Steven assures Claire that he'll take care of the problem with a couple of rat traps in the attic, the disturbances get worse: things start falling off shelves, and the family cat disappears. Claire calls an exterminator (Albert Hague) who discovers that this rat has gnawed huge holes behind various cabinets and has also chewed on the power cables. Steven comes home, criticizes his wife, and tells the exterminator to leave.
Claire keeps consulting the exterminator and inevitably she and her family are forced into a showdown with a giant rat.
- Cristina Raines ... Lisa, The Wife (segment "Terror in Topanga")
- Anthony James ... Store Clerk (segment "Terror in Topanga")
- Lee Ving ... William Henry Glazier (segment "Terror in Topanga")
- Emilio Estevez ... J.J. Cooney (segment "Bishop of Battle")
- Louis Giambalvo ... Jerry Cooney (segment "Bishop of Battle")
- Moon Unit Zappa ... Pamela (segment "Bishop of Battle")
- Billy Jayne ... Zock Maxwell (segment "Bishop of Battle")
- James Tolkan ... voice of The Bishop of Battle (segment "Bishop of Battle")
- Lance Henriksen ... MacLeod (segment "The Benediction")
- Tony Plana ... Father Luis Del Amo (segment "The Benediction")
- Richard Masur ... Steven Houston (segment "Night of the Rat")
- Veronica Cartwright ... Clair Houston (segment "Night of the Rat")
- Bridgette Andersen ... Brooke Houston (segment "Night of the Rat")
- William Sanderson
In her review for the New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, "Nothing spoils a horror story faster than a stupid victim. And Nightmares, an anthology of four supposedly scary episodes, has plenty of those."