Nightmare Alley Movie Review
Written by TGM
DVD released by Brain Damage Films
Directed by Walter Ruether
Written by Walter Ruether and Laurence Holloway
74 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on August 10th, 2010
Walter Ruether as The Host
Geno Dellamorte as Biggs
Sean Magee as Possessed Man
Brian Carr as Lewis
Danny Marianino as Angry Husband
Dez K Daver as Closet Case
Vincent Bocchini as The Great Damone
Mykel Sane as The Ripper
Horror anthologies are usually a pretty safe bet. Sure, you may get an occasional stinker in the mix, but if you are patient enough the next vignette will usually be more to your liking. Not this time. Nightmare Alley is so putridly awful it's almost beyond words. I want you to picture a rabid Rottweiler suffering from tapeworms and bloody gastroenteritis sitting on your lap. Now picture this animal vomiting and shitting on you for 10 solid minutes (the average length of each story) only to be replaced by a nastier Rottweiler who was genetically engineered with the ability to spit acid into your face while simultaneously chewing off your balls.
As long as there is a glint of a decent story, I try not to slam no-budget independent horror movies for their standard flaws of questionable acting or low production values. Quality actors, new equipment, and use of decent set locations cost money. I get that. But guess what? IDEAS ARE FREE. Unfortunately none of the shorts in Nightmare Alley are inventive, scary, thrilling, funny, entertaining, or have any sort of decent hook or ending to them. It's as if a bunch of scattered stoners scribbled down a few random half-baked plot-lines on the back of a stained cocktail napkin right after spilling the bong water. Every idea is a good one when you're high, I guess.
Each lousy vignette is introduced by a ghetto version of the Crypt Keeper, who sits on a makeshift throne and fails miserably to interject some witty quips into the proceedings. But don't take my word, here's a brief synopsis of each vignette:
A Fistful of Innards: Three bumbling cowboys stumble upon a meteorite that almost immediately makes them sick. Greed takes over and one of the posse shoots the others so that he can keep the find for himself. His buddies quickly reanimate into zombies where they evidently go and wreck havoc on a third rate knockoff of Disney's Frontierland. Did I fail to mention that most of the action is implied? The End.
Rebellion: A long-haired redneck buys a rubber rat from a novelty shop that ultimately compels him to murder people. Eventually he is taken down by one of his intended victims, who then becomes possessed herself. The End.
Death Chat: After getting caught cheating on his wife with another woman, a loser goes trolling on the internet to get laid. His latest midnight rendezvous ends up costing him his life at the hands of the rotted corpse of a jilted lover. The End.
Meat: A trailer-trash chick meets a husky guy by the pool in her apartment complex. She takes him back to her place where they are confronted by her husband. During the confrontation she kills him with a frying pan, then serves the severed head to her new rotund paramour. The End.
Closet Case: A rockabilly hipster doofus gets hit on one too many times by an offensively homosexual stereotype at a bus stop. After a couple of unheeded warnings to stop, this Johnny Bravo wannabe murders the gay guy then starts pleasuring himself to a porno mag called The Man Hole. The End.
The Great Damone: A henpecked painter murders his wife and uses her blood and body parts as part of his artwork. When his latest creation offends an art dealer who proclaims that he "will never work in this town again!", he commits suicide and ends up burning in hell (which evidently means an eternity trapped in front of a poster of the devil while encased in a frame of awful CGI fire). The End.
Slash of the Blade: The ghost of Jack the Ripper comes back to indiscriminately murder slow moving dimwits in broad daylight on the sunny streets of suburban Arizona. The End.
The only way I would recommend Nightmare Alley to anyone is if they have just been told they have one day left to live, because it will make 74 minutes seem like an eternity.
Video, Audio and Special features:
As this was a screener, I won't comment too much on the audio and video other than the fact that Nightmare Alley touts something called "Grind-o-Scope", which is just a clever way of spinning the fact that they couldn't afford access to a widescreen high definition camera. No amount of fake grain or pseudo film scratches will satisfy true fans of legitimate Grindhouse style exploitation.