Ahhhhh the 1980s. A decade that gave us the coolness of Judd Nelson and then balanced things out by forcing us to endure performances from Emilio Estevez (who stars in this). A decade that allowed Veronica Cartwright (who also stars in this) to perfect her acting style in the manner of the most annoying female onscreen in any movie she starred in. A decade that gave us the brilliance of Creepshow and the mundanity of anthology horrors like this one.
Featuring four tales of descending quality, Nightmares is a pretty poor film that's probably more fondly remembered than it ought to be by horror fans who haven't seen it in many years.
The first story is all about an escaped killer and will be familiar to anyone who knows their urban legends (in fact, it's a horror staple that was reused in Body Bags, a poor anthology movie that still manages to be better than this one, and Urban Legend). The second story combines the best of the 1980s - "cutting-edge" computer graphics and Emilio Estevez (he plays an arcade whizz determined to beat the newest and hottest game). Did I say the best of the 1980s? I meant the worst. Story three uses Lance Henriksen very poorly, giving him an ineffective role in an ineffective rip-off of Duel. But, never fear, the very worst has been saved for the very last tale - "Night Of The Rat" is, off the top of my head, one of the worst anthology movie segments that I have ever had the displeasure of watching. It's about a big rat, in case you couldn't guess, and is the one with Veronica Cartwright being weak and whiny and generally unpleasant while Richard Masur has to play the most pig-headed husband for just long enough for viewers to start rooting for the big rat.
Written by Christopher Crowe and Jeffrey Bloom, Nightmares suffers from poor material that's not lifted up by a weak cast and then hampered further by the direction from Joseph Sargent. You may remember Joseph Sargent as the director of The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three or you may remember him as the director of Jaws: The Revenge. This film is certainly closer to the latter than the former.
Sometimes laughable, but more often than not just pretty boring, this is one anthology movie that you can easily miss. Settle down and watch some old episodes of Tales From The Crypt instead. Much better.
If you really MUST give it a viewing then ignore the link below for the extortionatel priced retail copies and just go and view it on YouTube instead. It's there and if you're watching it for free then you might just feel that you got your money's worth.