Friday, June 18, 2010

Nightmare Alley (2010)


Fear 0/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 1/5
Creepiness 0/5

For the most part, I enjoy horror anthologies. If you don't like a particular story, one is sure to come along and make your movie watching experience somewhat pleasurable (insert middle school sexual joke here___). And with a direct quote on the cover of the DVD of 'Now this is my kind of grossout' from schlock meister extraordinaire Herschell Gordon Lewis, you'd have to think that what you've found in your mailbox is something completely off the wall and entertaining.

The film starts off with a duo of heshers, recounting their concert going experience from the night before. A bum comes along and offers them the latest issue of the comic book Nightmare Alley in exchange for a smoke. When the bum gets too feisty with one of the friends and attacks him, the other takes off running (what a fantastic friend!). Our chicken shit friend soon stops and pulls up in front of a dumpster and starts thumbing through the newly acquired comic book. He sees whats about to transpire with his own person on the pages of the book and a pair of hands reach out of the top of the bin and rip off his head. Cue metal soundtrack and the beginning of our set of tales. Not a bad way to kick things off.


We are then introduced to a cloaked figure who looks like a cross between Svengoolie and The Cryptkeeper. He madly chuckles throughout the film and delivers such cheesy one liners as 'Now that's certainly not the way to get a head in life' after every segment. Instead of giving you a blow by blow recount of each one (because there are far too many here, in my opinion, for an anthology), I'll give you a CliffsNotes version of each:

- A group of thieving cowboys come across a meteor that's landed (the effects are silly here as it looks like a Super Mario Bros. pluck pluck fireball sailing through the air) that appears to be made of gold, one decides to take it for himself, shoots the others and they come back under the power of the meteor as zombies to exact revenge.

- A man buys a plastic rat despite warnings from the shop clerk of its satanic history, takes it home and months later we see him picking up women and using them as the possessed rat's source of soul sucking meals.


- A man who cheated on his wife, meets up with a woman that he met online at her home. A ghoulishly looking woman with an axe strikes him down and we come to find out about a 'tragedy' which occurred in the particular house not too long ago.

- A woman meets a man at her apartment complex pool, invites him in for some adult fun but it's not long before her boyfriend comes home. They argue and she knocks him out with a frying pan and doubles the cooking utensil as a means to bake the severed head of her boyfriend. And she calls the man she met and invites him over for dinner.

- A man dressed as Jack the Ripper pretty much just runs around, in broad daylight, killing people at will. And thats about it.


There are three more stories but honestly, I can't recall them as they weren't the least bit memorable. I'm surprised I recall as much as I did because after the 2nd story, this film got really really boring. There are one too many stories going on and as result, none of them have the effect that they are supposed to. Everything feels rushed through (with each story topping out at a max of about 10 min. each). And without any attention to characters or story, the overall film fails as a result. Nevermind the fact that there were continuity gaps that were much too hard to ignore.

The best part of the film was the appearance of one Danny Marianino. For those of you who may not know, the infamous Mr. Marianino served the legendary Danzig a beat down.

In the end, I just can't bring myself to recommend this. Even to the most diehard of horror fans. There just isn't enough here to make for a quality film and the lack of attention to detail (spelling errors in a story's epilogue, the continuity gaps, and more importantly, the telling of a quality story) is just too much to ignore. A shame, because with a quote from HGL (who I'm a huge fan of) and with a tagline of 'Terror Begins Where The Sidewalk Ends' (evoking images of Shel Silverstein and his creepy art), I really thought this film was going to deliver. If there had been a greater focus on tightening up the stories (or getting rid of some altogether), ensuring each one were of better quality, then I think the filmmakers would've had a hit on their hands.

No trailer for this one. Just take my word for it and stay away.

Cortez the Killer

HorrorBlips: vote it up!

24 comments:

Atroxion said...

I can tell, without having even watched this movie, that the last picture pretty much sums the whole film up.

Strange Kid said...

Its hard to trust indie labels nowadays... there are so many unforgivably bad titles out there that its hard to find the gems.

Thanks for saving me some time on this one, J.

Anonymous said...

The person who wrote this review, has no sense of humour, nightmare alley is very entertaining, this is why is has 3 awards and herschell gordon lewis liked it, i as a horror fan would take herschells word over some wanna be critic who doesnt have the patience to give respectable reviews and they say the support indie horror give me a break buy nightmare alley you wont be dissapointed.

Cortez The Killer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cortez The Killer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cortez The Killer said...

Hello 'Anonymous'. I do support indie horror, GOOD indie horror. There are plenty of instances on this blog where we've ripped something to shreds but equally, there are times where we've sung the highest praises for a particular film. If you had taken the time to check out our 'interviews' or 'support indie horror' page, you might have learned that instead of reading one particular review and spouting off. That's great that it's won awards and received recognition by the legendary Herschell Gordon Lewis. Those are amazing accomplishments in and of themselves.

And at the end of the day, its an OPINION. The production company reached out to me and I told them I would be honest in my review and I was. Good day.

Anonymous said...

your probably one of those guys who doesnt like anything unless it has a huge budget , i bet you couldnt even sit thru a black and white movie, if it doesnt have in your face f/x (god forbid you use your imagination) its crap right, i dont see how your supporting indie horror especialy if the producer reached out to you and sent you his film, you are telling people not to buy it , you should let us fans for our own opinion, theres nothing worse then when i read a review and am told not to buy it, i think for myself just cause you dont like something doesnt mean somebody else wont you dont know how to write reviews dude, and to answer comments on your own reviews is arrogant obviously you cant take what you dish out

Anonymous said...

heres the trailer it looks awesome?
http://www.emaximmedia.com/trailers/nightmare_alley.wmv

Cortez The Killer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cortez The Killer said...

That's laughable. Again, look at the pages on the site. I'm actually in Seattle right now, on my OWN dime, screening two indie films with probably similar budgets as Nightmare Alley and production values. In the end, its all about making a quality film. Which in my OPINION it was not.

I thought that's what reviews are supposed to do, tell you whether or not to see a film or buy a film? Since this doesn't appear to be on Netflix, how else are people going to see it? You're darn right I'm going to tell someone to not waste their hard earned dime on something that's not worthwhile. Again, its an OPINION. And I think its more insulting for you to assume that our readers can't make up their own mind. PLENTY of times people have vehemently opposed what we've written on this blog. Horror, afterall, is very subjective.

Thank you for posting a trailer though. I couldn't find one after multiple searches.

Strange Kid said...

Anonymous,

As a potential viewer, I took the time to watch the trailer and I must admit that it still did little to sway my "opinion" either.

I'm sure that whoever made it worked hard on this production with the resources available to them, but the result (at least according to the trailer) is just as awkwardly exploitative as Troll 2. There's no apparent coherency to the trailer that would make me even modestly interested as a viewer... as much I could tell it has something to do with cowboys, zombies and a large pervert rubbing his man nipples!

Perhaps if the film had taken a more tongue-in-cheek approach like Troma, then I could see watching it for a few laughs and gore. However, as is, it just looks cheap and confusing.

The Mike said...

Excellent review, good sir. Don't let the dissenters bring you down, us readers want the truth.

The Movie Morgue said...

Horror is subjective, on that point I will agree. I too have seen NIGHTMARE ALLEY and have reviewed at my blog THE MOVIE MORGUE. With all due respect I must say that the exact reasons that you stated in your review as reasons for not liking it were the reasons I reccommend the film. As a reader of your blog I do appreciate your support of the "indie" genre of horror because frankly the best horror films have always come out of the independent market. The reason for my positive review of "Nightmare Alley" is because, though the film is trashy, (and lets be honest here), quite silly, I felt that a love of horror films, flim-making, and an attempt at genuine creativity shined through. I didn't take your review as all bad however becasue we both feel that the film could have benefited from a higher budget and tighter construction. I do however give the film-makers credit for getting out there and trying.
-Morbid Marc at THE MOVIE MORGUE

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is if a film entertains its a good film, and nightmare alley does just that. i find it funny that a website moderator argues with his readers how funny.

Anonymous said...

you said it since it doesnt appear to be on netflix, i thought this was indie horror whay should it be on netflix, my point exactly , this movie will be on netflix when its released! but since in your opinion it isnt means what??? im done with this blog.

The Mike said...

Anonymous dude, what do you expect? Come to a blog and leave a comment, it's possible that the blog's owner will respond to you. Just because someone doesn't give a movie you liked a favorable review, you have to be a dink about it. And your last comment clearly states you lack an ability to comprehend the English language, considering PoT never said his opinion was that the film wasn't on Netflix.

Welcome to your first day on the internet, where stuff like this happens. Chill out, dude.

Anonymous said...

Damn that other "annonymous" poster is acting like he was the director or involved with the production and th bad write up was the same as if you butt raped his brainchild.

Cortez The Killer said...

Morbid Marc, thank you for respectfully stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I appreciate an opposing viewpoint.

Mike N said...

Wow. Just wanted to shout out that Mr. Cortez here is doing a hell of a job. I am an indie filmmaker and my work has been reviewed on several blogs including this one. I have gotten good reviews, bad reviews, and even terrible reviews for our film Summer School, but the way I saw it was that any publicity was good publicity. If you can't stand to see your film getting ripped apart by someone and their opinion, you shouldn't be making movies. And if it isn't your film and you are seriously that passionate about it, explain why you disagree. Don't act like a child and say bad things about the reviewer. Grow up and explain why you disagree with the review. In the words of the great Richard Roma, "...you fuckin child." James took our film out to Seattle this weekend, a Very VERY low low no budget movie that we pulled together out of nothing and screened it and promoted it for us. And for what? We didn't pay him. We didn't even ask the guy to go out there! He wanted to! And the only reason I can imagine that he would do that is because he supports indie horror.
"Fuckin child..." (:

Complaint Dept said...

Dear anonymous guy - I see your points. You are right. Very interesting. Hmm. Yes. I apologize. You are very smart. I hope all is going well for you in the UK. Sorry your football team is so awful. You are handsome.

- Complaint Dept.

Anonymous said...

everybody chill annonymous guy isnt the person who made this film, the person who made this film, he laughs at these reviews of course he gets the joke and he know his movies suck, he doesnt care...

Dutch said...

right any publicity is good publicity and somebody stirred up a bunch of shit over this movie? to cortez after reading about your efforts in seattle , i think your a swell guy and its proof you do infact support indie horror no problem here! also summer school was cool i saw it. being a freind of the filmaker of this movie i know he doesnt let bad reviews bother him, its probably the pr people, who will most likely be fired after this fiasco. we support indie horror and planetofterror. and on behalf of the filmakers we apologize, thanks for reviewing our film.

Cortez The Killer said...

Jesus Christ, post a fake name or something. But presumably its anonymous #3: no one said the first ass clown was the director or anyone involved with the making of the film. I was responding to him simply as a dimwitted person who had no idea what the hell he was talking about.

@Dutch, thank you for stopping by. If its truly the PR people, yeah, talk about money NOT well spent.

Anyways, thanks for the apology. I really do wish you all the best of luck in the future.

Rev. Phantom said...

I just watched this one myself and it is every bit a awful as you claim. Way to stick to your guns.