Brain Damage Films officially broke Judge Ike Oden, mentally, spiritually, and...well, mentally.
Our review of Nightmare Alley (1947), published July 25th, 2005, is also available.
"Shut the holy f—k up, you tramp!"
A pair of trashy hipsters are cornered by a hobo, who gives one a comic book called Nightmare Alley and knifes the other. Hipster #1 escapes and reads the comic, only to be decapitated…just like the guy in the comic! None of this has anything to do with the rest of the movie, wherein a bad Crypt Keeper knockoff introduces an anthology of horror tales involving demon possessed toy rats, zombie cowboys, serial killing dweebs and vengeful witches.
There are not enough drugs and alcohol in the world to make Nightmare Alley a tolerable viewing experience. I knew this before going in—after all, it is a Brain Damage Films release. If you aren't familiar with Brain Damage Films, think a poor man's version of Troma but without all the polish and intellect audiences have come to expect with the brand (think about that real hard).
Let me make this real clear: Nightmare Alley is not a movie in any real sense. I liken it more to a porn film, without the sex, nudity, narrative depth, acting, and sense of direction. I don't want to get into any specifics here, so imagine the worst porn you've ever seen, be it involving furies, auto-erotic asphyxiation, or two girls committing ghastly acts upon one innocent cup. I can say with no doubt in my mind—this is worse. Nightmare Alley is likely more bigoted, misogynistic, and nausea inducing.
Every character is a stereotype, speaking purely in f-bombs and sexual slurs. Every actor looks like they were brought in off of the streets. Every story revels in sex and violence for the sake of sex and violence, yet the gore effects are bush league and there is barely any sex in the film. There is nothing remotely original or creative about the film. The camera does not move. The music is canned metal, techno, and I assume whatever else was available through public domain web sites. Even the title cards separating the shorts are inconsistent. It all combines in a film so abysmal I can only compliment the filmmakers on finishing it and getting it distributed. Then again, I'm not sure if I'd want to make a movie that meets with Brain Damage films high standards.
This is a DVD-R screener. The film is purported to be shot in "Grind-o-Scope," utilizing vintage film stock that does sell the film's Grindhouse angle; with lots of nicks, scratches, and gunk all over the film stock. The transfer looks horrible because it's supposed to (one thing the film does right). The stereo sound mix is similarly DIY, with low dialogue and far too busy music tracks. Extras include a would-be funny interview with a plastic rat (one of the film's many stars), trailers, and an art gallery.
Send it back to hell.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
Studio: Brain Damage Films
Review content copyright © 2011 Ike Oden; Site design and review layout copyright © 2016 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.