Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film – 9

In Nightmares in Red White and Blue - 9 by johnLeave a Comment

Director – Andrew Monument

Cast – Lance Henriksen, Larry Cohen, Joe Dante, John Carpenter, Darren Lynn Bousman, Mick Garris, Tom McLoughlin, George A. Romero, Brian Yuzna, Dennis Fischer, Roger Corman, Anthony Timpone

Release Year – 2009

Reviewed by John of the Dead

In my years of reviewing horror films I never expected to write on horror documentaries as much as I have, mostly because I rarely watch them, but this one was so informative and well-executed that I felt the need to spread the word. As genre fans we are (usually) always on the look out for great flicks that we have yet to see, both new and old, and Nightmares in Red White and Blue will aid you in at least knocking off the classic and influential horror films that paved the way for American horror. Please keep in mind, this documentary strictly focuses on American horror, so don’t expect any mention of Italian giallos or the great spookfests coming from Spain. In addition to this, Nightmares in Red White and Blue also gives us a fantastic and intriguing look into how much the horror film has changed in about 100 years – and we all know how important knowing your history is.

Narrated by horror veteran / manliest voice ever Lance Henriksen, this 96 minute information-fest is told and executed in a way sure to please fans of the genre and introduce newbies to the films we love so dearly. From early expressionist films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, to the traditional monster films like Dracula / Frankenstein / Wolfman, to Psycho, to Halloween and Friday the 13th, and all the way up to the modern day horror films, this piece covers the major elements of American horror history up to its debut in 2009. On top of this the film also covers society’s take on horror and why certain horror films give us different types of horror, giving us more than the dumbed down experience some may expect from this. Periods of horror are also gone over in this experience, and along with that the directors and film critics explain why horror had to change to accommodate its changing audience.  While this is narrated by Lance it comes with lots of director / writer cameos delivering their input on the genre and its related topics, and those cameos include: George A. Romero, Larry Cohen, Joe Dante, John Carpenter, Darren Lynn Bousman, Tom McLoughlin, Mick Harris, Brian Yuzna, and Roger Corman. I could go on and on about why you should see this documentary, but take my word for it; if you want to see the best documentary out there on American horror, this is it.

Overall, Nightmares in Red White and Blue is a great horror documentary that I suggest to everyone who loves or is interested in horror films.  Extreme horror fans with knowledge of its history may not learn anything new, but the eye candy and fanboy-ism of seeing lots of our favorite directors speak in this film should make it worth viewing.  I find this especially helpful to those who are just getting into horror and want to better understand the films and the history behind them, as well as be exposed to a plethora of flicks to add to your queue.

Rating: 9/10

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