Nightmares Come at Night (1970) – By Duane L. Martin

Anna thinks she’s going insane, and Cynthia seems to be the one behind it, although Anna doesn’t really understand what’s happening to her. See, Cynthia met Anna when she was stripping in a club, and took her in, promising to train her to be a better stripper. What it turned into however was a sexual relationship where Cynthia, who was generally cold and unfeeling, dominated Anna’s will and kept control over her. Anna has been seeing a doctor about her mental state. Dr. Lucas keeps assuring her she’s fine and that she needs to learn to relax and get rid of a lot of her anxiety, but Anna isn’t convinced. She keeps having sexual dreams about people that always end up with her killing the men she has sex with in the dream. She doesn’t know what’s causing them, but between the dreams, her anxieties and her strange relationship with Cynthia, she’s convinced that something is very wrong with her. In fact, there is something wrong.

This film…well, to put it in technical terms that we reviewers like to use to make ourselves sound more intelligent…it sucked. I could go on and on about all the reasons why it sucked, but let me just give you the quick and dirty.

1. A 10 minute long stripping scene that would have made a snail fall asleep.

2. A pointless 12 minute long dream sequence.

3. Another 7 minute long, pointless dream sequence.

4. No explanation as to why she was killing the guys in her dreams.

5. No explanation as to why she was having the types of dreams she was having.

6. The characters had no real depth to them.

7. The real facts behind what’s been happening aren’t revealed until the end, but even after they’re revealed, they still don’t explain what was going on with the dreams.

8. What was really going on should have been shown early in the film, thereby setting up the story for what happened after. As it was left until the end, it made what came before it feel all the more pointless.

So was there anything at all good about the film? Yes. Anna (Diana Lorys) and Cynthia (Colette Giacobine) were both crazy hot. To be honest, I thought Anna was hot and all, but I didn’t realize until I looked it up that it was actually Diana Lorys from The Awful Dr. Orlof, which I also reviewed in this issue. I was struck in that film by how just stunningly beautiful she was. This film was made eight years later, and she’s still very, very beautiful. Other than that, there’s not a lot about this film to recommend.

This audio and visual quality of this release is very good, as are all of the films released by Kino Lorber’s Redemption label. It was mastered in HD from a 35mm archival print. This is the French version of the film, and it has the option of English subtiles, or an English dubbed audio track. I actually popped on the English dub for a bit out of curiosity, and I have to say it was quite bad. There was no feeling in the voice acting at all in the bit I heard. You’re better off watching it in French with English subtitles. For special features, it includes audio commentary by Tim Lucas, a 20 minute documentary about the making of the film, including video footage of Jess Franco, an eight minute homage to Jess Franco featuring interviews with friends and collaborators and a visual essay on the creation of the HD master.

How Jess Franco could make an awesome film like The Awful Dr. Orlof in 1962, and then make a slow, pointless film like this one just eight years later is beyond me. They literally look like they were made by two different people. If Jess Franco had stuck with the Orlof style, I would have loved him as a film maker. Unfortunately, he didn’t, which means we end up with films like this one. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend it aside from watching it just to see Diana and Colette.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out it’s page on the Kino Lorber website here. If you’d like to pick up a copy for yourself, you can get the blu-ray or DVD from Amazon, or from any of the other usual outlets.