Nightmare Alley (2010)

DVD Cover (Midnight Releasing)
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Overall Rating 32%
Overall Rating
Ranked #12,983
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A ghoulish host relates seven macabre stories. Zombie cowboys rampage across the prairie in "A Fistful of Innards." An evil satanic rat forces a man to do its murderous bidding in "Rebellion." A scummy loser inadvertently sets himself up on a date over the Internet with a vengeful ax-wielding ghost in "Death Chat." A slim gal bumps off her jerky husband and feeds him to a gross fat slob in "Meat." A homophobic punk dude butchers a gay guy in "Closet Case." A fey and pompous artist bumps off his shrewish spouse and uses her corpse for his artwork in "The Great Damone." A Jack the Ripper-style killer embarks on a lethal spree in "Slash of the Blade." --IMDb
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Review by Ginose
Added: July 23, 2010
I've said it many a time: I love horror-anthologies. So many times have I said this that I don't even want to continue explaining it, again. It's just a great and selectively difficult subgenre to work with, yet some of the best (and worse) horror films of all time came from the formula of "let's just shoot a bunch of movies at once"; these span from the greatly hailed (and somewhat overrated) "Creepshow" to the absolutely atrocious "Trapped Ashes" and have worked into such wonders as "Tales From the Crypt" and "Trick r' Treat". Truly, it is a wonderful genre that I would love to see more independent work in, but, alas, it appears that great indie filmmakers are busy working on their latest way to cash-in on the RIDICULOUS success of schlock like "Paranormal Activity", rather than making us the next "Vault of Horror".

Depressing as this though is, I do my best not to lose faith in the genre, especially when I see unique little no-budget offerings like tonight's morsel ready to be pounced upon by me and my starving demeanor. Well. I FIGURED that would be the case, even (perhaps, especially) after seeing the quick-edited, grind-o-scopic trailer online. Yes, with its series of awards and praise from the godfather of the American-made splatter-film, Herschell Gordon Lewis, pasted excitingly on the cover, I was expecting some amazing work with no budget to fill my face with sweet, horror-god love.

This was not what I got. Instead, I got what appeared to be a series of near-goreless horror-comedy shorts someone kept from posting on YouTube, in hopes of making a movie with them, reaching feature-length and plugging a few unknown local-bands in the mix. In between, we have a fellow doing his best T.V. Series Crypt Keeper impression with interlocking jokes and all, "telling" us these ham-handed tales of bore. Fuck you, HGL.

"Intro/Welcome to the Blade"
A couple of shifty-looking dick-heads are having a smoke in an alley, enjoying a nice back-and-forth about a show they went and saw last night, mocking most of the half-assed groups that tried to pass themselves off as hard. During their conversation a jolly vagabond makes his way to the two, offering a comic in exchange for a mere cigarette. The punks take this offer, of course, to get a chance to read the newest issue of "Nightmare Alley", though this bum may have other thoughts in mind for the two.

Straight off the bat, I'm going to say that this is one of the best shorts in the whole film, mostly because it is short, violent and completely fucking unprecedented in every way. There's no clever explanation for anything that happens, or, for that matter, WHAT happens. I suppose it's left to the imagination. Completely. Utterly.

It's like whispering "He's right over there..." to someone and then leaving the room.


"A Fistful of Innards"
Three outlaws in the old west have finally stumbled across the desert after a decently successful heist, and are making their way back to town. On the outskirts they discover a large rock that appears to have fallen from the sky... it also appears to be made of gold. Despite a sick feeling in their stomachs, they decide to keep- Errr... They would have, if their leader hadn't decided to keep this rock for himself. Killing the other two, he decides to make his way to town with the money and the rock... but this rock is clearly more than it appears.

This, by far, is one of the most professional looking works... until the ending. The best acted, and easily the most coherent of the batch, without a doubt one of the most interesting... until the ending. This had a lot of things going for it, from so-so gore to so-so acting and a story that is easy to follow and gets to the point. Then it ends. Then you realize that it was never really going anywhere to begin with.


A young-man goes to a, fairly racist, little Mexican shopette to do a little browsing. He comes across a boxed demonic-looking rat that just catches his eye. As a lover of rats and most things evil, the fellow decides to buy it, getting a warning about the rat's Satanic presence. He disregards all that the horrible stereotype has to say concerning the evil idol and takes it home, quickly doing the one thing with it he was warned not to: Put its medallion around its neck.

Easily my favorite short on the disc, "Rebellion" has a lot of fun with itself. Where as the others try very hard to balance the elements of horror and comedy, this one doesn't need to, having consistent amounts of both in the characters and story. The gore effects are, hands-down, the best on the disc and it all ties together in a great way. Then again, calling this the best on the disc is like saying it's the best-swimmer in the 3-foot end of the pool. Still, a good little short. Watch this one, if you'd like, it's the most advising I'm giving regarding this movie.


Man is caught cheating with girl he met on the net. Man's wife pulls shotgun on them. Man's cop-friend stops by. Man plugs decent metal-group that he probably plays for. Man surfs net for women. Man gets more than he bargains for.

Ouch. I actually was expecting something from this one, about half-way through. Then we get to the horror part, then we realize that THERE IS NO HORROR PART. I don't even know what to call this one except boring. Boring and fuck-awful predictable. So predictable, in fact, that I almost wanted the expected twist-ending I saw coming to be true. But there was no twist. Fuck it.


Around the apartment swimming-pool is always a good place to meet/sex your new neighbors, right? Well, when one such instance goes awry, a romantic interlude of spouse-fucking is cut-short by the woman's husband returning home in time for the fat-neighbor to make a hasty escape. This doesn't go well for the couple's relationship, no doubt, which is soon ended by the woman bludgeoning her husband to death. Sure, she COULD get rid of the evidence like a normal killer would, but she has other plans in mind...

Remember how I said "Death-Chat" was boring? Well, IT was boring in such a way that I almost forgot it was on the disc. This one was so dreadfully boring, drawn-out and un-horrifying that I kind of WANTED to forget it was on the disc. Aside from some atrocious looking cooking, I can't say that there was anything in this short to enjoy... well, there's the epilogue, but when a black-screen with text written on it is the best part of a film then it's a clear indication that a short could e dropped from a movie.


No. I'm not going to give this one a synopsis. This is the culmination of all that is horrible about this movie. Watch this short and you've pretty much summed up the whole experience. Aside from Mr. Fry (Crypt Keeper) reacting the exact same way I did to this short, I don't think there's a notable thing about it. It's short, at least... there is that...


"The Great Damone"
A great diva of a painter by the name of Damone is willing to ignore his wife's cries for him to find some work for the sake of art, why can't she just heed him? Especially with a greatly well-known exhibit happening soon, he just can't take any more of her damn bickering! Such stress can make a man do crazy things, you know...

Sick things.

This one was actually alright. Aside from four obnoxious performances to deal with, and ignoring that the story has been done to death so many times in the past it was still alright. The gore and humor were there, the ending was amusing, if not predictable and it was just a decent watch. Nothing left unanswered, and nothing truly worth knocking.

Surprise, surprise...


"Slash of the Blade"
With a recent "Jack the Ripper" exhibit having came to town, a whole lot of strange things have been coming up lately. Mostly knife-killings. When a group of young-women finally decide to put two-and-two together it may be just a BIT to late...

Huh. I can't say I hated this short, it was amusing in the respect that it was DEFINITELY more like a horror film than just aobut anything else on this disc, but it's definitely more of an "April Fools Day" than a "My Bloody Valentine". A bit too slow, a bit too predictable and a bit too bland. Technical merits are there, and it all ties-up about as well as it can, but it just isn't very good. Just... empty.


Wow... I just wrote this. Well, take my words with as much validity as you can, but I can almost guarantee that there won't be much to enjoy in the great scheme of things where this one is concerned. You're MUCH better off just watching a bunch of Fewdio horror shorts on YouTube, and you're bound to get more chills.

I appreciate what this one TRIED to do, at first, but it is a failure. A big, long, boring failure.

It is NOT a good movie, but it's a lot fucking better than "Trapped Ashes", that's for sure.

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