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Disfigured knife-wielding murderers. Buxom teens fleeing for their lives through dark woods. Hordes of the undead limping along deserted streets. These images, now synonymous with horror movies, were born in the groundbreaking films of horror masters su
Produced for the Independent Film Channel, The American Nightmare examines the gruesome nature of horror films that began with George Romero's Night Of The Living Dead in 1968 and set the bar for a new kind of filmmaking for years afterwards.
The documentary focuses on several key directors: John Carpenter, Wes Craven, David Cronenberg, Tobe Hooper, Romero and make-up artist Tom Savini-and several of their most influential films. Many of these were a direct byproduct of the fear of the times-the Vietnam war, paranoia about the government, greed, consumerism and alienation from society. Movies such as Last House On The Left, Shivers, Dawn Of The Dead and Texas Chainsaw Massacre depicted perpetrators of pure evil that could not be killed or cured and unlike the classic horror films of the '40s and '50s, the characters reached new levels of brutality and debauchery.
The directors discuss their own personal fears and the process of translating them to the silver screen, Jon Landis pops up throughout the movie with some hilarious commentary and several critics and teachers offer opinions about the effects of these films on the American psyche.