This week's VHS is Vadim Jean's 1994 Brit horror Nightscare aka Beyond Bedlam.
When scientist Dr. Lyell (Elizabeth Hurley) decides to test an experimental mind-altering drug on dangerous convict Gilmour (Keith Allen), strange suicides begin happening around her. Are they connected?
Nightscare is a hot mess. I guess I should have been alerted to what I was in for by the preceding trio of trailers – LL Cool J as a gangster DJ in Out of Sync, a Predator rip-off called Mutant Species, and Lorenzo Lamas actioner-of-the-month Blood for Blood.
Beyond Bedlam is a good alternate title because at least sixty percent of this movie is just nonsense. I feel like there may have been a script for the first half and then the rest was random ideas written on discarded napkins and those papers they use to wrap fish & chips. I think the premise was that the drug allows you enter people's dreams ala Freddy, but after a while it just seemed like Gilmour could bend reality willy-nilly.
|Craig Fairbrass & Elizabeth Hurley in Nightscare.|
Allen is definitely going for a discount version Hannibal Lecter in this. Fairly insipid, but at least not as grating as some nineties B-movie psychos. As you would expect (save for the guy on fire falling out a window at the hop), Hurley is the most palatable thing about this movie. I sadly thought she looked a little awkward at times though. Not I'm-twenty-seven-and-playing-a-brilliant-neurologist kind of awkward, but more physically awkward. It wasn't until halfway through I noticed that she had these massive heels on for no reason. There were some scenes where she was literally hobbling.
Sad, I would've thought she'd paid her dues by then, as this definitely seemed like a step back from Passenger 57. That said, I have no explanation as to why she completely forgot how to fire a gun.
Or maybe that was the point? Imdb actually tags this movie as Comedy Horror so maybe they know something I don't. I mean, it's funny because it's ridiculous, but is it intentional? A movie with the tagline, “Psychological terror beyond your wildest nightmares” hardly sounds like the moniker of a yuk-fest, does it? There's also the issue of that ten-minute stretch where Jean throws in some attempted rape, incest and abortion, not really for shock value I wager, more just to pad the running time. And speaking of running time... Why so many shots of people going down hallways. So. Many. Hallways.
In conclusion, Imdb also told me that Jean was later an AD on Event Horizon, which tracks. I feel like that was what he was going for with Nightscare, but had neither the chops or the budget to realize it. Oh well, onto the next tape!