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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Friday, April 28, 2023

Day of the Nightmare (1965)

Well now this is a movie… Recently I acquired a pile of Something Weird Video discs filled with oddball flicks. One of those was Day of the Nightmare. I figured it was about time to check them out and since this one was sitting on the top of the pile into the old DVD player it went. Yep, that is how I picked this one first.

Jonathon Crane is a painter who is using a Go Go dancer as a model. She boogies around topless before trying to seduce him. He isn’t into it because he is married but she keeps trying and eventually he ties her up and spanks her. Then there is a flashback that doesn’t make sense later, but I’ll get to that. In this flashback we hear a monologue of the time that this girl tried to kill his wife. We watch that “girl” get on a bus and sneak up on Jonathon’s wife while she is unloading groceries. Only it is painfully obvious that the “girl” in question is the actor in drag. Turns out he has mommy issues and maybe daddy issues which resulted in him having a psychotic break and developing a girlfriend that is actually him who tries to kill his wife. Um… okay.

Along the way we also get to see a swinger’s party, some lesbians making out in front of Jonathon for money, and lots of naked sixties ladies. This is all before he is eventually tracked down by a detective, played by John Ireland (what the Hell is he doing in this low budget sleaze fest?) and run over by a boat. How was this a flashback when he is telling the story to it’s bitter end which shows us his dead body floating in the ocean?

Yeah, this flick isn’t so much about the plot my friends. That is also why I mentioned the sleazy things above as Day of the Nightmare hangs it’s hat on shocking the audience with all the naughty stuff you normally wouldn’t see in a movie. At least in the sixties when this bad boy was made. It was a low budget movie that I’m certain was sold on the previously mentioned naughty stuff as well as having the main character a man dressed as a woman. In addition to not making a lick of sense the movie also has serious pacing issues. There are long stretches where not much happens and is a chore to get thru. Did it really need to be ninety plus minutes long? The answer is no.

The pacing issues aren’t helped by some things, like the swinger’s party, clearly being shoehorned in for shock value. This might have worked a bit when it first hit the drive-in circuit (trust me this didn’t play in “polite” theaters but likely fit into the passion pits of the Midwest) but in today’s “smut at your fingertips” internet world it falls flat. This is apparently the only credit for the director as well as most of the cast. It screams of a low budget exploitation flick that probably made the producers their money back. The only real mystery here is how the hell John Ireland signed on to make this? Then again, he isn’t on screen for most of the sleazy stuff so maybe he had no idea what he was appearing in. And I guess a paycheck is a paycheck.

Day of the Nightmare is a terrible movie that probably should have been left unfound and unsaved. But it is out there so if you trip over a copy my recommendation is keep on going right past it and save the ninety minutes of your life that you can never get back.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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