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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Nightmare Sisters (1988)




My demon possession review series continues with Nightmare Sisters. The eighties were an interesting time to be old enough to rent VHS tapes. While we got some serious horror flicks during the decade there was a lot of cheesy low budget affairs filling up the shelves as well. This movie is one of those and has the unique distinction of starring three of the biggest scream queens of the decade.

The action starts off with a phony psychic trying to cheat a woman out of her money by contacting her dead husband. What he doesn’t know is that the husband was killed by a succubus and that this time his crystal ball is going to work. It doesn’t end well for him. Later that same crystal ball is picked up by one of three nerdy girls. They use it and are possessed by the spirit of the succubus demon who forces them to collect “sacrifices”. Basically, young men who know are interested in the super-hot babes that they have been turned into.  Luckily their original dates are there to save the day by finding an exorcist in the yellow pages. I did mention that this was cheesy, didn’t I?

Independent filmmakers need to take note of Nightmare Sisters. What do you do when you have little to no budget? You embrace it and make a movie that has fun with your limitations. That is what director David DeCoteau does here. He realizes that his biggest assets are the scream queens. So, he makes sure that those um assets are on display for as much of the movie as possible. There is a ridiculous amount of nudity in Nightmare Sisters. They go from being nerdy girls to topless when they get possessed! From there they go to the kitchen for pie, which means rubbing it all over each other’s chests… Hey and that stuff can get really sticky so of course you need an extended sequence in the bath tub where they clean each other off. Sleazy exploitation lived long into the eighties my friends.

The before picture... check out the trailer for the after. 
But to say that nudity was the only thing going for the movie would be wrong. What a lot of fans don’t realize is that Linnea Quigley, Brink Stevens, and Michelle Bauer were good actresses and in the case of Quigley very funny. All three portray their “nerdy” selves decently before getting possessed. Bauer has some funny physical bits in her fat suit, Stevens shows off her science side (she has a master’s degree in Oceanography), and Quigley has some killer one liners. My favorite Quigley line is delivered when they are talking about movies and she says, “One stupid zombie movie is enough!” If you are a fan of hers you will know why this is funny.

The succubus makeup is also an example of DeCoteau understanding his budget. It looks decent but is clearly a rubber mask. It is played for laughs and he doesn’t shy away from putting it on screen. This segues nicely into the fun low budget vibe of the rest of the proceedings and put a smile on my face. Heck when the guys destroy the crystal to defeat the succubus they manage to make that even more silly then it could have been.

Maybe I’m just nostalgic for the eighties and the Mom and Pop video stores. And I will admit that this probably won’t appeal to everyone in the same way that it does for me. But damn it not everything needs to be disturbing or artistic! Sometimes you want to see pretty girls and laugh at funny one-liners. In that spirit, I’m going to recommend Nightmare Sisters.


© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer

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