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  Nightmare Weekend Experiment Gore
Year: 1986
Director: Henri Sala
Stars: Debbie Laster, Dale Midkiff, Debra Hunter, Lori Lewis, Preston Maybank, Wellington Meffert, Kim Dossin, Andrea Thompson, Kimberly Stahl, Bruce Morton, Karen Mayo, Nick James, Robert John Burke
Genre: Horror, Sex, Trash, Science Fiction, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  1 (from 1 vote)
Review: Ken (Dale Midkiff) is a biker who one night was given some money to go along with his friend Bob to a mansion out in the countryside and sabotage its communication system. They arrived and Bob threw a rope up to the roof to ensure he would be able to climb up, but once he reached the top he almost fell because the pendant he wore, which Ken had the other half of, got caught on the guttering. Worse than that, a hand puppet called George which controlled the mansion's computer Apache created a ball bearing which flew up to the roof and smashed through Bob's face, leading him to topple to the ground below, dead. Ken was bereft, but there was the owner's daughter...

The story behind Nightmare Weekend is not exactly more interesting than what ended up on the screen, which was absolutely confounding, but at least it did serve to explain why it wound up the utter mess it did. This was a French movie, shot in Florida with an American cast, with a hefty wad of British money in the budget courtesy of Anglo-Indian sex film producer Bachoo Sen, once a notorious name in the industry but by this point having lain dormant for around a decade since his previous project was released. His output was not known for its high quality, even in the world of sexploitation, but he did make money from it; whether the same happened here was more dubious.

The director was French, as were most of the crew, handicapped (you would have thought) by not being able to speak English to his American performers, and possibly even more hampered by basically coming straight from a career in hardcore pornography, which this was not. Sure, it had sex scene littered throughout, but it was strictly softcore, so boobs and bums were about your lot as far as the supposed erotica went, which left its other genres to make this truly bizarre, the science fiction and horror elements. Maybe they made sense on the French script, but that had to be translated to English and it was plain to see they had not done a very good job of getting their point across.

Unless this was what the producers actually had in mind, in which case you wished them the best of luck - hardly anyone involved in this went on to produce anything else afterwards. Nevertheless, against the odds you may recognise at least three faces here, first Midkiff who was best known for the first version of Stephen King's Pet Sematary, but forged a steady career down the decades, then Andrea Thompson, from Babylon 5, NYPD Blue and latterly a newsreader (here she makes out with a live tarantula, somehow), and Robert John Burke, an indie actor who had a brief turn as a promising leading man, showing up in King's Thinner and as the Robocop everyone forgets. You imagine they would prefer this origin movie to be forgotten, yet since Troma picked it up as a cheapie to distribute, it proved hard to shake off, reappearing over and over to embarrass them.

Nightmare Weekend did come across as if it had been made by Martians, with such images as a man hiding the bottle of whisky he's drinking from in a sandwich, or another man who throws a stick for a dog to fetch then immediately runs after it himself. Good sense was not on the table, it was apparent, but when the production was this ludicrous there was a degree of entertainment to be garnered from a plot which brought new meaning to the word "vague", yet ostensibly was about a mad scientist creating mind control (with the ball bearings), while his daughter Jessica (Debra Hunter, who retired from the screen sharpish) romances Ken (no, he wasn't gay) and fends off a would-be rapist (Burke) who has sex in public with his girlfriend while playing pinball. But it was the puppet most would recall (well, maybe the man murdered by killer knickers too), a green creation that resembled a boffin and was dubbed with a professorial voice (everyone was dubbed here, though they were all speaking English). He nearly caused the scientist assistant baddie (Debbie Laster) to crash her car using a computer racing game, and protected Jessica when everyone else transformed into a mutant. WTF? did not come much more WTF? than this.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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