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Nightmare

Comparison:

  • UK DVD (88 Films)
  • Uncut
Release: Jan 03, 2022 - Author: SnobMaynard - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB
How infamous this flick once was should be well known to every horror fan who has at least rudimentarily dealt with the history of British video nasty censorship (bans, arrests etc). A very interesting case is this small but fine story of the American release history of this grindhouse classic.
 
Originally, the movie was released uncut in the US in 1981, but after the whole European censorship story, as well as Tom Savini's angry statements that he had nothing to do with the movie (his name was prominently featured on the posters and in the credits), the distributor got jitters, took out the toughest scenes, removed Savini's name and re-released it cut.
 
For the VHS release, the violence was put back in, but some dialogue and less important scenes were taken out, so that the film, including the film trailer, fit on a short cassette. That was it for a long time.
 
Rumors about a DVD were spread by the Code Red label after they included the "Nightmare" trailer on their very first releases in 2006, but thanks to unclear rights and hard to find masters, it took until 2009 when the "Damaged Brain" finally saw the digital light of day.
 
This "Uncut 30th Anniversary Edition" came with 2 DVDs and three(!) different versions of the film (one full screen and 2 qualitatively different widescreen versions)... but uncut? Not at all. Okay, mostly only single frames were missing, resulting from film tears, but there was also some stuff missing that at least ran longer on European tapes, incl. the legendary scene where the killer appears behind the boy and grabs him.
 
Then 5 years later on the 35th anniversary of the film, Code Red followed it up with a Blu-ray based on a re-scan of the film. The existence of the longer boy/killer scene had spread around the internet in the meantime - the fan community was all the more disappointed when the new Code Red release, again announced as uncut, was again only cut. Also, this time they had not 3, but only one version of the film on board. Great picture quality or not - there remained a disappointed feeling in the gut.
 
A year later, all eyes were on 88 Films, who released a completely new Blu-ray, based on a completely new re-scan of a supposed uncut print - which unfortunately wasn't quite true either. The boy/killer scene, as well as some of the stuff that was missing from Code Red, was now included in its entirety, but other material was missing. Nothing of too great importance, but still. 
 
In 2018, an announcement followed from the label Masscare Video regarding another new re-scan for another Blu-ray, based on a recently surfaced, excellently preserved negative. So far, this announcement has not been followed up.
 
All in all, it can be said that there is no really complete version of this cult flick on disc so far, as there was always something missing on every single release. Here a new, final release would be really necessary (hello Severin? hello Vinegar Syndrome?), at least for completists who would really like to have every available scene of a movie.
 
For this comparison, the UK DVD by 88 Films was compared to the so-called "Extended Version" from XT Video, which is anything but extended, but simply a rip of an American NTSC version. Since I don't own the original 30th Anniversary DVD from Code Red, I can only guess and assume that XT took one of the versions of this release and touted it as "Extended". At least in terms of runtime.
 
Runtimes:
 
88 Films DVD: 95:00 min.
XT Video (Extended Version) DVD: 99:21 min.
XT Video
[00:02:13] [00:02:16]

The infamous Tom Savini credit, which was removed from most copies after Savini publicly commented that he had nothing to do with the film.



3 sec


XT Video
[00:04:16] [00:04:56]

The kids come downstairs and bug babysitter Cathy with questions. She sends them loudly back to bed. As she continues to watch TV, she is observed by the killer wandering outside the window.
There are at least a few seconds of the watching killer from this scene in the 88 Films version, which is at least more than in the Code Red version, where the entire scene is missing.



40 sec


88 Films
[00:02:13] [00:02:16]

Probably a film tear. Cathy asks the girl "Seven plus Twelve?" who answers after some thought: "Twenty one".
In the XT version, the question is missing, at least on the English audio.



3 sec


88 Films
[00:40:19] [00:40:21]

Probably a film tear. The boy walks along the house. The 88 version starts 2 seconds earlier here, so you can see the sea in the background.



2 sec


88 Films
[01:02:22] [01:02:26]

The killer approaches the boy from behind and grabs him.



4 sec


88 Films
[0:21:13] [01:21:04]

Probably a film tear. Susan asks into the phone "Cathy? What took you so long to answer?". In the XT version, the "Cathy?" is missing.



1 sec.