The movie Nightmares (1983) is an anthology horror film consisting of four tales of terror linked by a wraparound story involving a teenage arcade player.
The framing story follows teenager J.J. as he plays an arcade game one night. After losing the game, J.J. has a nightmare where he is trapped in the video game world, pursued by a deadly specter. Each time he loses a level, one of the four horror vignettes plays out.
The first segment, “Terror in Topanga”, involves a woman who picks up a sinister hitchhiker on a dark road. The second, “The Bishop of Battle”, depicts a punk teen obsessed with beating an arcade game. The third, “Night of the Rat”, shows a suburban family whose house is overrun by giant mutant rats.
The movie Nightmares (1983) continues as J.J. progresses through the game levels, unlocking more twisted tales. In the final segment, “The Benediction”, a priest fights to overcome his demons and defeat an evil force plaguing his church.
The wraparound story ends with J.J. finally beating the game, allowing him to wake up from his nightmare. However, the grim ending implies the evil force survived and remains a threat.
- Emilio Estevez as J.J. Cooney
- Lance Henriksen as Bishop Flannigan
- Richard Masur as Richard Kuhlman
- Cristina Raines as Claire
- Veronica Cartwright as Carol
The film was one of the earlier anthology horror films of the 1980s.
Director Joseph Sargent was nominated for four Emmy awards in his career.
The film features electronic music by composer Craig Safan.