Archive of films The American Nightmare / The American Nightmare

USA / United Kingdom
2000, 73 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2001


Adam Simon’s compilation documentary focuses on the phenomenon of 1970’s American horror films. Simon interviews the directors of the best-known horror films of the day such as George A. Romero, John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper and Wes Craven, as well as university professors and other experts in the genre. Their comments are interspersed with clips taken from the most famous films (e.g. Night of the Living Dead, The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween) and with archive footage drawn from period news broadcasts. The resulting film is an intelligent and well-rounded look at the social, cultural and political contexts which enabled the seventies’ American horror genre to excel, influenced as it was by the war in Vietnam, the protest movement, the atmosphere of antiracism and the sexual revolution. Such events directly inspired plot lines and the creation of cult horror movies, and thereby completely changed our conception of the horror genre. The American Nightmare will not only please horror fans but also those who question the genre’s huge popularity.

About the director

Adam Simon (b. 1962) has worked as co-scriptwriter for directors Oliver Stone, John Landis and James Cameron. Simon’s previous documentary, The Typewriter, the Rifle, and the Movie Camera (1995), about director Sam Fuller won the Cable Ace for Best Art Documentary and the Special Jury Prize at the International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam. His other films include Brain Dead and Carnosaur. His most recent script, Bones, is currently being directed by Ernest Dickerson.

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: Another View
Director: Adam Simon
Screenplay: Adam Simon
Dir. of Photography: Immo Horn
Editor: Paul Carlin
Producer: Paula Jalfon, Colin MacCabe
Production: Minerva Pictures, Independent Film Channel
Cast: George Romero, John Carpenter, Carol Clover, Wes Craven, David Cronenberg, Tom Gunning, Tobe Hooper, John Landis, Tom Savini, Adam Lowenstein

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