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John’s Horror Corner: Nightmare Weekend (1986), a “WTF” B-horror about a supercomputer, an animated hand puppet, and flying murderballs.

April 24, 2022

MY CALL:  There should be a subgenre called “WTF horror” for bad movies like this that don’t make any sense. That said, it was more entertaining than I expected… but for gleefully dumb reasons. Yeah, it’s that kind of bad movie.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Nightmare WeekendIf you like horror movies with inexplicable plots and seemingly random means of death, then try these “WTF horror” movies: Ghosthouse (1988), Superstition (1982), Witchery (1988), Hellgate (1990), Nightwish (1990), The Outing (1987)… I could go on.

So this is an 80s horror I’ve never heard of, by a director (Henri Sala) who has done seemingly only foreign erotic films, starring no one I’ve ever heard of (incl. Andrea Thompson, Karen Mayo-Chandler) who mostly have only ever acted in this movie, and it was picked up by Troma. So… I’m not expecting much, unless we’re talking about breastly expectations and some low budget splatter gore.

So in the opening scene a presumably villainous woman (Debbie Laster; Bad Girls Dormitory) is directing two guys that seem to be hijacking satellites while a “living” hand puppet—yes, like an actual puppet that is being treated as any other live action character in this movie—somehow remotely transforms one guy’s necklace into a floating silver murderball a la Phantasm (1979) which then attacks and gorily dislodges the guy’s now dangling eyeball and tears most of the flesh from his face. This sentence likely informs you of everything you need to know about this movie. For me, this is delightful! But fair warning, this movie may have peaked early.

There’s a lot that doesn’t make sense in this movie, and the animated hand puppet (which goes completely unexplained) is just the start. The computer the puppet uses to create, activate and control floating silver murderballs is also apparently a videogame console that a teen girl uses to play games that affect other people in reality (and the teenager is aware of this). And the puppet literally gives its teen owner life advice! You know, like about cute boys and crushes.

A group of college students sign up for a weekend of relaxation to be test subjects in some sort of paid experiment. They basically just have drinks, have sex, and hang out by the pool… the experiment isn’t explained very well. There’s a lot of nudity and numerous sex scenes, and it’s generally just there. Most of the time victims having sex creates vulnerability and opportunity for a killer. Nope, not here. Boobs abound simply because that’s what this director knows and likes. To the critical eye, this movie makes “gratuitous nudity” in other horror movies appear substantial and integral to the plot.

So the aforementioned super-computer, which is apparently what is being “tested” in this experiment, sends a signal that transmutes everyday objects into silver murderballs which have a propensity to fly into people’s mouths and either kill them or possess them. Sure… makes sense… No wait—none of this makes sense. Not even a little. Another Phantasm ball flies and ruptures a guy’s neck. I have no idea how these balls work. Commands are entered into a computer and what ensues looks more like magic.

I guess this movie is doing its best. It’s occasionally entertaining in terms of gore, equally boring for the majority of scenes, and sometimes simply ridiculous. This one shot of a guy dancing alone to music on his Walkman is actually weirdly entertaining.

As if this film was ever going well, the last 15 minutes degenerate into a lame murder zombie finale complete with horrid zombie make-up, green slimy drool, and random amok stabbery. No clue why they all became zombies. I guess that’s all a part of the mystique of the computer-generated murderballs.

I didn’t hate this, but it’s obviously something I’m not watching again nor would I recommend this. The greatest fun in this movie is for the fan of bad 80s horror who delights upon discovering a movie not yet seen that now must be seen.

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