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Opening Week: Bring on the Nightmares

We have arrived!

The anthology project that Producer-Director Mick Garris first envisioned when his ground-breaking series Masters of Horror concluded its run in 2007, is now playing on big screens across the country and on home screens via VOD (where it is currently closing on Jordan Peele’s top-ranked Us.

Also of note (for me and for those of you following this blog), the segment titled “This Way to Egress” (which David Slade, Charly Cantor, and I began developing in 2000) is finally a reality. It may be a shorter version of the feature we envisioned 19 years ago, but the results are nonetheless gratifying.

Below is a sampling of the critical responses that have appeared in the press in the past couple days. You can read the complete reviews by clicking the links at the end of each entry.

At left, the cast and crew of Nightmare Cinema gather at The Hayworth Theatre.

Nightmare Cinema brings together some of horror’s top storytellers in winning efforts to create a buffet of tales that are sure to deliver an assortment of spine-tingling shrieks, scares, and goosebumps. The segments are sprinkled with fantastic performances only reiterating how important writing and story-telling truly are as each segment delivered something unique and truthfully terrifying. Not one episode was a dud – Nightmare Cinema is the icing on the cake and I truly hope this is only just the beginning. —

David Slade’s segment, “This Way to Egress,” which he brilliantly co-wrote with Lawrence C. Connolly, can be best described as both a poignant take on loss and trauma and an examination of how the human mind is conditioned to either accept or reject them. Visually, Slade crafts a […] a hauntingly-beautiful, artfully-shot, and emotionally-exhausting character study that proves to be the most human among the rest. This could have fit right at home as an episode of Netflix’s Black Mirror, but it adds such an integral piece to the soul of Nightmare Cinema. — Dead Entertainment.

Slade’s segment stands out as the most unique and hallucinogenic. — Bloody Disgusting.

“This Way to Egress,” Nightmare Cinema’s most visually distinct segment, opts for a less cartoonishly macabre approach and instead relies on atmospheric dread, captured through cinematographer Jo Willems’ patient camerawork, as struggling mother Helen (Elisabeth Reaser) endures a mental breakdown in gray-scale. — The Week.

David Slade (30 DAYS OF NIGHT, HARD CANDY, episodes of BREAKING BAD, HANNIBAL, and AMERICAN GODS) turns in one of the most stunning, and heady, stories in gorgeous black and white with “This Way To Egress. Here we meet Helen  (Elizabeth Reaser) in a doctor’s waiting room with her two children. Helen’s husband recently left them, and she’s spiraling down a dark path. The longer she waits the more her surrounding become blood soaked, and the people around her become monsters. Is she losing her mind, or is she in danger of losing much more? This segment reminded me of an old TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE episode, and I look forward to revisiting it again. — Podcast Macabre.

… a truly original and searing piece of work: “The Way to Egress,” from the accomplished director David Slade (“Hard Candy,” “30 Days of Night,” episodes of “Breaking Bad,” “Hannibal” and “Black Mirror”). Filmed in black and white and filled with unforgettable, sometimes deeply troubling visuals, “The Way to Egress” has a Hitchockian vibe. Elizabeth Reaser is absolutely sensational as Helen, a mother of two who finds herself in a world where things are becoming increasingly surreal and dreamlike — or should we say nightmare-like. Is she trapped in a horror house, or losing her mind?Chicago Sun-Times.

Such compendiums are often a little too potluck, with wildly different approaches and levels of expertise. But while “Nightmare Cinema” has little thematic or stylistic repetition between segments, there’s nonetheless a consistency of overall packaging. Production designer Lauren Fitzsimmons, editor Mike Mendez and DPs Andrew Russo and Matthias Schubert are among major contributors involved throughout — or nearly, with “This Way to Egress” appearing the major outlier. — Variety.





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