Monday, 11 August 2014



Nico Mastorakis is probably best known for Island Of Death, the spectacularly sleazy and thoroughly revolting movie which ended up on the video nasties list where, frankly, it can stay as far as I'm concerned. After that attention grabbing debut, Mastorakis churned out a number of routine thrillers, horror movies and general nonsense, mostly ranging from the poor (Blind Date) to the very poor (The Zero Boys) via the silly but fun (Hired To Kill), so possibly the best film he made is actually this pacy and enjoyable action movie with decent stuntwork, a reliable cast of B-movie stalwarts, all laced with references to old westerns (though it's a pity the Westerns idea didn't extend to a twangy soundtrack rather than the early Hans Zimmer synths.)

Despite those nods, Nightmare At Noon is more of a cross between a zombie movie and an ecologically aware thriller like Graham Baker's Impulse. Mysterious (and possibly foreign) albino Brion James unleashes a luminous green toxin into the water supply to see what happens to the small Utah town downriver. But he's reckoned without vacationing showbiz lawyer Wings Hauser, ex-cop turned drifter Bo Hopkins, and local Sheriff George Kennedy, as the toxin turns the townspeople into unreasoning, green-skinned homicidal maniacs...

It's the kind of no-nonsense B-movie that got shunted off on to video way back in the late 1980s; fortunately it's also the kind of no-nonsense B-movie that gives B-movies a good name. The cast are all good value; George Kennedy is a legend anyway, although his physical reaction as the toxin starts to take effect does rather give the impression that he shouldn't have had the fish (it also doesn't help that this was made just before he went full comedy in The Naked Gun). But, with some decently staged action sequences outweighing the faintly comical look of a town full of incredible hulks, Nightmare At Noon is a perfectly decent discovery, and another reminder that there are minor forgotten treasures to be unearthed from the 1980s.


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