The American Nightmare

Moving Image
U-matic: 3/4 inch videotape
Created: 2000


The American Nightmare
Summary: "Featuring interviews with the masters of the genre including George Romero, Tobe Hooper, Wes Craven, David Cronenberg, John Carpenter, and clips from the most frightening films of all time such as Night of the Living Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, this IFC Original, directed by Adam Simon examines the seminal period of the American horror film. 'The 70s saw the rise of several young talented filmmakers, like Romero, Craven and Cronenberg, who broke the conventions of the horror genre,' comments Jonathan Sehring, President, IFC Films. 'The current craze of horror films and the popularization of the genre through hits such as Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer owe everything to these filmmakers and this 'Golden Age' of the American independent horror film.'

"For decades, horror films have kept film-goers squirming in their seats and coming back for more -- beginning with Hollywood productions such as Dracula and Frankenstein, to the recent obsession with teen horror flics like Scream and The Blair Witch Project. The success of horror films, however, reached a pivotal point in the 1970s when the genre incorporated social commentary and groundbreaking gut spilling effects, in place of political metaphors. Monsters were no longer giant ants masquerading as communism or blood-sucking vampires, but rather our neighbors and family members. The horror films of the 1970s were nothing more than a reflection of the tumultuous events of the time -- disturbing images of the Vietnam War on the nightly news, the effects of racism on society, anti-war protests and the sexual revolution. As special effects innovator Tom Savini reveals in the doc, his most realistic ideas for gore came from images he witnessed first-hand during his time in Vietnam.

"Aside from reflecting on the violence of the time, the horror films of the 1970s in many ways reflected and contributed to the sexual revolution. David Cronenberg's early works such as Shivers and Rabid explored a mix of horror and deviant sexual behavior, celebrating the sexual freedom established by the Woodstock generation. 'It's a beautiful thing and it's a horrific thing, because it was a liberating energy and it's opening up potential to things that have been closed up to that point,' David Cronenberg tells IFC about the use of sexual images in Shivers. This freedom came to a chilling end with John Carpenter's landmark genre work in Halloween, where promiscuous teens were punished for engaging in pre-marital sex. Says Carpenter of bringing an end to the uninhibited practices of the 1970s, 'if I ended the sexual revolution, I apologize!'"--2000 Peabody Awards entry form.

Also includes interviews with John Landis, Carol Clover, Tom Gunning, and Adam Lowenstein.

Corporate Producers: Minerva Pictures Group | Independent Film Channel

Persons Appearing: John Carpenter (Interviewee) | Carol Clover (Interviewee) | Wes Craven (Interviewee) | David Cronenberg (Interviewee) | Tom Gunning (Interviewee) | Tobe Hooper (Interviewee) | John Landis (Interviewee) | Adam Lowenstein (Interviewee) | George Romero (Interviewee) | Tom Savini (Interviewee)

Broadcast Date: 2000-10-13

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The American Nightmare (peabody_2000003ent-2-arch)