Runtime: 96 minutes
Release Date: 2009
Director: Andrew Monument
If you're looking for a film that you can kick back and watch with a bowl of popcorn and veg out to, “Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film” probably isn't the right choice. This is a pure documentary that traces the roots of the horror film from the early silent films to the modern torture porn generation.
Along the way, some of the top names in the industry pop up to talk about their own films and how they feel about films from other directors. It's definitely interesting to see John Carpenter and George Romero pop up to discuss their thoughts while filming some of the top horror films of past years.
Much of the film focuses on the way that some directors used their films to make a statement on current events at the time. While it works during the 1970s and part of the 1980s, it doesn't always work. Does anyone believe that Eli Roth really cares about how the U.S. looked to other countries, or do we all pretty much get that he just likes making movies where a lot of people do stupid things and wind up dead?
The only thing that I didn't like about this documentary was when it focused on one aspect of a film and ignored others. For example, the film touches on “Night of the Living Dead,” and how it showed clear references to America at the time. It completely ignores the fact that the sole survivor is a black man who winds up dead at the end of the film, which is something I always found interesting. It actually shows that last scene without giving any type of context for it. Sorry if I just spoiled the film for you, but it is decades old now! By the way, a friend of mine who loves horror films just admitted that he had never seen “Night of the Living Dead,” but he waited to tell me that until I was done commenting on the ending.
If you haven't seen “ Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film” yet, I highly recommend seeking out a copy. Surprisingly enough, my little tiny rental place had a copy of it in stock (this is a place that typically doesn't have many independent films or older films, and it isn't even a Blockbuster), and I imagine that you can find it pretty easily online.