After all of the years running this website, it’s hard to stay enthusiastic film after film. It’s not a tough “job,” yet still, sometimes it feels as if it’s a chore to get through some of the stuff that crosses my path. Fortunately, there will always come a new release to break me out of my slump and bring that excitement back to the forefront. This time, the movie that did the trick is Bruce R. Cook’s Nightwish.
A group of college students and their professor spend the night in an estate said to be haunted by supernatural entities. Once inside, they must face their biggest fears along with ghosts, alien, and more.
I like to think of myself as someone who has seen more films in his life than the average person. As a film fan, horror or otherwise, I make it a personal goal to watch as many features as possible. Even still, when films like Nightwish come to my attention for the first time, 30 years after their original release, I find myself feeling like I’ve been missing out on so many great movies.
Originally released in 1989, Nightwish features a cast of actors performing as most 80s genre film actors do; There are no real weak links, but there are no real breakout stars either.
Everyone from Brian Thompson (Fright Night Part II, Cobra) as the muscle-bound, chauvinistic Dean to Jack Starrett (First Blood, TV’s “Knight Rider”) as the maniacal and obsessed Doctor and Robert Tessier (The Canonball Run, The Sword and the Sorcerer) as his simpleton henchman, Stanley, all played their respective roles well enough.
In addition to these gentleman, beauties Alisha Das and Elizabeth Kaitan (Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity) bring their A game, along with a little T and A, something else genre fans have grown accustomed to with 80s horror cinema.
Nightwish is as beautiful as it is gruesome. The film’s 92 minutes boasts a gorgeous color palette from start to finish. Bright pinks, purples, reds, and most prominently, fluorescent neon greens all represent the supernatural and alien presence that is terrorizing our young group of parapsychology students.
The neon green ectoplasm snakes and tornadoes seen throughout Nightwish look like something out of a Scooby Doo cartoon, but all of that can be forgiven as soon as any of the practical effects make their on-screen debut.
The extremely talented team of Robert Kurtzman, Greg Nicotero, and Howard Berger — otherwise known as KNB — are behind all of the chopped up arms and fingers and boil and slime covered cadavers. The trio and the rest of their team behind KNB EFX Group have worked on countless films over the last four decades and after seeing the amazing work they pulled off here, it’s no secret as to why they’ve had so much success.
Writer and director, Bruce R. Cook, who’s main occupation was teaching, managed to make a fun little sci-fi horror flick that, thanks to Stephen Biro and Unearthed Films, has now been brought to disc for the first time ever.
Nightwish features good acting, an original-for-its-time script, and some very impressive practical special effects.
The home video release, now the third installment in the Unearthed Classics line, contains a number of awesome bonus features. Commentary with the [mad]man behind Unearthed Films, Stephen Biro, and executive producer Paul White provides some behind-the-scenes insight into the film and its stars. Fans and collectors are also treated to some never-before-seen photos along with trailers for the other titles in the Unearthed Classics line.
The first, limited run of Nightwish Blu-rays comes equipped with a slipcover featuring a newly commissioned version of the film’s original artwork (original art also included here) and a 20 plus page booklet containing short bios and write-ups about cast and crew.
If you are interested in seeing Nightwish for yourself, the newly released Unearthed Films/Classics DVD or Blu-ray is the way to do so. The film has been newly restored from its original camera negative and is presented in 1:85:1 aspect ratio. This is, without a doubt, the best version of Bruce R. Cook’s Nightwish that you will ever see.
You don’t want to miss out, so be sure to pick up your copy of Nightwish, on DVD and Blu-ray this Tuesday, September 17, from Unearthed Films.
I give this one 3.5 amputated limbs out of 5.