Nightmare Weekend (1986)
WRITERS: Screenplay by Georges Faget-Bernard
With additional dialogue by Robert Seidman
DIRECTOR: H. Sala
STARRING: Debbie Laster as Julie Clingstone
Dale Midkiff as Ken
Debra Hunter as Jessica Brake
Lori Lewis as Annie
Preston Maybank as Bob
Wellington Meffert as Edward Brake
Kim Dossin as Mary-Rose
Andrea Thompson as Linda
Kimberly Stahl as Pamela
QUICK CUT: In this touching coming of age story, a young girl struggled to connect with a man she meets one day, and catch up with her friends as they hang out at a mansion for a relaxing weekend.
Jessica - A young woman who is almost innocent to the point of absurdity. And to maintain her innocence, the movie goes WAY out of its way to have her not hear anything that might sully it or ruin the plot too soon.
Ken - The first guy Jessica has ever fallen for. He's a biker, a delivery guy, a bit of a mercenary, and ruggedly handsome.
Julie Clingstone - The woman who hires Ken to hack into a secret project she's working on with Jessica's father. She's conniving, determined, and smart.
George - Jessica's talking puppet. ...I don't even know anymore, and this review hasn't even started.
THE GUTS: The nightmares continue, Triskelions! I am back with another in depth look at a movie, and we've moved on from Elm Street, but are now spending our Saturday with a Nightmare Weekend. I...I don't even know what this movie is, despite having watched it already, so I will just let this mess speak for itself.
We get the ball rolling with two mysterious guys getting off a mysterious plane and riding mysterious motorcycles on the orders of a mysterious woman to do some mysterious deeds.
But whatever they're doing sets off alarms that...that wake up a puppet. Okay, look, I need at LEAST five minutes of a movie before you pull this surreal, weird shit on me. Slow down, get back to the bikers, drop the puppet surprise on me later.
One of the guys tries to plug in a Hackerbox 5000 into this place's systems, but George the puppet creates a tiny deathball that stabs him in the eye and melts his face.
Look at that sentence, Triskelions. LOOK AT IT. That is a thing I typed, because that's a thing that happened. And we are not even three minutes in, and the credits have yet to roll. It only gets weirder from here.
Meanwhile back in the 80s, some girls are doing aerobics, and talking about an experiment one of them and some friends are going to. Some behavioural thing where they get paid to sit around all weekend and be observed, and get paid. Ahh, the life of a college student. Need to buy food? Just sell your body to science for the weekend.
And spoiler: The girl not going? She's the daughter of the scientist watching them and experimenting on them, but none of them realise that.
But speaking of the House of Experiments, they're getting ready for the visitors, and hey! It's Mysterious Woman who's in charge and getting the staff ready by yelling at them!
We then catch up with the Surviving Mysterious Biker, or as he's better known, Ken. But stay back, he's in the middle of a flashback establishing how much he cared about the dead guy, because he saved Ken's life.
Meanwhile, the girls for the experiment are getting picked up, and their leftover Jessica is getting comfy at home with her puppet friend George. George, who moves on his own, and who talks, and uses the home's security computer system. Because why not! None of this is ever actually explained, but there he is, the world's first Amazon Echo. George, order me a pizza! George, play Blue Oyster Cult! George, WHAT IS THIS MOVIE??
Julie, the Mysterious Woman, has Ken help her pick up a dog, while Jessica and George start playing a cheap Pole Position knock off. Which somehow gives Jess control of Julie's car...because why not! Whatever her dad has created is off the charts powerful. Let's just put the power of a computer that can literally do ANYthing in the hands of a teenaged girl, with an interface in her own bedroom. Imagine if this was Proteus in Demon Seed?
Before the girls can check in at Experiment Hotel over in the other movie, they talk the driver into stopping at a bar so they can get some drinks. And some guys. They drive off, and thanks to the guys tampering with the car, they stop off at the side of the road for a picnic while the driver replaces the flat tire.
As the girls finally arrive at the house, Julie tries to convince Edward Brake to let his biometer that can cure mental problems in animals be used on humans. She heads off defeated, or she would if Jessica and her god computer didn't crash the car into a tree.
Brake heads upstairs to tell his daughter that if she's using George, to make sure he's not attached to the Apache systems. Why would you make your daughter's talking puppet able to interface with a machine that can control anything in the first place? What is this movie??
And Jessica is *totally* clueless of the power within her teenaged hands. Julie mtries to yell at her about it too, but oops, the kid JUST so happens to have headphones on at the time and remains blissfully oblivious that she can drive cars off the road.
While Jessica roller skates off, her dad and Julie experiment on a dog. They use Apache to transform a bowl into another wannabe Phantasm sphere, say it's alive (?!) and watch as it whooshes into the dog's mouth (???), and gives them control over it's brain and personality (??!?!).
That is the plot of the movie in a nutshell, folks. People turning everyday objects into tiny metal spheres that give them control over people when they're ingested. Not a single bit of that makes a lick of sense.
While those two are busy arguing ethics and if their metal ball therapy will have long term effects on subjects, Jessica bumps into Ken down at the bar everyone keeps going to, and it's love at first skate.
They sit around and watch while a biker and his girlfriend make out on a pinball machine. Before you can say tilt, she goes topless, in the middle of a public place, and they move from making out to outright banging right there.
Back at Brake's house, Julie calls her shadowy evil mastermind behind everything, and spoiler, this plot is barely mentioned again, nor do we ever find out who her corporate overlord is. Oooh, I bet he's Apocalypse.
Oh right, remember the actual plot of this movie? Yeah, we check in briefly on the girls at the House of Misery as they hang out by the pool.
After meeting Ken, Julie heads home to discuss with George these strange feelings she's having, because she's a teenager and doesn't understand love. BUT THE LIVING PUPPET DOES.
Julie needs to see Ken again, and asks George to do something, help her...NO DO NOT ASK THE GOD MACHINE TO HELP. At this point, it could cause a thermal storm to trap him in your home for the weekend.
But they better hurry, because Ken is busy being seduced by one of the girls at the weekend getaway this movie is supposed to be about.
Once she's done with Ken, the seductress moves on to the driver, wasting no time at all trying to bang any guy nearby, I guess.
Also, this entire side experiment is possible because of the Hackerbox 5000 as Julie does her thing without the Comedian's permission. George notices that someone has hacked into Apache and has it abort the procedure in the middle of whatever its doing. Yes, the PUPPET can abort programs on the god machine.
The orb still gets created though, but I guess whatever it was going to do doesn't work right anymore, and she comes out ready to bang. Gee, maybe if we had a clue what it was *supposed* to do, we might care about the Happy Fun Balls being broken? Or is it? I don't know! George, google me the plot of this movie!
And uh, I guess she pounces on top of the driver and kills him by biting his throat out, but we're not terribly clear on that, either. Not Terribly Clear: The Movie.
While one of the other girls is getting weirded out, Jessica is continuing to ask the puppet for dating advice, and how to dress, and impress guys. Y'know, I poke fun, but this is basically what the internet ended up becoming. Heck, we can even use it to remotely hack cars and make them crash.
But don't worry, the movie decides to bring the biker and his girl back into the plot, because why not? It's not like there's anything else going on right now.
Jessica goes for a walk, dressed as George instructed, and hopes to find Ken along the way. But when she tries to pick up the biker that stops, it's the other, nasty one that thinks a pinball machine is a suitable place for sex, and not her attempted boyfriend.
The meet-cute gone wrong leads into a chase, which lasts far longer than it should since one of them is on a motorcycle.
Back at home, George's rape sense is tingling, so he connects to Apache to save the girl. Before the balls of doom can save the day though, Ken arrives and gets into a fight with Rapey McBikerpants.
The machine turns the guy's watch into the wannabe Phantasm sphere, because a personal item is required, because I guess we need SOME rules. The ball embeds itself in the guy's neck, he runs off into the lake, and explodes. Because why not! George, call an ambulance!
After the thrilling "Is my car fixed yet??" action, and exciting, "Fill my bike up with gas!!" danger, the bikers run around trying to find their missing rapist, Dave. And come on, that's too easy. Even for me.
Ken shows up to pick up Jessica, and he recognises the house where his friend had his face melted off at the start of the movie. Yeah, that sort of thing sticks with you, I guess. Oh, and he runs into Julie there too. Lookit that, plotlines converging.
Julie claims her and Ken are lovers, and the girl goes running off all upset, leaving Ken to ride around some more to try and find her and keep this movie going.
Back at the bar, the rest of the bikers hit up the driver and try and get taken up to the mansion of doom to meet the girls and get back to the ACTUAL plot of this movie. You would think the house where experiments might some day be performed, filled with people, might actually be focused on, so we cared at all about any of these people, but nope.
Oh, and I guess that means the driver didn't die, just got chewed on a little bit. Anyways, the ladies get ready, well, mostly. The one who's already eaten a deathball is wandering aimlessly around and obsessively combing her hair.
Meanwhile, the maid on duty at the mansion, who is afraid of spiders, gets a giant surprise as a tarantula that Julie left behind shows up. She's so scared she doesn't notice the giant metal ball in her calming cup of coffee, and her mind starts to be rewritten.
While Mary Jane...er, Mary Rose is playing with her new spidery friend, the experiments are making out with the bikers, to varying degrees of undress, and balls are flying everywhere. Take that however you like.
One of the couples gets balled when one of them scurries into the girl's underweare, which the guy checks out, and the ball tries to cram them down his throat. And another one rolled into the toothpaste, so when the girl brushes her teeth, she starts looking rabid. ...I seriously have no idea at this point. George, order me some booze!
And just as things are getting interesting at Evil Mansion, we of course need to check in on little Miss Milquetoast and her Bland Boyfriend. They're having dinner one second, then the next they're naked and making out. I'm not sure if that's actually happening, or just sudden wish fulfillment.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, Jessica's dad is busy being distracted by the dog getting sick, and being brought to the vet, effectively writing him out of the plot for a bit, but we'll check in on him from time to time anyways.
The last normal girl in the mansion finally has a drink where a doomball has become an ice cube, and she falls into the pool. Just...just what kind of experiments are we supposed to be running? I can almost see curing the maid of her arachnophobia, and I get the one girl being a bit broken thanks to George interfering, but what exactly is the rest of this proving?
I mean, besides, "Look, I can make their brains melt in their skulls!" Which has its merits, but doesn't seem to be a very marketable experiment.
Julie calls her evil shadowy boss again, and he asks if the subjects are totally transformed. "Yes! It's horrible! But it works!" That seems like two separate ideas, really. Making these poor girls choke in balls just seems to be pretty pointless.
Eddie finally returns to the plot from his trip to the vet's, and finds Julie mucking about with the system, and wanting to crank the machine up to 100%. Because it doesn't melt brains efficiently enough as is. And doing so could turn the victims into neuropaths! Whatever THAT is... George, what's a neuropath??
He tries to fire Julie, but she unplugs a battery or something from the machine, and pathetically conks him on the head with it.
Jessica returns home from her date, and before she can find her father tied up in the bathroom, Julie tells her he is waiting for her at the mansion, and its urgent that she get over there right away to be killed.
When she arrives, she finds the girls are all dazed out zombies, and I don't think that's what Brake was hoping his experiments would do. But since we never really got clued in, it's hard to say.
George finally notices that Jessica is in danger, and faster than you can say "George, kill the bitch!" the deus ex machina is about to enter the plot...but Professor Brake unplugs the whole thing from a conduit in the bathroom. Remember, always run your important computer systems through every room of the house in case you need to unplug them in a pinch.
So what we end up with is a young girl going to a mansion at the very end of a movie and being chased by a bunch of mindless, oozing drones, who generally take each other out because they're all a bit mad. And the plot device gets disconnected before it does what it was set up to do. So...what was the point?
Jessica's father finally escapes the bathroom, and finds his way to the mansion, where the drones are just staring dumbly and doing their thing. He yells at his nemesis and former colleague, and she walks off laughing it off and telling him he has to explain this mess to the police! Yes, that's a victory, I guess.
But just as she thinks she's won, Julie calls up Ken, her minion whom she's done nothing but betray and piss off, whom she sent to get her payment for selling Eddie's science, and oh no! He has betrayed her and kept the money for himself!
She drives off to the airfield to confront Ken, but Mary Rose pops up from the back of the car and slices the woman's throat. She then stalks Ken, but George is back online and intervenes like the Puckish God he is.
This whole sequence is so terribly filmed, it's like everyone is in a different location and spliced together badly as the actors stare from their separate scenes and things happen in closeups.
Ken smashes the zombie with a wrench and crushes her skull, but somehow activates the hangar door which crashes down and cuts him in half.
No, seriously, it just up and ends right there, with Jessica screaming. I don't even know what George did at the end there. Or anything about this movie, really.
Video: This looks surprisingly good for the plot it has. You'd expect this to be some garbage direct to video transfer, but no, they did a solid job on it.
Audio: Welllll...besides the terrible dubbing, which is the norm for these sorts of films, it sounds okay.
Sound Bite: "I wonder if it's you that makes me feel, so fine! So deep down good!" Is that even English?!
Body Count: Not too bad, all told. There mgiht've been more zombie ball drones at the end, but it was all badly cut so it was hard to tell.
1 - Before credits even roll, a dude's face melts off at 2:45
2 - Dave takes a ball to the neck and explodes in the lake.
3 - One of the biker's gets stabbed by Mary-Rose.
4 - Mary-Rose slices Julie's throat.
5 - Ken ends Mary-Rose's reign of error.
6 - And Ken kills himself with a garage door. Or something.
Best Corpse: This week, the award goes to exploding Dave.
Blood Type - C: Some solid blood splattered around, and the makeup effects are pretty good. Okay, sure, they look cheesy at times, like look at Mary Rose's halfskull. It looks cartoonish. But...I like it?
Sex Appeal: Lots of nudity by the ladies while they have sex, including biker chick in the bar.
Drink Up! Whenever George appears. You'll need it.
Video Nasties: A short clip of Dave's demise at the hands of George the mad puppet.
Movie Review: Guh. What is there to say about this movie? The plot is all over the place. This is like three or four different movies, sliced up, and stapled together. The actors are all overdubbed, so the acting is hammy plus. The effects are genuinely solid, in a very, very strange movie. It's actually shot well enough, aside from some poor editing choices, but overall the direction and photography is at least competent. Two out of five deathballs.
Entertainment Value: Y'know, I am just going to swipe a quote from the special effects guy during one of the featurettes on the disc I got. "If you want to see a movie that was shot with an international crew that didn't all speak the same language, who are working from two different scripts, where a director was really good in one genre but had not shot the other genre, with first time actors, and having their voices dubbed by OTHER actors...check out Nightmare Weekend." That quote alone describes everything wrong with this movie, and every reason why I wanted to see it. It is a glorious mess, and while you're sitting there staring dumbfounded, it is just an AMAZING weird experience of cinematic WTFery. I hate it, I love it, it makes zero sense, and I can't turn away. This is Trisk. Five out of five clapping Georges.
Oh, if only I had more movies with proper puppets to watch...