17 user 25 critic

American Nightmare (1983)

A man investigates the disappearance of his sister with the help of her roommate. He uncovers a trail of prostitution, incest, blackmail...and murder.


Don McBrearty


John Sheppard (screenplay), John Gault (story) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lawrence Day Lawrence Day ... Eric (as Lawrence S. Day)
Lora Staley ... Louise / Isabelle's workmate
Neil Dainard Neil Dainard ... Tony / Hamilton's right-hand
Lenore Zann ... Tina / stripper
Claudia Udy Claudia Udy ... Andrea / Isabelle's workmate
Page Fletcher ... Mark / Tina's boyfriend
Michael Ironside ... Sgt. Skylar (as Mike Ironside)
Larry Aubrey Larry Aubrey ... Dolly / Isabelle's neighbor
Michael Copeman ... Fixer / Isabelle's pimp (as Mike Copeman)
Bunty Webb Bunty Webb ... Operator
Tom Harvey Tom Harvey ... Hamilton / Eric and Isabelle's father
Paul Bradley ... Motel Manager
Peter Lavender Peter Lavender ... Wally
Martin Doyle ... Tanner (as Marty Doyle)
Don MacQuarrie Don MacQuarrie ... Mugger


A man investigates the disappearance of his sister with the help of her roommate. He uncovers a trail of prostitution, incest, blackmail...and murder.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Every year girls move to the city determined to make their dreams come true ... or die trying. See more »


Horror | Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

June 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amerikan Kabusu See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Box Office


CAD200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mano Films, Manesco Films See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Shot for $200,000 in Toronto, Canada. Filmed in 1981 but not releasd until 1983. See more »


References Scorchy (1976) See more »

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User Reviews

Pretty good low-budget Canadian Giallo
19 June 2005 | by salibertiSee all my reviews

I agree with the earlier "user comment" that described this film as a "Canadian Giallo." Having recently watched a number of Italian Giallos from the 1970s and 1960s, I find many of the characteristics of this film match up neatly with those of traditional giallos. (In particular, I can think of a number of similarities between this film and the giallo classic "Seven Blood-Stained Orchids.") For example, this film presents us with a murder mystery which really can't be called a "Whodunnit." Like many giallos, this movie has a gloved killer whose motivation for murder is revealed at the end. And as with many giallos, the police are largely ineffectual, so it is ultimately up to the protagonists to deal with the killer.

The acting is also pretty good for a low budget feature. In particular, Lora Staley, the female lead, turns in a very good performance as does Larry Aubrey, who plays a transvestite named Dolly. The male lead, Lawrence Day, is generally good though somewhat wooden in some scenes. The rest of the cast is, at least, competent.

The main negatives regarding this movie are a result of its low budget. Because of budget constraints, this movie was filmed in 16 mm format rather than 35 mm. The result is rather dull and dark looking images and rather washed out colors. Other users have complained that while there is much nudity in this film, it is not very erotic. I found most of the women in this movie to be very attractive, but the poor film quality simply does not do them justice. Aside from film quality, you also the common slasher film flaw of characters seeming to go out of their way to get themselves killed. In the case of this film, after becoming aware that the killer is targeting people within their group, characters continue to travel by themselves to areas where the killer has appeared previously and where -- surprise, surprise -- the killer tracks them down and kills them!

All things considered, the positives outweigh the negatives with respect to this film. It is easily worth a rental. For those who like to collect slasher/giallo flicks, it is a must-have to such a collection. For all others, it is worth buying if you can find it at a decent price.

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