The Nightmare

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USA | 2015 | 91 minutes | Rodney Ascher

From the filmmaker who brought us Room 237 comes an incredibly insightful documentary about the terrifying condition of sleep paralysis: a frightening state of half-consciousness where sleepers are perceptive but cannot move, and often experience alarming hallucinations.

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For some, sleep is a welcome respite at the end of the day, but for those with the rare condition knows as Sleep Paralysis, the bedroom is a place of terror. Trapped alone between the sleeping and waking worlds, sufferers of this mental condition find themselves laying paralyzed and immobile with fear as ghastly visitors surround them: terrifying shadowmen, red-eyed spectral cats, waves of spiders, and menacing alien-like spirits. In Room 237, director Rodney Ashcer explored the effects of cinema on the psyche. With The Nightmare, he uncovers the reverse—the mind's ability to create a visceral, realistic other world. Asher, who has also experienced the condition, illustrates the case studies of eight victims of Sleep Paralysis through probing interviews and hallucinatory reenactments, blurring the lines between reality and imagination. Is there a cure for Sleep Paralysis? Some sufferers have found relief, though what should be explained by science gets complicated as people from random backgrounds have very similar visions. More ominous is the implication that it may be a viral condition, making The Nightmare not only the most terrifying documentary ever made, but one that could lead to literal nightmares.

Director Biography
Rodney S. Ascher is an American filmmaker; his first feature was Room 237 (Sundance 2012 debut). Other work includes the short documentary The S From Hell (2010), and segments of the anthology films Abc’s of Death 2 (2014) and Hot Chicks (co-directed with Syd Garon, 2006). He edited the posthumous Andy Kaufman comedy album ‘Andy and His Grandmother’ (2013) and used to teach sometimes too.

Sponsored by Scarecrow Video

  • Director: Rodney Ascher
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2015
  • Running Time: 91 minutes
  • Producer: Ross Dinerstein, Glen Zipper, Tim Kirk
  • Screenplay: Rodney Ascher
  • Cinematographers: Bridger Nielson
  • Editors: Rodney Ascher
  • Music: Jonathan Snipes, William Hutson
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Room 237 (2012)
  • Language: English
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: Preferred Content