Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film is a feature-length documentary based on the book of the same name by Joseph Maddrey. It examines the idea that horror films reflect the times and places in which they are made – illustrating how classic monster movies exploited the anxieties of war-time generations, and how more savage modern horror films stem from the psychic fallout of America’s counterculture movement and the subsequent rise of increasingly conservative political forces.
At the same time, the documentary explores the timeless, universal appeal of horror movies by examining the pervasive theme of The Outsider. From the silent films of Lon Chaney to the box office reign of Hannibal Lector and his peers, the history of the horror film is a story of the individual at odds with any organization that threatens his life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. In-depth interviews with many of the nation’s greatest horror filmmakers reveal that the appeal of the genre is rooted not only in timely fears but in the spirit of rebellion – a spirit that consistently defines American life, as well as many of its best horror filmmakers.
Nightmares in Red, White and Blue is narrated by horror icon Lance Henriksen and features exclusive interviews with legendary auteurs like John Carpenter, George A. Romero, Joe Dante, Larry Cohen, and Roger Corman, as well as film historian John Kenneth Muir and Fangoria editor Tony Timpone and others. Their observations are illustrated with clips from more than 150 films – ranging from the classic Universal monster movies to the psychological horrors of film noir, from groundbreaking films like “Night of the Living Dead”, “Rosemary’s Baby”, “The Exorcist” and “Jaws” to contemporary slasher movies, Torture Porn and beyond.
In short, it is the most comprehensive documentary on America’s most durable and prolific film genre.