"American Grindhouse/Nightmares In Red,White, and Blue (2010/Kino Lorber Films)" Review

In the past few years there has been a small boom of documentaries about various films from the Horror genre as well as the history of horror films and genre films. The first one I was able to checkout was on by the name of "Going To Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film" which was great especially for talking about that specific horror sub-genre and from there I saw many more, but now I get a chance to review 2 documentaries that cover both the history of grindhouse cinema and the american side of the horror genre! Shall we begin?

American Nightmares In Red, White, And Blue (2010):
In this documentary it takes you from the early days when Edison made his adaptation of Frankenstein as goes all the way up into the modern age of horror and talks about how it has evolved and how it shall continue to evolve. Like you would expect you do get a pretty good range of directors that talk about their films as well as their early experiences with the horror genre and what made them get into it, on top of that you get an awesome narration by Lance Henriksen (Alien, Pumpkinhead) who has a voice perfect for a narration talking about horror. The cast of people they do interview for the most part are some of the most well known director's of the genre and each one does have a very good take on the genre, now I would of liked to see a few more director's added to the mix but I do understand that it could of been hard for the director of this documentary due to budget restraints. One of which I wish they could of got was Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator) or even possibly Eli Roth (Cabin Fever), but it's all good because they still got some of the true masters of horror.

The documentary lasts about 96 minutes which honestly feels like it was less than that which could be due to the steady pace which crams you full of info like a machine gun which works fine in my opinion. Without a doubt they could of probably made Nightmares into a 3 or 4 hour documentary like they did with the Never Sleep Again (2010) documentary due to how much there is to cover. Really I have nothing bad to say about this effort on the part of Andrew Monument, he made a documentary they I have been waiting to be made for quite some time. The only thing that suprises me about this release is they did not have any bonus features of extended interviews or anything like that. Bottomline is that if you are a fan of the horror genre and you are wanting to learn a little more or just want to see what some great directors of the genre have to say than this is the documentary you need to go pick up right now! I highly recommend Nightmares!

American Grindhouse (2010):
What we have with this documentary is the true history of grindhouse cinema. Most people nowadays have been thinking that graindhouse cinema is that of the Tarantino/Rodriguez double feature that came out a few years back and even though those films in ways did have the essence of grindhouse cinema they were not quite what you really would get. Basically what a grindhouse is, is a film that predominantly shows exploitation films. There is a few depictions of infamous grindhouse cinemas on 42nd Street in NYC in a few films such as Taxi Driver and Midnight Cowboy. Alot of the times the prints that those theaters would get film prints that had been heavily used and by time they got them they were scratched up and even at times missing scenes. In American Grindhouse you get an awesome range of film historians and  directors with a narration by Robert Forster (Mulholland Dr.).

Like Nightmares I wish they would of added a few other people to their mix that I think could of made American Grindhouse that much more better and those 2 are Eli Roth who is a living encyclopedia of horror and genre films and 42nd Street Pete who is a walking exploitation film. Those 2 would of added that extra bit of flavor to the documentary. They literally go through in detail the evolution of the exploitation film and show you how it pushed the envelope further and further and helped to evolve the entire film industry as time went along. My favorite era that they cover is the 70's because in my eyes that was when they came out with some of the most unique films of the genre including one of my favorite odd ball films The Thing With Two Heads (1972) which was a very odd film but with a good message about racism. My least favorite part is when they talked about the beach films because I hate them so much they're like the crappy teenie bopper films of the 90's and 2000's. Unlike Nightmare there is a decent amout of special features added on this release! Bottomline is that this is a very cool documentary that will open any film fan up to what really is a grindhouse film!

-Daniel "Damnation" Lee

Director: Andrew Monument (Nightmares In Red,White,and Blue)/ Elijah Drenner (American Grindhouse)
Genre: Documentary
DVD Release Years: 2010
Theatrical Year: 2010
Time Length: 96 mins. (Nightmares...)/ 82 mins. (American Grindhouse)
Company: Kino Lorber
Website: http://www.kino.com