American Nightmare (1983)

This is a movie that starts off in a way that got me quick. A prostitute named Isabelle (pre-Baywatch Alexandra Paul) is naked in bed, smoking a joint and trying to get a man in the bathroom to come out and make love to her. He keeps washing his hands obsessively while she apologizes for some videos she appeared in. The man comes out, gets out top of her and slices her throat open. In the world of exploitation movies, this is what we call a good start.

American Nightmare isn’t from this country. It’s from our pals in Canada, where we for some reason aren’t building a wall.

Isabelle’s brother Eric is a famous musician who is coming to find his sister after she writes him — no cell phones yet — to let him know that she’s in trouble. This sends him on a journey through strip clubs, adult theaters and dens of prostitution, all to find his sister — who was killed at the beginning of the movie.

This movie is pretty scummy — when Eric confronts his father about he and his sister leaving the family, the old man kicks him out and then fondles a photo of his daughter. Is this how the Great White North sees us?

The killer starts murdering all of Isabelle’s friends, except for Louise, who Eric saves. They end up becoming lovers, because that’s how the world works in movies.

Of course, the video in question is one of Eric’s dad having sex with his sister. The reveal causes the old man to blow his brains out. This is the kind of movie my wife walks into the room and just stares and walks out angry. Then I yell, “But Michael Ironside is in it!”

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