So yes, by adding Cannon Video and this late in their life movie, we can say that Tobe Hooper did four movies for Cannon. Written by Rom Globus — I’m unsure if he’s related — and Daniel Matmor, this was produced by the revised Cannon team of Yoram Globus and Christopher Pearce along with Harry Alan Towers and Allan Greenblatt.
Robert Englund was signed early, thinking that this was a movie about Marquis de Sade based on his short stories, but then he’d be playing an evil relative of de Sade named Paul Chevalier. Then the movie moved from a period movie to a modern story. Then the shooting location changed from Egypt to Israel. Then the original director Gerry O’Hara quit.
In an issue of Fangoria, Hooper spoke highly of the movie, saying “Nightmare is not exactly a horror film, even if there are many horror elements in it. It’s more of an erotic thriller, and I’m very happy to be able to do something different.” The title changed along the way as well.
Beth (Chandra West) goes to Israel to meet her father, the archaeologist Dr. Matteson (William Finley, who like Englund was in a much better Hooper movie, Eaten Alive) who is studying Gnostic cult ruins. One night, as Beth wanders the streets, she’s nearly attacked by some men and saved by a woman who has a book from de Sade. Her father is killed as he finally gets into the burial ground and the cult kidnaps her for a sacrifice when she’s not passing out and having dreams about a horse racer making sweet love to her. Then the girl helps her escape the cult and then some monks save the day, then we go back in time to the day de Sade died.
You may read that and say, “That makes no sense.”
Honestly, if Jess Franco made this, I would have loved it. That said, he would have found a way to make it more interesting. This is an absolute mess with wild overacting, non-stop sex dreams that get in the way of the plot and no plot for them to get in the way of.
This was a Global Pictures movie, even if it has the Cannon logo.
You can listen to The Cannon Canon episode that discusses this movie here.