NIGHTMARES IN A DAMAGED BRAIN
More due to its timing than anything else, Nightmares in a Damaged Brain has been lumped in with the 1980s fad for slasher films. It has undeniable adherences to the genre but in tone it sits more in the company of a 1970s psycho film like The Fiend (1971), The Love Butcher (1975) and The Driller Killer (1979) than the slasher ilk of Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13th. There is less focus on random stalking and slashing (although the film has its share of that) than there is of the killers disturbed mental space interwoven with cuts back to Sharon Smith and her three children. There is also a lack of teen victims and their hijinks here, which you could say is fairly much a staple of the slasher film although there is a babysitter who gets killed.
Most of Nightmares in a Damaged Brain plays out like a typical grindhouse feature. There is some shoddy photography and editing that makes for a fairly scuzzy looking film on most regards, while you can hardly say that Romano Scavolini has anything that approaches directorial style. The film is occasionally interesting. One of the more intriguing scenes is where we see John L. Watkins unnamed police detective using an early computer system (one that was made pre-Windows and GUI environment too) to try and track and predict the killers movements (which, you suspect, given the state of computer technology at the time is something that pushes Nightmares in a Damaged Brain into the realm of science-fictional). Still this is not nearly enough of interest to stretch to a worthwhile 97 minutes, least of all through the edited-in-a-blender print we have.
The other complaint might be that the graphic violence that upset people enough to have Nightmares in a Damaged Brain listed as a Video Nasty is few and far between. There is a scene right at the start where Baird Stafford is shocked by nightmares and has hallucinations of a severed head still moving. It is only right near the end that Romano Scavolini delivers the rest of the goods and we get some fairly graphic scenes where we see the babysitter (Danny Ronan) being stabbed in the back with a hammer and the flashbacks where the killers mother is beheaded with an axe and the kid then hacks into his fathers chest.
Romano Scavolini was an Italian director whose other films have almost all been made in Italy. He had made thirteen films, mostly sex films or thrillers. These include the giallo Spirits of Death (1972) and Savage Hunt (1980) about a man pursued after procuring torture footage. None of these enjoy particularly high profiles.
Full film available online here:-