Nightmare Concert (Cat in the Brain) begins with a slow pan of a dead woman who is missing a steak-sized piece of flesh from her thigh. We’re then shown a man cooking his dinner which happens to be a nice juicy piece of steak. As he sits down in front of his TV to eat, he cuts into the rare meat while we’re shown a flashback to the woman we saw earlier being cut to pieces with a chainsaw. As the camera pans back from the scene we see the crew who is shooting this horror film as director Lucio Fulci (playing himself) calls cut and print.
Fulci dismisses his cast and crew asking them to return in one hour, after lunch. He then climbs into his car and drives to a local restaurant where the steak and hamburger being presented to him, repulses him. After the days shoot, Fulci heads home to get some sleep. It’s here he begins to imagine all sorts of macabre and hideous things. Fulci awakes to a neighbors chainsaw and upon confronting him, imagines him cutting people up, killing them. As Fulci’s nightmarish visions occur more and more, he decides to seek the advice of a psychiatrist.
At the psychiatrist office we meet Professor Schwarz (David Thompson). The Professor sits Fulci down and begins to pick his brain apart. After the first session, the Professor requests copies of Fulci’s films and scripts. The following appointment at the psychiatrist office and after the doctor has read the scripts and seen the films, he deduces that Fulci is the victim of his own creations thus the films being created are having an adverse effect on his psyche. The doctors solution is hypnotherapy (or so he leads Lucio to believe) so he hypnotizes Fulci for the solution. However, the doctors plan isn’t what we first think it may be as he’s wanting to exploit Fulci’s vulnerabilities for his own murderous ways.
I’m not entirely sure why I chose Nightmare Concert as my first Italian horror film to review. Fulci’s directorial library is fairly large and I could have chosen a much better film from it. But here I am writing about what many consider Fulci’s last “good” horror film. And when looking at the films that followed Nightmare Concert; Demonia, Voices From Beyond and Door to Silence, I’d have to agree with the moral majority.
I really enjoyed Nightmare Concert. However, there are some things that rubbed me the wrong way. The script, while coherent enough, does tend to drag towards the middle section of the film as I found my eye-lids getting heavy. I think this has to do with seeing some of the same gore scenes over and over again as Fulci has them edited into the film as part of his characters mental state. Thus we get to see the same scenes again and again. My other issue is Fulci as the leading man. While he manages to service the role, it’s clear he’s not an actor and should have given the role to a more competent performer. Though I must admit I found it somewhat entertaining to see Fulci in this full time role and not just a cameo.
On a more positive note, and in regards to the films plot line, I loved how it ended as it really throws you for a loop in a fun sort of way. I also have to say that the script is fairly solid as there are no real unanswered plot scenarios. Those of you already familiar with Fulci and his films know that he was heavy on gore and light on plot. This usually left gaping plot holes in his scripts that never went answered. This isn’t the case with Nightmare Concert as the film wraps with no questions asked. Sticking to the positive side of things, the gore in Nightmare Concert, despite seeing some of the same scenes over and over again, is outstanding given the limited budget. In many of his earlier films, Fulci leaned on the amazing Giannetto De Rossi for makeup effects, however, in Nightmare Concert, he used Giuseppe Ferranti. I must say Ferranti did an amazing job considering the budget he was given to work with.
Nightmare Concert was written and directed by Lucio Fulci (also credited for writing is Giovanni Simonelli). The film was first released in August of 1990 by Grindhouse and was said to have had a budget of $100,000. As a writer and director, Lucio Fulci covered many different types of film genre’s prior to becoming known as a horror director. Giallo’s such as Don’t Torture a Ducking and A Woman in a Lizards Skin met with success and Fulci even managed to dip his toes into the western genre with Four of the Apocalypse. Fucli, however, fast became Italy’s go to director with the success of Zombie (Zombie 2). Following Zombie was City of the Living Dead, The Black Cat, The Beyond, The House by the Cemetery and the New York Ripper to name a few of his better films.
The films score was written and produced by Fabio Frizzi. While the score for Nightmare Concert is nothing to write home about, it does service the film nicely. Frizzi had long worked in the Italian film industry (and is still working today) and has done some amazing work with Fulci in the past. Vincenzo Tomassi as the films editor worked wonders with Nightmare Concert (considering much of the film was created with old Fulci horror film clips). Prior to Nightmare Concert, some of Tomassi’s credits include Deadly Impact, The Raiders of Atlantis, House on the Edge of the Park, Cannibal Holocaust and many of Fulci’s other popular horror films.
In the end, and there has to be an end, Nightmare Concert shouldn’t be over-looked by those who love horror films or those who are fans of Lucio Fulci’s earlier horror films. If you’re unfamiliar with Fulci’s horror films, don’t start with this one as it may turn you off. Start with Zombie (Zombie 2) or one of his other more popular films such as City of the Living Dead, The Beyond, The House by the Cemetery or The New York Ripper.
Favorite Badass or Badass Moment: Professor Schwarz, he’s not very nice
Favorite Boobs or Boobs in a Scene: The gal in the shower scene. Very nice supple rack
Favorite Death Scene: The already dead woman getting cutup by the chainsaw at the outset of the film
Boob Count: 11 pair
Body Count: 8 (does not include deaths depicted in Fulci’s visions)
IMDB Rating: 5.4 / 10
My Rating: 6.0 / 10
Final Thoughts: Nightmare Concert is an above average effort from director Lucio Fulci and one I recommend seeing if you’ve seen the above mention Fulci films first.