David Decoteau’s “Nightmare Sisters” is the result of economic independent horror filmmaking and one of the finer artifacts of eighties horror sleaze. It three of the most iconic scream queens in movie history working together to dole out the best comedy that they can. “Nightmare Sisters” is a silly and often weird horror film that is oddly bloodless, considering it spends a shocking amount of time setting up the fact that our trio of lusty protagonists becomes man eating succubi. In either case, “Nightmare Sisters” is a kitschy bit of eighties exploitation that garners a unique history behind with DeCoteau using the remaining funds for “Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl O Rama” to complete this movie. That’s just economic and smart thinking.
Watching so many independent movies over the years, you can tell when a movie was made on a limited budget, and “Nightmare Sisters” shows big time. That’s not a caveat, but it is blatantly obvious that director David DeCoteau made this film as a quick shoot in a set the studio could actually afford. That only really adds to the charm of “Nightmare Sisters,” and the enduring cult appeal of the film that teamed the horror scream queen heavyweights Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens, and Michelle Bauer together. It’s no shock that allegedly DeCoteau made “Nightmare Sisters” with left over film and money from “Sorority Babes in the Slime Ball Bowl O Rama.”
You could literally watch the pair as a double feature and never miss a beat as their premises are similar, as are their darkly comic tones. Nerdy Melody, Marci and Mickey spend their days wiling the time away on their goofy hobbies. Anxious to go on dates, they invite the three pledges from the local frat over for a fun night, and despite their reservations the three geeky gentlemen oblige hoping to get laid. After a boring night, antique collector Marci brings out her magic orb for a fun séance. The nerdy threesome are turned in to voracious nude sex starved vixens. Little do the three frat boys know, the girls are hungry, but it’s not for sex.
“Nightmare Sisters” doesn’t take itself seriously and approaches the entire material with a stern tongue in cheek, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t supply a darn good premise with oodles of potential for a wider scope. It would have been entertaining to see the trio of vixens walking around the local college in the buff feasting on men and seducing literally everyone in to a state of amorous paralysis. But you make due with what you can and you’re thankful to see three insanely sexy and charismatic women taking the roles so over the top, they’re never afraid to be goofy.
Quigley, Stevens, and Bauer even play nerds well, especially when the costumes and effects falter. Quigley dons a goofy set of fate buck teeth and walks hunched over awkwardly for most of the movie, Stevens dons thick glasses and primarily relies on being utterly boring, while Bauer’s shtick is the funniest, and most Politically Incorrect. “Nightmare Sisters” relies on the classic eighties device of fat shaming, as Bauer’s character is the heavy of the trio, spending her time gorging over food. It becomes comical in its horrible effect, as Bauer simply doesn’t look overweight. It’s clear the producers merely put thick clothing on Bauer and layered them atop one another to give off the impression Bauer’s character Mickey is obese.
It becomes blatantly ridiculous when we see her “fat” body over her very thin set face. But then again “Nightmare Sisters” thrives on the eighties stereotypes and never apologizes for it. Much of the first half of the movie revolves around exposition and setting up a lot of the scenarios for the future, exploring how unpopular the girls are and their discussions on how boring Marci has a fetish for collecting mysterious antiques from every corner of the country. This comes in to play in the second half when the magic ball is introduced, allowing at least some foreshadowing rather than the character just pulling the plot device out of thin air.
It’s also good to note the comedic peeks at how dull she can be when Stevens shows up dressed as a schoolgirl. There’s a heavy emphasis on Micki eating for a great reason as when she finally becomes an insanely sexy vixen, she shoves a peeled banana down her mouth and deep throats it without even missing a beat. I’m not sure if it’s great editing or if Bauer can actually pull off the trick, but it’s a damn memorable scene, and Bauer’s sex appeal increases every second she’s on screen in her home made cave girl outfit.
It also becomes plainly obvious that the comedic focus on Quigley’s character’s tone deafness will transform in to an inevitable musical number where she can suddenly belt out a tune and look amazing doing so. As predicted, Quigley commits to a performance of the excellent rock tune “Santa Monica Blvd. Boys,” which she often sang with her band The Skirts. Quigley is a born performer, and though the song has almost nothing to do with the movie’s narrative, it’s a fun diversion.
DeCoteau knows exactly what kind of people he’s working with, so once the women transform in to deadly vixens, there are endless moments of them scampering around and desperately trying to seduce the unsuspecting frat boys that came to their party. Things take a twist when more popular frat boys kidnap the original male guests and take their place as sexual partners. This series of events goes painfully awry, as they immediately become food for the trio of succubi.
When protagonist Kevin and their friends do everything in their power to resist the sexual allure of the trio of vixens, we meet the Exorcist, a priest played by Jim Culver who also pulls off resisting their feminine wiles and adds some comic levity to the already silly events. The women make good use of their partners by feasting on their essence through their testicles, making for some of the funnier moments of terror. Just think of being with someone like Michelle Bauer only to have her dig in to you with a mouth full of sharp teeth. “Nightmare Sisters” takes from the formula of “Sorority Babes in the Slime Ball Bowl O Rama” and offers up a new kind of wish granting in the form of succubi, and there are no better people to exemplify the ideal image and allure of succubus than Michelle Bauer, Brinke Stevens, and Linnea Quigley.
Over the years, “Nightmare Sisters” has gained a cult following thanks to its rarity, but is really a testament to low budget film making. It works on a slim narrative, low budget, and little resources, but still works as a goofy, silly, and entertaining bit of horror comedy. It also has the privilege of featuring the top scream queens of the eighties starring, offering up their prime assets for the camera and devouring unsuspecting men.
Like pretty much any documentary involving the video age and golden age of horror “Screaming in High Heels” is a love letter to the genre, and a requiem for a period of horror and filmmaking that is dead and buried. Granted there is the occasional Danielle Harris and Diora Baird, but the facet of the scream queen is defunct, thanks to a new wave of horror directors who feel they’re above such elements. Scream Queens were once upon a time a big lure for potential horror audiences to a new title. Director Jason Paul Collum sets the spotlight on three of the most beautiful women to ever rule the horror world, and examines the highs and lows of being a scream queen.