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Nico Mastorakis
Wings Hauser, Bo Hopkins, George Kennedy
Writing Credits:
Kirk Ellis, Nico Mastorakis

Scientists poison the water supply of a small town, turning the residents into homicidal maniacs who kill each other and anybody who passes through.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English PCM 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 96 min.
Price: $39.95
Release Date: 12/6/2022

• “The Films of Nico Mastorakis” Featurette
• “Behind the Scenes” Featurette
• On-Set Interviews
• Image Gallery
• Trailer


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Nightmare at Noon [Blu-Ray] (1988)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 6, 2022)

Did any decade produce as much cinematic cheese as the 1980s? Probably not, and for a large slice of said fromage, we head to 1988’s Nightmare at Noon.

In the dark of night, a mysterious team from the “Agency for the Protection of the Environment” arrives in a remote part of Utah. Led by a mysterious scientist known as “The Albino” (Brion James), they dump a strange substance into the local water supply.

This causes contamination that turns those who drink the liquid to turn into homicidal zombies. A mix of locals and tourists combine to battle this threat.

Essentially a Western combined with a horror flick, I can’t call Noon a bad movie. That said, I can’t refer to it as a good film either.

As I imply at the start, Noon clearly exists as a product of its era, especially in its presentation of the anti-hero. The film introduces us to Reilly (Bo Hopkins), a former cop who lost his job when he took the law into his own hands to go after child rapists.

Reagan-era movies loved their “righteous vigilantes”. Reilly falls smack dab into that category, though to my moderate surprise, he doesn’t dominate Noon as much as one might expect. Noon spreads the love among other characters to a greater degree than anticipated.

While democratic, this feels like an awkward choice since it means Noon lacks the thematic consistency it needs. With a few mouths to feed, the movie can feel disjointed.

Still, no one goes to a B-movie like Noon with the expectation they’ll find a classic. The bigger question becomes whether or not Noon delivers the requisite action thrills.

Sort of? As noted, Noon doesn’t give us an especially good movie, but perhaps due to my intensely low expectations, I admit it becomes moderately entertaining.

For a while, at least, as Noon runs out of steam as it goes. The first act gets by on the sheer goofiness of the concept and keeps us with it.

As it proceeds, however, Noon runs out of creative ideas and just turns into a lot of gunfire and explosions. I find nothing wrong with those at their heart, but the lack of much real narrative push or other clever bits makes the movie less engaging.

Still, Noon doesn’t overstay its welcome and it brings a better than average slice of 1980s action – at least within its B-movie peers. Go into this with a lot of suspension of disbelief and you might enjoy it.

Footnote A: Mark Haarman plays a small role as a deputy. Did he get the role because producers hoped audiences would confuse him with Mark Harmon?

Footnote B: Hans Zimmer co-wrote the film’s cheesy synthesizer score. Later in 1988, he’d provide an Oscar-nominated score for the Best Picture-winning Rain Man.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

Nightmare at Noon appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a decent but generally positive transfer.

Sharpness looked largely good. Occasional instances of softness materialized – especially during some low-lit interiors - but the majority of the film offered mostly appealing definition.

I discerned no problems related to jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes created no distractions. Grain seemed natural, and I saw no signs of print flaws.

Colors tended toward a low-key natural palette without any dominant hues, albeit one that suited the sandy remote setting. These showed perfectly reasonable range, even if they didn’t impress.

Black levels appeared reasonably dark – if a little too thick at times - while shadow detail presented acceptable delineation. Nothing here came across as impressive, but the image seemed fine.

The film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix offered a dated but generally satisfying experience, and the soundfield itself seemed to be fairly varied. Much of the track remained fairly heavily anchored to the front, but on some occasions, it spread to the other speakers.

Music showed good stereo separation, and the mix provided a solid sense of atmosphere. Small sounds cropped up in the front side channels throughout the movie, and the rears added a nice feeling of environment.

During livelier scenes, the track became more involving and the sound blended together fairly neatly for an active and useful mix. The ambience made the movie more effective and complemented the action.

Audio quality showed its age but remained acceptable for its era. Although the lines didn’t sound very distinct or natural and showed some edginess, they remained intelligible.

Music and effects were less consistent. Elmer Bernstein’s score came across as somewhat muddy. It showed an emphasis on the midrange and lower realms and lacked bright, crisp highs. While overall fidelity seemed to be acceptable for its age, it still sounded a bit blah.

Most of the effects presented fairly thin and flat tones, another artifact of their age. Distortion crept in at times too. The audio felt like a mixed bag but still more than acceptable for its era.

A few features fill out the disc, and The Films of Nico Mastorakis runs 33 minutes, 15 seconds. Billed as the third segment of a four-part documentary, this one focuses on Noon.

Director Mastorakis offers narration, and we also find on-the-set comments from actors George Kennedy and Brion James. We get general notes about the shoot as we watch footage from the set.

Expect a spotty program, as the show varies from revealing – like when Mastorakis discusses his problems with actor Wings Hauser – to banal. There’s enough here to merit a look, but the piece feels disjointed and erratic.

Behind the Scenes Cuts lasts 49 minutes, 15 seconds and shows more clips from the shoot. Despite lousy circa 1988 video quality, this becomes a fun view of the production.

With On-Set Interviews, we find segments with actors Wings Hauser (12:39), Bo Hopkins (11:06), Kimberly Beck (7:36), George Kennedy (4:28) and Brion James (17:09).

Across these, we learn about story and characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, and aspects of their careers.

Unsurprisingly, the quality of the comments varies. Reed espouses his preference for “vigilante justice” while Hauser seems wholly obnoxious.

The others tend toward fairly banal notes, without a lot of merit. While the segments reveal some decent information, they lack a lot of substance.

Note that if you watched the “Films of Nico Mastorakis” program, you’ve already seen much of what Kennedy and James say here. These interviews come from the same sessions featured in the documentary, so we get a lot of redundant footage.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we conclude with an Image Gallery. It includes 27 publicity stills as a running montage accompanied by score.

Oddly, though, the disc repeats the same photos six times across its 12 minutes, 30 seconds. Why? I have no idea, but it becomes a bizarre decision to turn 27 images into 149 frames.

A mix of horror, action and Western, Nightmare at Noon provides a slice of 1980s B-movie cheese. That said, it offers more entertainment than I anticipated, even if it always shows its roots. The Blu-ray comes with generally positive picture and audio along with a few bonus features. Nothing here excels but the movie offers a decent diversion.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
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