American Nightmares (org. title Mr. Malevolent) is a new and very current horror anthology. I doubt any Trump supporter will like it, but otherwise, you should find it pretty damn cool. And very freaky!

American Nightmares was originally titled Mr. Malevolent. This is the name of the Danny Trejo character that brings the horror anthology together. However, there’s no doubt that the new title is much more appropriate.

Before watching the anthology, I saw user critics on IMDb calling it “left-wing propaganda”. It’s not!

But I can see why any Trump supporter would feel that it is – and it does use very dark humor to get its points across!

Deliciously crude and direct

While Amercian Nightmares is hardly propaganda, it does paint a very poignant (and therefore ugly) picture of the current situation in the United States.

And because it uses dark and crude comedy, it can come across as being too crude and direct. To me, this is exactly what makes it work. Had it not used comedy to get various points across, then there could have been an issue.

When the horror anthology first began, I was literally rolling my eyes at how bad it looked. Then you realize that this is, in fact, the point and you sit back and pay attention.

There is plenty to take in, but horror and very dark humor are at the heart of every story!

American Nightmares

Lots of familiar faces

While Danny Trejo plays the role of Mr. Malevolent, his sidekick is portrayed by none other than Nichelle Nichols. She played Uhura in the original Star Trek series from 1966.

In general, there are a lot on non-white actors. I’m sure this alone will seem like “propaganda” in itself, but that’s just sad. Showing the diversity of the United States should never be an issue.

However, make no mistake, this is very much showing the American Nightmares that many white and straight men feel they’re living right now. Everything from sexism to racism and religion (and desire for power and money) comes up across the short stories.

Oh, but don’t worry, there are “good guys” and “bad guys” among both men and women. And also across all races. A white woman and a black bishop are among the biggest villains in this anthology – though not in the same story!

This horror anthology simply flips the view of their white, straight males upside down. This allows them to see it from a different (and often uncomfortable) perspective.

American Nightmares

Tales from the Crib

American Nightmares was written and directed by Rusty Cundieff and Darin Scott. The two have divided the various short stories in the anthology between them. I’m sure you’ll find that one of them has a style you prefer.

Rusty Cundieff has worked a lot in TV and comedy while Darin Scott has done quite a bit of horror as well. Other than having had the title Mr. Malevolent, it also had the working title Tales from the Crib.

Of course, many horror fans will recognize that this is a take on the Tales from the Crypt horror series.

This horror anthology isn’t for everyone, but it should be. It mixes comedy and horror perfectly as is deliciously on-point. I enjoyed it even when I felt offended. That’s when you need to take a step back and look at what the story is really about.

American Nightmares (or Mr. Malevolent or Tales from the Crib) is out on Cinemax in the US now!

Details

Director: Darin Scott and Rusty Cundieff
Cast: Danny Trejo, Vivica A. Fox, Nichelle Nichols, Chris Kattan, Clarence Williams III, Jay Mohr.

Plot

Seven morality-themed horror tales surround Mister Malevolent (Danny Trejo), who hacks into two millennials’ computer screens and forces them to watch short video examples that reveal the consequences of various immoral crimes…

Karina

Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina

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Review Date
Reviewed Item
American Nightmares (2018)
Rating
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