Rodney Ascher made his big-screen debut with the documentary Room 237, which gave voice to crazy fan theories about The Shining, and in the process explored the ways we interact with films and our assumptions about filmmakers. Now Ascher is tackling a subject that is much closer to home for some people: sleep paralysis.
In The Nightmare, Ascher interviews subjects who suffer from sleep paralysis — where one is awake, but completely unable to move, and sometimes beset by hallucinations — and then recreates these very personal visions and terrors. The result is a film Germain called “absolutely horrifying” when it premiered at Sundance.
Check out The Nightmare trailer after the jump. Read More »
Last week, South By South West announced their 2015 feature film lineup. Today they have returned to announce the full SXSW midnight movies and shorts line-up. After the jump you will find the press release with the new program information. Notable films include Rodney Ascher‘s The Nightmare and RKSS Collective‘s Turbo Kid, two films which played at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, as well as the world premieres of Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation, Adam Mason’s Hangman and more.. The complete Conference lineup & schedule will be released on February 17th. Hit the jump for the SXSW 2015 midnight movies and shorts lineup.
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The last thing you probably ever want to see is a literal recreation of your deepest, darkest nightmares. In The Nightmare, director Rodney Ascher (Room 237) has done just that. The film explores the condition commonly referred to as “sleep paralysis.” That’s a condition where someone is in bed, but totally physically immobilized. Some who suffer from the condition – including the eight subjects in this documentary – feel they are visited by something evil during these periods. Ascher lets these subjects tell their stories, then we watch them play out on screen. It’s absolutely horrifying, if not wholly rewarding. Read more of our The Nightmare review below. Read More »
Briefly: The first film from Rodney Ascher, Room 237, investigated horror by diving into the deep strangeness that develops when film fans take the auteur theory so seriously that they can’t imagine that Stanley Kubrick didn’t have specific intent in mind when he assembled parts of The Shining.
Ascher’s next film will be another documentary, and one which focuses on a different sort of real-life horror. The Nightmare will be “a disturbing investigation into the demonic visions experienced by victims of sleep paralysis and provoked by Ascher’s own unsettling experiences with the condition.” The doc likely takes its name from the painting of the same title, seen above. Henry Fuseli painted the image in 1781 as a vision of sleep paralysis rooted in demonic visitation.
Sleep paralysis can manifest in slightly different ways, but in general it is a condition where a person finds themselves unable to move during a period between sleep and waking; it can be associated with fears of imminent threats that the paralysis leaves the sufferer unable to react to or escape from.