Reportedly produced for network television but deemed "too intense," it was released to theatres where it suffered a proper box-office death.The lackadaisical horror anthology Nightmares offers up four supposed nerve-jangling stories, and it's saying something when the most effective of them is by far the shortest in length, and even that one isn't particularly good. Any episode of television's Night Gallery is of better quality, and coming just the year after George A. Romero's brilliant anthology Creepshow hasn't done the movie any favors -- it's like a Goliath overshadowing a David. Devoid of either suspense or scares, Nightmares is more likely to induce yawns than palipations. The premise behind "Terror in Topanga," where a housewife's nicotine addiction propels her to take the car to the convenience store to get cigarettes at eleven at night when it's been widely announced on television that there's a sadistic serial killer on the loose, isn't unworkable, but it's over before it has chance to really build. It does, however, give Cristina Raines and William Sanderson, both talented, enough time to semi-shine. Next up is "Bishop of Battle" with Emilio Estevez as an underachieving high-school student obsessed with getting to the thirteenth level of a popular arcade game. He sneaks out of the house one night and breaks into the arcade to do what his fellow gamers tell him is impossible; and the bad-luck number of thirteen is appropriate (and quite unsubtle!) given the havoc that gets wreaked as a result -- nothing to enthrall us, mind you, given the shoddy special effects and ultra-stupid resolution. In "The Benediction" Lance Henriksen displays fine screen presence as a conflicted priest who hangs up the white collar and leaves his Southwest-desert church to start a new life, but before he's driven more than a mile a menacing-looking black truck with black-tinted windows begins terrorizing him on the lonely highway stretches, with a bucket of holy water saving the day in the end. Inadequate action scenes sink this blatant cross between Duel and The Car. Finally there's the asinine "Night of the Rat" involving a couple and their young daughter terrorized by a 17th century "devil rodent" in their fancy suburban house. Enough said. (Check out the similar, far-superior Of Unknown Origin instead.) Then again, should one have expected quality from the director of Jaws: The Revenge and two screenwriters responsible for Blood Beach and the TV series B.J. and the Bear? Suffice to say, the makers of Nightmares could screw up a wet dream.Thankfully, it didn't spawn a sequel!