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4.3 out of 5 stars34
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 19 April 2005
Up until the recent Doctor Who the BBC have treated Science Fiction and horror titles with some contempt (look at the last few series of DR Who, the budget couldn't match the creative content). But back in the eighties they still took it seriously. This, along with Day of the Triffids, is an excellent example of what the BBC was capable of.
Only ever broadcast the once this is a 4 part series. Set on a remote Scottish island a new resident is torn apart shortly after getting of the boat. The fact that she has been torn apart by hands alone leads to some rather unusual conclusions. Is thise a monster or could it be an alien from another world.
This series is well acted and is extremely well done. My only critiscism is that in modern terms the ending is a bit more obvious than I would like, but this is more to do with the period that the series was made (and the book written).
The DVD package is a bit minimal, there are no real extra's to this series. This again is to do with the age of the series and there would probably be no real promotion to this series.
One word of advice, do not read the excellent booklet until after you have watched the DVD as there is a very minor spoiler in it about the ending.
All in all an excellent show.
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on 3 June 2014
This is a 4-part sci-fi/horror serial broadcast by the BBC in 1981. Never repeated, it seems to be largely forgotten amongst other more illustrious sci-fi shows of the era. It is fairly closely based (albeit with sex and violence toned down) on a 1978 novel by dentist David Wiltshire, which explains which the hero of the story is a dentist!
If you're a fan of British TV sci-fi, your interest will probably be piqued when you learn that it was scripted and directed by Robert Holmes and Douglas Camfield respectively - two men who often are cited as the among the best working in telly at that time (for instance responsible for many of the best episodes of Dr Who, Blakes 7, The Sweeny...and even Juliet Bravo ;)
I have to say that I don't think this serial ranks as the best thing either of them did. It's more "not bad" than "really good". Set on a Herbridean Island, the story starts as quite suspenseful, but perhaps turns into a bit of an 'info dump' when the resolution is revealed. The excellent Maurice Roeves probably gives the strongest performance as a Glaswegian police inspector, but I'm maybe less impressed by the heroic dentist who is a bit plummy and awkward (mind you, dentists aren't usually noted for their charisma, so maybe that's good characterisation! ;)
The serial was shot on location on outside broadcast video, which was never the most flattering or atmospheric of visual mediums, and this DVD doesn't appear to have much picture enhancement to help that - the quality is pretty 'adequate'.
All in all, not exactly top-drawer stuff, but if you're a fan of old British sci-fi you may well enjoy it.
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on 4 April 2005
I watched The Nightmare man when it went out way back in 1981 (I was 9) and it scared me to death. I only had vague memories of bits and pieces of the actual story, but the oppressive atmosphere and gurgling shrieks of the creature were still razor sharp a few years later. Luckily, I met someone who had taped it from the TV when it screened and he gave me a copy. This was when I was 17 and it still gave me the shivers. It's true that the production values are very 80s and there is some duff dialogue, but Maurice Roeves and especially Jonathan Newth are exemplary. My favourite line is "Have you noticed something - we've all started (calling the killer) 'It' ". I would recommend this serial to anyone, but watch it in the dark and alone...
Alex Durrans (on my wife's email)
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 November 2014
This was broadcast in 81 and having just watched it today I have to say I thought it was great. Bits of it were a little dated but they didn't get in the way. Watching the isolated community come to terms with the horror in their midst was a real treat. The island setting really helped as did the well dressed sets and the location shots. The misty moors gave the whole thing a "hound of the baskervilles" type feeling. James Warwick does a fine job as the lead who stumbles upon a gruesom scene whilst golfing and he's ably assisted by a young Celia Imrie. The supporting cast do a decent enough job although one or two actors aren't great. 80's TV doesn't provide the kind or gore, action or special effects we're used to these days but I found it engrossing stuff and the story is really interesting. Thanks to Amazon for the recommendation and to the other reviewers for letting me know what I was in for! The DVD comes with a booklet of viewing notes which I found excellent reading!
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on 27 June 2013
I was very pleasantly surprised when viewing this for the first time,as it surpassed all my expectations and delivered on all fronts.
Very atmospheric,spooky,and at times the plot moved along at a steady pace,but to be honest,sometimes that is a good thing.Being of a certain age I'm not really a fan of the rollercoaster fast editing,shaky and up close camerawork and complicated plot so beloved of the current crop of modern TV dramas/thrillers.
Of course what swayed me to purchase this was the fact that it was written by Robert Holmes and directed by Douglas Camfield(magnificently in my opinion)both of whom are responsible for some of the most popular and classic Doctor Who stories of the 1970s.
Although shot on videotape,I feel this enriches the atmosphere immensely,making it-along with the equally brilliant incidental music-a very moody and sinister piece of drama.The plot is uncomplicated and very easy to follow,and I for one did not see where it was going and was swept along until the final episode when all the plot strands come together,with some nice twists and turns to form a very satisfactory denouement.
I also have to mention the superb cast who all did an admirable job.The familiar Scottish actors James Cosmo and Maurice Roeves,and it was delightful to see a very young Celia Imrie,long before she joined Victoria Wood's repertory company and became the manageress of the infamous and so very funny "Acorn Antiques".
Yes I can't praise this serial enough as it definitely takes you back to a bygone TV age of classic and watchable drama.Highly recommended.
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I purchased this DVD purely on the strength of the other reviews and, am glad to report, have not been disappointed!

Positively oozing with atmosphere every bit as thick as the "pea-souper" enveloping the Scottish isle, this is crying out to be watched in a darkened room late one night! Reminiscent of the Quatermass style, The Nightmare Man contains very little actual gore but effectively lets the viewer's imagination fill in the gaps until the final revelation (don't worry, no spoilers here!). The sheer isolation of the community (remember this was long before mobile phones) is brilliantly depicted. There is a wonderful cosiness about the various locations - from the local pub to lonely crofts, the remote coastguard station and, of course, the police station, where the whisky-swilling, chain-smoking coppers are superbly evocative of life before nanny-state Britain! This contrasts effectively with the growing terror of something unknown and unimaginable out there in the fog.

I defy you not to watch all four episodes in one sitting (preferably with a glass of Laphroaig by your side)!

No extras of any kind on the DVD, but the booklet containing viewing notes is admirably comprehensive.

At this heavily discounted price, The Nightmare Man is an absolute snip!
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on 2 October 2013
Firstly, don't buy this if you want the latest CGI-filled bloodfest - it's a 1980s BBC production after all. But - it still holds up well; like other reviewers I had a half-remembered recollection of a scary "rampaging alien" story set on a foggy Scottish Island from my late teens. Fair enough, the "fog" obscures the actors but the background scenery 1/2 a mile away is perfectly clear - the BBC obviously couln't afford a large enough smoke machine! The acting is surprisingly good for a BBC series 30 years old, and the horror is there, along with a reasonable amount of blood and gore, with a well-constructed script that has some dry humour in it. The cast was very high-powered in its day - Celia Imrie, Maurice Roeves, James Cosmo - and very young Jeff Stewart (Reg Hollis in The Bill), in what appears to have been his first credited role. The village is actually Port Isaac, Cornwall - so you can play "spot the difference" between how it was in 1980 and now in "Doc Martin". All in all, worth £9.99 for 2 hours viewing.
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on 30 March 2005
First let me say that I'm reviewing this serial based on the terrified recollections of a 10 year old in 1981 - if my memory has failed me and this DVD turns out to be rubbish I apologise (but I doubt it will!).
THE NIGHTMARE MAN is the last time I recall something on television actually scaring me - By that I mean REALLY, heart-quickening palpatation scary. The plot is simple - Something is brutally murdering the populace of a remote Scottish island that has become cut off from the mainland by fog. Clues arise that point to the 'beast' being of extraterrestrial origin, but it soon emerges that far more is going on that meets the eye. To say more would spoil the surprise - It certainly surprised me originally, but with hindsight I suspect I would have guessed the outcome had I viewed the serial as an adult. Still, the quality performances and atmospheric locations still make this an essential genre piece to own on DVD.
Particularly lodged in my memory are the spooky cliffhangers - Episode 1 ends with the creature bursting into a camper's tent as a camera automatically photographs the murder, and episode 2 sees the staff at an under-seige coast guard station locking all the doors and windows only to discover that they've trapped the creature in with them. The opening title music made my skin crawl and the fleeting glimpses of the monster, whether seen in shadow or captured on still photograph and audio tape (evil, gutteral laughter as it murders the camper) all conspire to make this a definitive horror story to watch on a dark night.
No way would this sort of thing be made today so lap up this DVD and enjoy - I only ever watched it on a black and white portable television so I'm hoping the all-colour presentation doesn't dull the experience. I've been angry with the BBC ever since THE NIGHTMARE MAN was screened, as "Points of View" (then presented by Barry Took) featured nothing but praise for the series from viewers and promised a repeat screening - That repeat never happened, so this release is LONG overdue!
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on 30 September 2013
By modern (2013) standards you can 'see the gaps' a bit in the production standards and techniques but that doesn't detract too much. The story is gripping enough and you don't lose interest. The props are a bit too obviously plywood as well. The plot is good enough and despite the violence of the story line there is little or no blood and gore as is typical of a budget television programme of this time. The acting is all good though. My biggest criticism would be that as the story is set in a fog bound island often at night some of the scenes were so dark I couldn't see a picture. This may have been because the CRT televisions of the day had different characteristics and many may still have been a black and white picture.
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on 11 July 2009
This is a BBC adaptation of he 1978 book Child of the Vodayanoi by David Wiltshire retitled The Nightmare Man , rather aptly retitled as I can remember watching it aged 12 when it was shown for the first and only time in 1981 and it scared me half to death.

It was made by two people who were involved in a lot of Dr Whos best adventures Robert Holmes and David Camfield and has even been described as an adult Dr Who or like a Dr Who story without the Dr. It has atmosphere galore , is truly eerie and creepy and has fantastic performances from all the actors especially Maurice Roeves and James Cosmo as the Islands two Police offcers who really work well together and one other notable thing is that they cast Scots actors to play Scots characters as opposed to nowdays when you would have a Brit or American playing them.

The story is set on a remote Scots Island that gets cut off from the mainland in bad weather where something not quite Human is running around and ripping the locals to pieces , this may sound like a cheesy cliched Horror movie but trust me it is so creepy that it still sends shivers down my spine watching it again ( And I am nearly 40 ) the FX are what you would expect from 1981 but they work well and are well done for I imagine they had a tight budget , and for a Horror it is not very gruesome or graphic but is pretty nasty in places leaving your own imagination to do the work.You get brief glimpses of the killer but as the episodes progress you see more and more but like all good horrors and chillers this is done sparingly and there is more speculation by the main characters about what the killer is .

All in all if you did not watch this the first time around I recommend you catch it this time , if you did see it the first time them like me you probably want to see it again and remember being scared half to death the first time .

I would highly recommend that you watch the DVD first as it has no special features but comes with a very detailed booklet which if read before watching will give a lot away .
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