80’s Horror Film Offers Unique View of Brevard

still from Nightmares in a Damaged Brain
still from Nightmares in a Damaged Brain

In 1981, Italian filmmaker Romano Scavolini filmed a low-budget horror film in and around Brevard County. The film, Nightmares in a Damaged Brain, was released with little notice in October of 1981 but in1983 the film would become infamous for appearing on the United Kingdom’s “Video Nasty” list which included 74 films that were deemed inappropriate for UK audiences and subsequently banned from video stores nationwide. Despite being an under-the-radar film released during the 80’s slasher craze, Nightmare’s placement on this list has given it a cult following amongst horror movie aficionados.

A still showcasing River Road and The Hubert Humphry Bridge
A still showcasing River Road and The Hubert Humphry Bridge

For residents of Space Coast, however, the film serves as a time capsule for the locale of our area in the 1980’s. Apart from a scene taking place in New York City’s Time’s Square, the entirety of the film takes place in Brevard County. A lot of the houses are nondescript but there are many shots that feature our pristine beaches, scenic Indian River Road in Cocoa, and the Hubert Humphrey Bridge. A few other county landmarks serve as locations such as Merritt Island’s The Aladdin Motel and the long-departed Gatsby’s Restaurant and Lounge in Cocoa Beach.

Gatsby's in Cocoa Beach from Nightmare in a Damaged Brain.
Gatsby's in Cocoa Beach from Nightmare in a Damaged Brain.

The film itself, definitely not for the squeamish, is run-of-the-mill but offers a unique view of the county that has changed so much since the early 80’s. The film is currently being restored by Code Red DVD for a domestic release. So if you are a horror fan or just want to reminisce about the Brevard County of yesteryear then this film is worth looking into!

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