The Nightmare Begins When You Wake Up


The film opens to three college girls, shy Terry, who can't escape her overbearing mother, Nancy, the pretty wild girl, and Gloria, the quiet awkward blonde, all getting ready to leave for a jazz concert. After Terry unsuccessfully tells her mother about the trip, the trio of friends leave, driving through the pretty wilderness that surrounds their little town. A thunderstorm begins to appear, when Nancy, speeding down the road, runs over a log, plummeting the car into a steep ravine. Terry awakes to find her and her friends alive, but sheltered in an old mansion in the middle of nowhere, owned by the Penrose's, Marion and her mother, and their groundskeeper/doctor friend, Norman. Gloria is the only one with serious injuries, so Marion suggests that they spend the night until Gloria is able to leave with them. Terry and Nancy are then invited to dinner, with Marion and her old, crippled mother, who berrates Marion at every chance she gets, calling her a slut and a whore. Mrs. Penrose then goes off on a tyrant on how men are the worst things on earth, especially her ex-husband who cheated on her, and ruins dinner for everyone. The four then make their way to the living room and listen to Marion play the piano, while outside, a dirtied, grubbish man appears, roaming around and looking menacingly into the windows.

That night, Terry and Nancy begin to discuss how weird the family is at the house, and Terry finds a tooth under her bed. Nancy then decides that one of them should go through the woods into town and get help, and flips a coin, finding that she's the one who has to do it. Later that night, Terry awakes to hear a man breathing heavily upstairs, as though he's masturbating, and wakes Nancy, but the breathing stops. The next morning, Terry and Nancy take a shower, while someone watches through a peep hole in the wall. Then the two tell Marion of their plan, and Marion says it's a good idea, telling Terry to go get firewood. Nancy then sets off through the woods, while Terry is frightened away from the shed out back by Marion, who tells her it's full of loose timbers. Nancy, makes it through the thick forest, only to be gorily slashed to death by a figure with a long scythe. That night, Terry finds that Nancy hasn't returned and becomes worried, but Mrs. Penrose and Marion assure she's probably okay, as once again, dinner is ruined by Mrs. Penrose's views on men and her daughter. That night, Terry once again hears the breathing, and goes to see who it is, finding an abandoned little kids room with black and white pictures of two little kids, and an old tool belt with a dusty gun and machete. She goes back downstairs, only to see the dirty, grubby man outside her window, and runs screaming down the stairs into Marion's arms. Marion then calms her down and tells her that the man is Carl, her brother who has the mind of a five year old, and who their mother abandoned when she gave up on men. She insists that he is harmless, and Terry goes back to bed.

The next day, Terry is once again worried about where Nancy is, and Marion assures her that she's probably in town right then. Terry then goes up to see Gloria, who has become conscious now, and the two begin to discuss on ways to get out of the house, while the same person watches through another peep hole in the wall. Terry then goes outside to talk to Norman, and asks if he's seen Nancy, telling him that she went through the woods, only to have Norman freak out and warn her about a couple of girls disappearing in the woods around there. Night comes, and someone sneaks into Gloria's room with an axe and while she's sleeping, hits her in the head. Terry goes upstairs and finds Gloria's room empty, and asks Marion where she is, Marion tells her, she went outside for a breath of fresh air, so Terry goes outside. She calls for Gloria, and is then chased by Carl, finally hiding in the shed, and finding the bodies of her two butchered friends, and the other girls that disappeared, all cut up and slaughtered. Carl breaks through the window and tries to grab her, and she runs for the house, running all the way into the kid's room. She takes out the dusty gun and shoots Carl in the head, while Marion comes running up screaming. Terry tells her that Carl killed the girls, but then watches in horror, as Marion drops her woman voice, and grabs the machete. She realizes that Marion is actually Mrs. Penrose's other son, as she glimpses his chest hair, and he stabs her to death with the machete. He explains that he pretended to be a girl to stay with his mother, and that he killed all the girls, as Mrs. Penrose calls Marion to come downstairs. Marion then begins to talk like a girl, saying that she'll be down in a few minutes.











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Directed by Don Gronquist
Produced by Don Gronquist
Written by Don Gronquist
Reagan Ramsey
Starring Laurel Munson
Janet Penner
Music by Jon Newton
Distributed by  
Release date(s) 1982
Running time 79 min
Language English