British quad poster
Directed byFreddie Francis
Written byJimmy Sangster[2]
Produced byJimmy Sangster[2]
CinematographyJohn Wilcox[2]
Edited byJames Needs[2]
Music byDon Banks[2]
Distributed byRank Film Distributors
Release dates
  • 19 April 1964 (1964-04-19) (London)
  • 31 May 1964 (1964-05-31) (United Kingdom)
Running time
82 minutes[2]
CountryUnited Kingdom[1]

Nightmare is a 1964 British horror film directed by Freddie Francis and starring Jennie Linden. It was written by Jimmy Sangster, who also produced the film for Hammer Films.[1][3] The film focuses on a young girl in a finishing school who is plagued by nightmares concerning her institutionalized mother.


Janet, a girl at finishing school who six years earlier saw her mother stab her father to death, is plagued by nightmares. (Her mother, following the tragedy, was committed to an asylum.) Miss Lewis, a teacher, takes Janet home and in the absence of Henry Baxter, Janet's guardian, they are met by John, the chauffeur; Mrs. Gibbs, the housekeeper; and Grace Maddox, an attractive nurse-companion hired by Henry. Miss Lewis leaves Janet in Grace's care.

The nightmares continue: a white-shrouded woman roams the corridors, inviting Janet to burst into her parents' room, where she finds the same woman on the bed with a knife in her chest. When Henry returns, he finds Janet under sedation; her doctors recommend psychiatric care but he refuses and Janet tries to commit suicide.

Henry's wife comes to tea and, because she seems to be the woman in Janet's nightmares, Janet stabs the woman to death and is promptly committed to an institution. The woman in white is revealed to be Grace, disguised with a wig and mask and conspiring with Henry. They marry, but Grace begins believing that Henry is trying to drive her mad. Under the impression that Janet has escaped from the asylum, Grace stabs Henry to death, expecting Janet to be blamed. However, Mrs Lewis, Mrs Gibb and John reveal that they were on to Grace and Henry's plan to drive Janet crazy and decided to get revenge on the both of them and reveals that Janet is recovering well. Grace finally snaps before being brought to justice.



Jennie Linden was an 11th hour casting choice replacing Julie Christie who dropped out to do the film Billy Liar. The film was shot with the working title Here's the Knife Dear: Now Use It.[4]


Nightmare had its public premiere at the New Victoria Theatre in London on 19 April 1964.[2] It received a general release in the United Kingdom on 31 May 1964 by Rank Film Distributors in support of The Evil of Frankenstein.[2]

In the United States, the film received a DVD release through Universal Pictures in an eight-film set titled The Hammer Horror Series on 6 September 2005.[5] This set was re-released on Blu-ray on 13 September 2016.

The film was released on 28 November 2016 in the United Kingdom on a Region B Blu-ray disc.[6]

On 28 June 2021 Nightmare was released in Europe as part of Powerhouse Films' Hammer Volume Six: Night Shadows limited edition Blu-ray box set.[7]


This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December 2015)

In a contemporary review, the Monthly Film Bulletin described the film as a "quasi-Diaboliques" and stated that it "evidently proved an increasing burden of late for the writer, Jimmy Sangster, in his efforts to find even the slightest variations." It described the film as "predictable."[1]

AllMovie called the film an "effective little chiller that packs a surprising punch for a film of its age."[8]


  1. ^ a b c d "Nightmare". Monthly Film Bulletin. Vol. 31, no. 365. British Film Institute. June 1964. p. 90.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Fellner 2019, p. 317.
  3. ^ Meehan 2010, p. 195.
  4. ^ Huckvale 2014, p. 113.
  5. ^ Erickson, Glenn. "DVD Savant Review: The Hammer Horror Series". DVD Talk. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  6. ^ Coffel, Chris (19 October 2016). "Hammer Films' 'Nightmare' to Make Blu-ray Debut!". Bloody-Disgusting. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  7. ^ Fraser, Mark (28 October 2021). "Review: "Nightmare" Shows No Pity For Tormented Dreamer". Top 10 Films. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  8. ^ Guarisco, Donald. "Nightmare (1963) - Review - AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 16 August 2012.