Directors: Phillip Noyce, Armand Mastroianni, Christopher Leitch, John Harrison, Wes Craven
Starring: Jack Coleman, Robert Englund, Lindsay Frost, Andrew Airlie, Brandon Quintin Adams
Nightmare Cafe is a weird little establishment that lies between life and death. Frank and Fay both end up being trapped there after losing their lives on the very same night. They meet a strange cornball fella named Blackie there and are given a chance give a final touch to their lives and make some things right.
After they have done that, they are kept around in the diner to help lost souls that come walking through the door, needing guidance in their lives. The guests that come in is from all walks of life and while some are good people that need help, others are living a bad life and needs to be scared straight.
Nightmare Cafe is a TV shows shown on NBC. This was a Wes Craven creation and he co-wrote all six episodes, directed one of them (the last episode, which was also the worst) and is also credited as an executive producer. It didn’t last very long and only six episodes were made before it was cancelled due to low ratings.
The show went from being a serious drama, a thriller, a mystery and even a wacky comedy depending on the episodes. It starts out interesting enough with the first episode, but as soon as the second episode is done it becomes easy to see how this show didn’t last very long.
The concept of the diner was interesting, but they could honestly have done a lot more with it then just making it have guests come in each week with their different stories. The characters are lackluster and most of the stories gets dull quickly. It feels like there wasn’t a focus on what the show was really supposed to be about. Was the diner only there to tell stories in a Twilight Zone way or was they supposed to tell more about its origin? Where we supposed to get more backstory on the Blackie character? I guess we’ll never know for sure.
I also have to question the idea of making the ridiculous sixth episode Aliens Ate My Lunch. It was way to wacky and stupid, making it feel way out of place with the rest of the episodes. Especially coming after the most sappy episode Sanctuary for a Child.
Blackie is played by the horror hero Robert Englund. He is playful and a bit over the top, obviously cashing in a bit on his Freddy fame here. There are some few hints that he might be the devil or something like that, but we’re never told his full story. Englund is always fun to watch and he does bring more life to his character than any of the others do.
Jack Coleman plays Frank, who was a watchman on a chemical plant were he witnessed toxic waste being dumped in the ocean. This episode ends up costing his life. Frank is a very normal looking guy who could easily have walked into a TV soap show if he wanted. He does have some sarcastic humor, but he doesn’t have that much interesting to keep the viewer wanting to watch him in multiple episodes.
Lindsay Frost plays Fay, who was dating the owner of the same chemical plant. She finds out that he is cheating on her and she finds some hidden documents of his and threaten to bring them to the police and this is what causes her death in the end. Fay is just the same as Frank, very dull character that you don’t really want to watch in more than the first episode. She even becomes kind of annoying after the first episodes.
Nightmare Cafe was laid to rest after only six episodes and I think that was a wise decision. The pilot does have some promise, mostly regarding the mystery of the cafe, but it becomes a bad and tedious Twilight Zone show instead. For big fans of Wes Craven or Robert Englund only.