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SYFY WIRE Mickey Rourke

Joe Dante meets Mickey Rourke in eerie clip from horror anthology Nightmare Cinema

By Jacob Oller
Nightmare Cinema poster - the faceless

Horror anthologies are always awesome. Whether they’re recounting The ABCs of Death or telling Tales from the Crypt, a group of ghost stories told over a cinematic campfire is a good time waiting to happen. Now, a new entry into this classic genre construction is on its way — and we’ve got a sneak peek at it.

Nightmare Cinema is an upcoming R-rated horror anthology from some of the most recognizable directors in horror, including Alejandro Brugués, Ryûhei Kitamura, David Slade, Mick Garris, and Joe Dante.

Speaking to SYFY WIRE, Dante explains that he enjoys working on anthology projects because he gets opportunity to do something "offbeat and experimental" because "if people think [your story] is too weird, there's one ahead and behind it."

This anthology in particular combines its disparate tales with one of the more fun framing devices in the canon: The collection of spooky tales comes by way of a mysterious figure known as the Projectionist. And he’s played by Mickey Rourke.

This beefy shadow dealer shows five victims their deepest fears in order to “prey upon their souls,” according to a release. And now you can meet him, as SYFY WIRE debuts an exclusive clip from Dante’s segment (and the first segment in the film), “Mirari.”

Check it out:

The curator of a hundred years of nightmares, Mickey Rourke. Awesome. Also featured in the clip is Zarah Mahler, who’ll star in the Richard Christian Matheson-written episode alongside Richard Chamberlain. Dante explained that he pared down the scope of his story, shooting mainly in one location and without too many characters, since some of the others in Nightmare Cinema are "fairly elaborate."

The reason why it opens the film is similarly practical. "My story was originally much later in the lineup," Dante said, "I went to Mick Garris and said, 'Everybody else has so many scary faces. If I only have a couple in mine, it's gonna look lame. Put me early in the story so my scary faces come out first.'"

And there were a few other changes and additions. In fact, that framing device came after the segment was completed. Garris directed it after the stories were done — since Dante started shooting without even knowing Rourke and his haunted movie theater would be the element linking everything together. But with the Cryptkeeper competition Rourke offers, the hope from Garris and Dante both is that Nightmare Cinema will lead to "a series" or at least "a couple of other movies" that follow in its anthological footsteps.

SYFY WIRE also has an exclusive character poster for the film:

Nightmare Cinema poster - the faceless

Fans can see more when Nightmare Cinema hits theaters and VOD on June 21.