|Directed by||Jack Bravman|
|Produced by||Jack Bravman|
|Screenplay by||John Fasano|
|Music by||Jon Mikl Thor|
|Edited by||David Franko|
|Distributed by||New World Pictures|
Years ago, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, a little boy named Tony Washington (Jesse D'Angelo) cheers on his father William Washington (John Fasano)'s performance in a baseball game. On their way home, Tony, William, and William's wife Louise (Francesca Bonacorsa) see two teenagers preparing to rape a young girl (Tracy Biddle). William intervenes, rescuing the girl, but one of the would-be rapists fatally stabs him, leaving him to die as the two teens flee.
In the film's present-day, Tony (Jon Mikl Thor), now a musclebound teenage baseball player, disrupts an attempted robbery at a neighborhood grocery store. As he steps into the street, he is struck dead by a car carrying by a gang of reckless teenagers: Bob (Allan Fisler), Amy (Tia Carrere), Jim (Shawn Levy), Peter (Hamish McEwan), and Susie (Manon E. Turbide). The carful of teens flees the scene, and neighbors carry Tony's corpse to his home, where his mother Louise mourns for him. She contacts Molly Mekembe, the girl whom William rescued years ago, now a local voodoo priestess (Manuska Rigaud), in hope that voodoo can save her son. While Molly is unable to restore Tony to life, she can revive him long enough to allow him to avenge his own death. After Louise agrees, Molly resurrects Tony as a zombie, then uses her powers to aid him in his revenge by guiding him to the guilty teenagers.
The next night, Tony, as a zombie, tracks Peter and Susie to an academy gymnasium and kills Peter by breaking his neck then Susie by crushing her skull with a baseball bat. The night afterwards, he is able to find and kill Jim by impaling him with the same bat before the latter could rape a waitress. Police detective Frank Sorrell (Frank Dietz) is soon investigating both incidents and initially agrees with a coroner that a large built, drug-fueled man is responsible. Sorrell brings his suspicions to his boss, police captain Tom Churchman (Adam West) and is told by him that they have already managed to find a suspect responsible that matches Sorrell's description and closes the case.
Believing that the case has not been fully solved, Sorrell investigates photos that has Molly at both incidents and suggests to Churchman that they bring her in for questioning. However the captain quickly dismisses her as a "batty, voodoo palm reader that follows ambulances around" and sends him home to rest. Shortly afterwards, Churchman contacts Jim's father, Fred, and informs him of Molly's involvement in his son's death, then tells him to come to the police station. Before Fred could leave his home, he sees Tony approaching him and shoots him with a rifle. Tony quickly recovers and breaks Fred's neck, killing him.
Knowing that they will be next, Bob and Amy decide to leave town. While at a garage getting money, Tony finds them and kills Bob by bashing his head against a car, then does the same to Amy against a door. While monitoring Tony's actions, Molly is held at gunpoint by Churchman to come with him and forced to show where Tony is going. The zombie makes his way to a cemetery with Sorrell following him. Molly and Churchman soon arrive, with both telling Sorrell that the priestess resurrected Tony to not only avenge himself, but also Molly herself as Churchman and Fred were the two that tried to rape her years ago, and that the captain was also the one who had killed Tony's father. Having learned that a revived zombie's power fades once it has achieved its goal, Churchman shoots Tony, ending his zombie existence, then shoots and kills Molly as well. Before he could do the same to Sorrell to silence him as a witness, a second zombie rises out of a nearby grave and drags the still-living Churchman into the ground with him, presumably to Hell. A shocked Sorrell inspects the grave, learns that the second zombie was William Washington, Tony's father, avenging his own death years before at Churchman's hands, then departs..
- Adam West as Capt. Tom Churchman
- Jon Mikl Thor as Tony Washington
- Tia Carrere as Amy
- Manuska Rigaud as Molly Mekembe
- Frank Dietz as Frank Sorrell
- Shawn Levy as Jim Batten
- Linda Singer as Maggie
- Alan Fisler as Bob
- Hamish McEwan as Peter
- Manon E. Turbide as Susie
- Walter Massey as Mr. Peters
Thor plays the zombie, and wrote much of the incidental music. This includes heavy metal riffs by his band, and synthesizer music played by the band Thorkestra. Several other heavy metal bands contribute to the soundtrack. The Motörhead hit "Ace of Spades" plays during the opening credits. Other bands heard on the soundtrack include Virgin Steele, Girlschool, Fist, and Death Mask, as well as a track by Thor's then wife and back up singer "Pantera" (not the band).
- Girlschool - "Future Flash"
- Girlschool - "C'mon Let's Go"
- Motörhead - "Ace of Spades"
- Fist - "Danger Zone"
- Virgin Steele - "We Rule the Night"
- Thor - "Rebirth"
- Death Mask - "I'm Dangerous"
- Battalion - "Out for the Kill"
- Pantera† - "Midnite Man"
- Knighthawk - "Zombie Life"
- The Things - "Dead Things"
†The "Pantera" that appears on the soundtrack is not the Texan heavy metal band (which was actually more of a glam band at the time) but Jon Mikl Thor's then-wife, a backup singer in his band Thor whose stage name was "Pantera".
The film was given a limited release theatrically in the United States by New World Pictures and Shapiro-Glickenhaus Entertainment in 1986. It was subsequently released on VHS by New World Home Video.
Reception to Zombie Nightmare were generally negative. Ian Jane of DVD Talk rated it 1/5 stars and wrote, "Zombie Nightmare is a horrible film by any standards but it's so deliciously goofy that you can't help but have fun with it." Brett Cullum of DVD Verdict called it "a charmingly cheap z-grade zombie thriller". Writing in The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia, academic Peter Dendle calls it "painful and toilsome".
Zombie Nightmare was also featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, a comedy television series about bad movies, in an episode broadcast on Comedy Central on November 24, 1994. In The Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, a series guide written by MST3K members, Mary Jo Pehl described the movie as "painful" and that the members of the show "thoroughly, intensely, and unequivocally hated this movie." The episode was included in the 2009 "Volume XV" box set, along with The Girl in Lovers Lane, The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy, and Racket Girls, and in 2017, the episode was added to Netflix.
- Jane, Ian (2010-10-25). "Zombie Nightmare". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2015-02-18.
- "10 of the Cheesiest Heavy Metal Horror Flicks of All Time!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2015-02-18.
- Cullum, Brett (2010-12-03). "Zombie Nightmare". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 2015-02-18.
- Dendle, Peter (2001). The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia. McFarland & Company. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-7864-9288-6.
- "Season 6, Episode 15 Zombie Nightmare". TV Guide. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
- Pehl, Mary Jo (1996). The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide. Bantam Books. p. 119. ISBN 0-553-37783-3.
- Gibron, Bill (2009-07-05). "Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XV". Popmatters. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
- Adams, Erik (2017-03-14). "20 fan-favorite MST3K episodes will hit Netflix tomorrow". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved 2017-03-26.