Rodney Asher is the director of the new documentary, The Nightmare. The film tells the stories of eight people who live with a terrifying disorder called sleep paralysis. During sleep paralysis sufferers wake up to find themselves unable to move or speak, and many experience extremely vivid and frightening visual and auditory hallucinations. While doctors have some understanding of this phenomena, there are aspects of it that are harder to explain, like why people who have never met, or even heard of the disorder, seem to have the same kinds of visions, often seeing ghostly figures they call “shadow men”. This has lead many to believe that sleep paralysis is much more that just a sleep disorder.
For The Nightmare, Rodney shot surreal dramatizations of his subject’s sleep paralysis visions, and in addition to the ubiquitous shadow men, we learn about encounters with otherworldly beings, demons, and out of body experiences. Rodney has actually experienced sleep paralysis himself, so when I talked with him a few weeks ago we talked about his own experience, horror films and his new documentary.
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