Let me describe a movie and you see if you can guess what it is. A select type of people can use their psychic abilities to enter people’s dreams and help them defeat whatever is causing them nightmares. The myth of whether you die in your sleep is, in fact, real and one crazy psychic dream walker likes to grow knives on his fingers and hunt you down in your dream. If you said A Nightmare on Elm Street, I would slap you as what I just said doesn’t sound anything like that movie.
Okay, writer Chuck Russell did, in fact, write Dreamscape and happened to go on and write/direct A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, but that is all I’m willing to give you. Dreamscape is its own movie and it’s one that piles on some good times. We have horror, action, sci-fi and comedy and a damn fine Blu-ray from Scream Factory. What is not to love?
Oh, you wanted the R cut of the flick that featured a tiny bit more nudity? Well, boo-hoo, you ain’t getting it.
RUN-TIME: 99 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
AUDIO: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0
PRODUCTION DATE: 1984
RELEASE DATE: Dec 13, 2016
Close Your Eyes And The Adventure Begins.
Alex Gardner (Dennis Quaid) is a man with an incredible psychic gift… but for years has used it solely for personal gain. Reuniting with his old mentor, Dr. Novotny (Max von Sydow), Gardner joins a government project in which he learns to channel his abilities in order to enter peoples’ subconscious through their dreams. As his powers grow, the young psychic soon finds himself in a living nightmare of conspiracy and murder… and the only way out is to go back in.
A sleeper hit on its initial release, Dreamscape’s reputation as a classic of ’80s genre entertainment has only grown over the years. From its impressive cast – including Christopher Plummer, Kate Capshaw, Eddie Albert, David Patrick Kelly, and George Wendt – to behind-the-camera talent such as director Joseph Ruben (The Stepfather) and co-writer Chuck Russell (A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, 1988’s The Blob), Dreamscape is a rousing mix of science fiction, adventure, and horror beyond your wildest imagination.
Something is troubling the President of the United States. Every night he goes to sleep, he dreams of an America ravaged by nuclear war. Can anything save him? Well, it just so happens that a man by the name of Dr. Novotny (Max von Sydow) is running an experiment at a University that allows certain psychics to enter people’s dreams and actually take part in shaping the dream. Alex Gardner (Dennis Quaid) is one such man who joins the program, not exactly on his own free will, and helps out many troubled dreamers. One case , in particular, has him facing a nightmarish snake monster in a boys dream. The boy happens to go by the name of Buddy, who on a completely unrelated note looks like the kid in Halloween III, also named Buddy. That’s some freaky shit right there.
This wouldn’t be an action/horror movie if there wasn’t some sinister plot at play, potentially involving Bob Blair (Christopher Plummer). We also have a fellow psychic dream walker/murderous psycho, Tommy Ray Glatman (David Patrick Kelly). You know Glatman is creepy cause he puts someone else’s saxophone in his mouth. Gross.
Dreamscape, unfortunately, has a habit of serving up a pretty disjointed plot at times. One side plot that involves Cheers star George Wendt, seems like a completely random story point that doesn’t bring much to the movie. We already know some weird stuff is going down, we don’t need a redshirt spelling the plot out for us.
I do rather enjoy Dreamscape, disjointed plot and all. It’s got some trippy dream sequences, some with plenty of laughs. There are moments of unintentional hilarity with the cheesy effects, but for the most part, the film offers up some solid looking set pieces. The train sequence with the gnarled passengers was pretty damn freaky.
Why the film didn’t do better I’m not sure. Maybe it didn’t come out at the right time. Even Dennis Quaid says he feels like the movie is from the 70s and with the Cold War nuclear plot running front and centre, it may have been a bigger success if the movie came out earlier, instead of when the Cold War was starting to wind down. Either way, Dreamscape offers up enough entertainment to please fans of multiple genres.
The transfer on Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release can look a bit rough at times, with some dirt and debris, with the occasional flickering. Nevertheless, the film’s cleaned up tremendously with the new 2K scan and I personally think it’s never looked better. The same goes for the two audio options of DTS-HD 5.1 and 2.0. I listened in 5.1 and I was quite happy with the surround sound channel use. It isn’t crazy, but the soundscape is pleasing to the ears.
Special Feature fans are going to go gaga over the features on this one. We have a rather lengthy (1 hour) interview session with several different people. We also have some interviews with Chuck Russell and Craig Reardon. Not listed on the packaging, we have a new interview with Dennis Quaid, whose bulging biceps make me feel less like a man. I haven’t even mentioned the audio commentary with Bruce Cohn Curtis, David Loughery and Craig Reardon (this is an older DVD commentary). This is one packed Blu-ray.
This is one packed Blu-ray.
- NEW 2K Scan Of The Film
- NEW “The Actor’s Journey” – Interview With Dennis Quaid
- NEW “Dreamscapes And Dreammakers” Retrospective Including Brand-New Interviews With Director Joseph Ruben, Co-Writer David Loughery, Actor David Patrick Kelly And Other Members Of The Special Effects Team
- NEW “Nightmares And Dreamsnakes” – Looking Back At The Snakeman With Craig Reardon, David Patrick Kelley And Others
- NEW In-Depth Conversation Between Bruce Cohn Curtis And Co-Writer/Producer Chuck Russell
- Audio Commentary With Bruce Cohn Curtis, David Loughery And Craig Reardon
- Snake Man Test Footage
- Still Gallery
- Theatrical Trailer
Dreamscape’s tone skirts along the borders of comedy, action, sci-fi and horror and it succeeded in each one. The film’s nightmare set pieces are wonderful and Dennis Quaid is stealing the show with his don’t give a damn, cheerful attitude. Scream Factory knocks the Blu-ray out of the park with plenty of special features and an eye pleasing 2K transfer. Be sure to buy it.