Ah the 80s. In horror and sci fi there have been many movies that are just batshit crazy over the years but the 80s really seem to take the cake. One of the craziest…and most enjoyable for me had to have been Dreamscape. It was directed by Joseph Ruben who isn’t exactly a household name but has actually directed a pretty great lineup of films such as the cult classic The Stepfather, the excellent James Woods thriller True Believer, the box office smash Sleeping with the Enemy, the Macaulay Culkin thriller The Good Son, and the Julianne Moore drama The Forgotten. But in 1984 at the height of the popularity of summer blockbusters, Ruben directed a movie that kinda tried to cram every element of every popular movie into one insane flick called Dreamscape.
Alex Gardner (Dennis Quaid) is a young psychic who is recruited by a government agency into a program researching an experimental dream sharing technology. Alex is soon caught up in a plot to use the technology to commit assassinations within people’s dreams, possibly to be used in a Presidential assassination attempt. Now Alex must use his abilities to try and save the President and stop the maniacal psychic hired to commit the crime.
Dreamscape has a million ideas and tries to implement them all. It is horror, adventure, sci fi, drama, and romance all rolled up into one effects laden spectacle. And the effects are pure 80s cheese. The filmmakers obviously had aspirations that were far beyond their budget but that didn’t stop them from trying. Just look at the original movie poster for the film, it had Indiana Jones written all over it even though the movie has very little in common with that series of films (except for also starring Kate Capshaw). But what you do get is a little bit of Brainstorm, a little bit of A Nightmare on Elm St (released the same year), and a guy with a cobra for a head. Yup, you heard that right. Just check out the movie, trust me. Within this unique and very entertaining and bizarre movie is a stellar cast including Quaid, Capshaw, Max Von Sydow, George Wendt Eddie Albert and Christopher Plummer. This one should definitely be filed under ‘you have to see it to believe it’. But the fun factor cannot be denied.
The new Dreamscape Collectors Edition from Scream Factory is pretty damn awesome featuring a new 2K scan of the movie, a new interview with Dennis Quaid, a fantastic new retrospective documentary on the film, a new look at the special effects, a new conversation with the writer and more.