Blu-ray Review: Dream Demon (1988)

July 23, 2020

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Ol’ Diana (Jemma Redgrave) is all set to get hitched to a military hero, so everything is right as rain in her world, right cats n’ creeps? Fuck no! You see, she keeps having terrifying gore-drenched… and completely surreal dreams on the F’n regular!

Along with that, she’s hounded by a duo of pervert reporters… and it’s an incident with them that leads to a meeting with Joan Jett clone Jenny Hoffman (Kathleen Wilhoite), she of the tough talk and mysterious past.

Soon our heroes are off on a journey to explain Diana’s dreams… and their nasty habit of spilling over into the real world… but will they survive that eerie expedition?

Possessed with a fever dream logic, some great visuals, and engaging leads, Dream Demon is a fantastically freaky fright flick adventure! at it’s core, we get a bit of the ol’ Gothic thriller; the innocent girl alone in a grande manse, plagued by dark family secrets… but the added veneer of those fantastic dream sequences (which were influenced by the then current A Nightmare on Elm Street series) adds a new layer of ghoulish goodness to those well worn horror biz tropes.

It’s that last aspect that makes this flick shine in my not-so-humble opinion, as we are treated to smoke filled rooms, janky angles, monstrous denizens, a guy perpetually on fire, and a disturbing bit of backstory… all served up with some impressive make-up effects, splatter, and full-on psychotronic verve!

As for special features on this Blu-ray release from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment, you get two versions of the film: a Director’s Cut (featuring an introduction from director/co-writer Harley Cokeliss), and a slightly longer theatrical version featuring a different coda to the film.

Following that we get interviews with Cokeliss, producer Paul Webster (which features what is either a fleck of smeg on the camera lens, or… and I hope this is true… a giant grease stain on the backdrop used for the interview… “Oi Webster, ‘ere’s yer fish n’ chips ya wanker!” SPLAT!), actress Redgrave, actor Mark Greenstreet, actor Nickolas Grace, actress Annabelle Lanyon, and composer Bill Nelson.

Up next; a newly-assembled collection of behind-the-scenes footage offering a look at the film’s production, the film’s original theatrical trailer, a duo of image galleries (one each for promotional materials and behind-the-scenes stills), and a scene specific audio commentary track featuring Cokeliss and Webster.

Also included are a reversible sleeve featuring original artwork by Christopher Shy, and a fascinating collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Anne Bilson, author of the Dream Demon novelization, and Cokeliss.

Dream Demon is a great bit of horror biz that I wager a large portion of you boils n’ ghouls have never laid putrid peepers upon, but you really should; it’s a great slice of surrealist terror that is well worth your time!



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