Monday, September 21, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: Dreamscape (1984)

Dreamscape is the kind of whacko thrill ride that I can really get behind.  The 80s were a good decade for silly films like this, and there are few sci-fi/horror/fantasy/action/political intrigue medleys that I enjoy as much as this one.  Dennis Quaid is a great lead and David Patrick Kelly is a wonderful villain.  Max Von Sydow and Christopher Plummer are also on hand, and Kate Capshaw and Eddie Albert are among the other performers who do a splendid job of bringing a wild script to life.  The movie concerns scientific efforts to manipulate dreams that essentially result in the development of dream warriors who wield extraordinary power in their nocturnal adventures.  This is troubling, as these dream warriors can invade the dreams of others.  One is good, a likable psychic crook (Quaid) who finds purpose helping people dealing with traumatic nightmares.  One is bad, a cold-blooded psycho (Kelly) who is soon working with a shady government official (Plummer) who wants him to kill the president.  The dream sequences are unique and satisfying, and the movie mostly succeeds at the various things it attempts to accomplish.  The horror and sci-fi elements work best, while the action bits frequently fall flat.  Most importantly, Dreamscape requires Quaid to help a young boy who is menaced by Snake-Man (a groovy menace who appears thanks to a crafty combination of stop-motion animation and practical effects) in his nightmares.  Snake-Man is equal parts cheese and classic goodness, and he's the coolest thing about Dreamscape, a goofy thriller that I really dig.

Final Grade: B+

Is Snake-Man the best thing about Dreamscape?  Yes, I do believe that he is.

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